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Posts Tagged ‘mysticism’

The Illusion of the Self

Posted by majutsu on July 21, 2010

The Illusion of the Self

We humans suffer from a serious mental illness which results in terrible crimes against others and the earth. Instead of correctly seeing ourselves as nothing other than the one, formless source of all life, consciousness and being, we identify ourselves with our personal narrative sustained by the running commentary in our heads.

Imagine, as a metaphor, that our thoughts – our past, our relationships, our likes and dislikes, our concepts about the world and its objects – are marbles. Imagine a big bowl filled with these diverse, multi-colored and enchanting marbles. Now, imagine ourselves as obsessive marble collectors, that we have insanely mis-identified our true nature as this collection of marbles. In that case, like an obsessive marble collector, we will perpetually be seeking to add another prize specimen to our collection to “complete” it, or, alternatively, be petrified of losing one of the precious marbles in our prize collection. In this way, we, like the obsessive marble collector, by mis-identifying with our collection of thought-forms, will vacillate between excitement to add another marble (another possession, experience, relationship or achievement) to our collection and fear of losing what we have in the unknown future. Because this chronic unhappiness, this emotional roller-coaster, is the necessary outcome of our mis-identification with the mind, our individual existence and its thought-forms, this unhappiness can never end, despite our stringent, but ultimately irrelevant, attempts to either augment or secure our identity.

As another metaphor, imagine a very skilled metal-smith has fashioned a water fountain, the top of which has an intricate network of twisting conduit-pipes and outlets, fashioned so that water coming from the bottom emerges as transient water-sculptures of birds, angels, people, landscapes, etc., in a dizzying show. In this case, our thought forms are the pipes, the conditioning of our culture, gender, race, and past. This conditioning turns the raw power of formless consciousness, the water in the fountain, into the transient, individual consciousness we experience, the show at the top. This is why we only perceive this cosmic consciousness as the transient dance of forms we call our individual life, and this is why it is so easy to mis-identify with the transient, individual self. This is also how it is that cosmic consciousness becomes imprisoned in our individual self. But it is the feeding of the cosmic consciousness that gives us life and is the source for any new idea we have, impulse to act, or creative endeavor. However, because of the conditioning of thought-forms, our creativity and cosmic consciousness become enslaved to supply the freewill to the actions we create to chase after future objects or achievements, or to run away from fears we may imagine. But as soon as one of the watery doves or other transient thought forms we experience disappears, we see the cosmic consciousness once again fall to reality and return to the source, much like the water from the top of the fountain falls back down and soaks into the earth and eventually back to the sea.

By learning to cease identifying with our individual selves and its thought-forms, we may experience the source of cosmic consciousness. We may be spared the agony of recurrent cycles of excitement and fear that ultimately make us miserable.

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Tai Chi Crosstraining

Posted by majutsu on June 10, 2010

In the spirit of conjugated periodization, a term made popular by Louie Simmons and Westside Powerlifting, I have added Tai Chi to my training.
I currently train in the Westside method for bench, squat and deadlift, equipped. I am particularly focusing on bringing up the bench and the squat right now. Westside powerlifting uses maximum effort day and a dynamic day. Maximum effort means to achieve a one-rep maximum on a particular movement. It is important, however, to get enough volume in reps to provide growth. So I usually go from 80 – 95% of my one-rep maximum in a progressive manner. Maximum effort movements for bench right now are floor presses or a shirted (open-backed poly-ply – Titan) bench. Maximum effort movements for squat are box squats, rack deadlifts or good mornings. Dynamic is to improve one’s explosiveness and speed. Methods of training this modality include using bands or chains. Bands and chains have relatively more pull at the end extension of the movement than at the bottom, encouraging the lifter to explosively blow past the beginning and middle of the movement to fight the increased resistance at the end, developing speed. I do shirted bench and box squats with bands and chains.
Also, powerlifting involves training one’s GPP (General Physical Preparedness). I do this through walking with my wife and the dogs at night, swimming, and most recently, Tai Chi.
I have always been interested in Tai Chi. I have done yoga and martial arts, but never Tai Chi somehow. Tai Chi is a part of Kung Fu that is a “Soft Style”. There are soft styles and hard styles. Hard styles involve striking and blocking. Soft styles involves yielding, re-channeling aggressive energies, taking control of them, and adding the slightest directive tap at a vulnerable moment at a precise time. Tai Chi is very flowing and circular. Practically, I feel it has benefited my lower back and knees, strengthening my squat, as well as helped me to feel the communication of energy between different parts of my body, strengthening my bench by providing a better power transfer from my legs to my chest.
Chi is an interesting concept too. Chi is basically life-energy. Freud called it libido and saw it infusing career choice, aspirations, art and philosophy, as well as sex. Ancient mystery groups thought there were seven “bodies” to a human. The three of greatest importance here are the mineral body, the animal body, and the vegetable body. The mineral body is the sphere of physical materialism. The animal body represents our everyday consciousness, the mind. The vegetable body, as represented by your solar plexus, i.e. stomach, is the point where the animal and mineral body interact. Plants, living things, are certainly not mineral like rocks or animal like a deer. They are a tie between the worlds. Tai Chi focuses on this vegetable body, the subtle shell of man that enables magic.

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Tree of life and spiritual technology

Posted by majutsu on March 11, 2009

Pan-Consciousness and the Kabbalah

There is an ancient mystery tradition. Elements of the mystery tradition have been maintained in sources such as Greek philosophy, Eastern religion (Buddhism and Shivaism particularly), and in modern mystery traditions. The ultimate goal of such traditions is to understand the interplay between body and consciousness that takes place at the level of emotion. By union with a pan-consciousness, several benefits derive, both in theory and from a practical psychological point of view: 1)Since the person has united with a pan-consciousness not tied to one ego, true empathy and morality may emerge, 2)Because the emotions are derived from the interplay and thought and body, and the top-heavy element of thought is now embraced, one may be filled predominantly with blissful emotions at one’s choosing, like picking a pair of socks, 3)it may be possible to produce scientific but surprising material effects at a distance through neural network control of chaotic physical events.

Consciousness requires concepts. Concepts like Truth and Illusion are very interesting and drive us closer to understanding their mystery. Truth, for example, is the belief that what one thinks or says matches some external reality with a degree of permanence. Illusion is the concept that one’s thoughts or words do not match reality except in a tangential sense relating to momentary desire or mis-perception, a match of reality only in briefest flux. These two, taken together, indicate the need for objectivity and non-ego-oriented perspectives as precursors of true consciousness. Furthermore, there is the fact that living, conscious humans consist of a body and consciousness. Dead humans consist of a body and no consciousness. Yet nothing material has actually left. A process has stopped, and therefore, in a sense, something not visible, not material, and yet in all likelihood, not ghostly either, has left. So do we say consciousness is a process? Fine, but there are many processes in the world, like oxidation in a candle flame, erosion, etc. Are all processes consciousness? Doubtful. Yes consciousness is a process, but since other processes do not share consciousness, there is something special about the process of consciousness.

Such viewpoints leave us considering three realms of reality. The first is an ideal realm, characterized by natural law and consciousness. Just as we can speak of natural law governing the period between expansion and contraction of the universe, where there is nothing in between that is material, and also we speak of sharing the consciousness of a dead writer on a rainy afternoon, we can speak of this ideal realm, but it is still rather mysterious, but clearly primary, and permanent within flux. The material realm of flux, gain and loss, is very obvious by contrast. A third realm, represent by the conscious man, is the interaction between these two. While we refer to consciousness in a permanent sense in the ideal realm, the interactional realm is the world of the garden-variety consciousness of the living human being, the emotional/conscious level. So the three realms may be loosely defined as the ideal, the material and the conscious. This is also identified in Hindu philosophy as the three gunas” sattva (ideal), rajas (action), and tamas (darkness). In a sense, we can look at any property and it’s opposite. There is the material level where contradictory properties are excluded from being at the same moment – a la Aristotle. At the level of universal oneness and abstraction, opposites are identical. The infinitely big and the infinitely small would be indistinguishable, both are extension without limit. Now as this whole conception sees the universe in terms of union and differentiation of opposites with a constant in-breathing or outbreathing between these poles, each of the three realms may be subjugated to the same breaths and differentiation itself. And any subsequent sub-worlds may also experience the same infusion of breath, in fractal-like recursion. However, as in programming, one recursion is enough to recursively call a function until an end-point, so it is common to show the three realms recursively divided into three sub-realms each, when compounded with the totality of human experience, equaling the 10 sephiroth (3×3 + 1).

Each of these sephiroth is associated with a number and several other images from various religions and myths. This is done to pull the body, mind and emotions into a study of the breathing and flux between these worlds. This amounts to a curious science, a sort of atheistic spiritual technology. Atheism is in the sense of seeing this as an experience of the human being as unified and inseparable with the one conscious being that is all that is, therefore, denying a separate personal god apart from his creation as most religions dogmatically profess. As J Smith states in his analytical treatise on atheistic terms, pantheism is atheism, but not positive physical materialist non-skeptical atheism, but a negative (denying something not asserting anything) non-skeptical (not agnostic or denying human ability to understand) atheism. Yet it is spiritual in the sense of using myth and ritual as a technology, like a tv set, to induce personal change. This would probably be the clearest understanding of my beliefs I can deliver at this time, atheistic-pantheistic-pagan-humanistic-spiritual-technology. This is sort of taking prayer and myth and ritual and peeling it off any dogma, treating it as a realm open to scientific explanation and rational exploration just like any other perceivable phenomena. Comparative religion is the tinniest, earliest most immature part of such a study, but one that most are familiar with through J Campbell, Sam Harris, etc.

So the first realm is the Ideal, then Conscious, then Material. All nine subrealms are therefore:

Ideal
1. Ideal of Ideal -i.e. God, Shiva
2. Conscious of Ideal – will of god, creation
3. Material of Ideal – i.e. angels, mystical forces, mediation etc

Conscious
4. Ideal of Conscious – perfected self, boddhisattva, christ
5. Conscious of Conscious – inspiration, creativity
6. Material of Conscious – morality, ethics

Material
7. Ideal of Material – forms, patterns, unconscious
8. Conscious of Material- life, procreation
9. Material of Material- rationality, logic, science

10.Malkuth – the totality, real human experience, phenomenology.

Using associated images, rituals, meditation and prayer, these levels and their interplay may be understood. This replaces mere physical atoms with phenomenological atoms, packets of matter/consciousness/emotion whose assembly and disassembly make the phenomenology of a real human experience, replacing the simplistic and skewed view of material atomism obtained by looking at human life either exclusively subjectively or objectively alone.

Why is this done? Lacan and psychoanalytic theory, not surprisingly conceived by atheistic kabbalistic Jews such as Freud, provides insight into the outcome of the process:

“[The practitioners] realize that, in fact, they had little idea what they were saying, why they were saying it, or even who was speaking when they opened their mouths. The what, why, and who of their utterances has become problematic to them. Everything becomes questionable; what was most certain is no longer at all certain, and they are now open to listening to the unconscious, to hearing the other voice that speaks through them, and to attempting to decipher it. The desire for wisdom has been formed.” Bruce Fink on Lacan

This is not intended to still more pointless debates with two tiresome groups of people, believers in revealed religion and teenage-minded antisocial atheist/anarchists. This does not well represent the agnostic, merely beleaguered and wishing for respite from the fascists and theocrats. It represents a third way. I see classical humanism as a true third way and the progenitor of all culture and knowledge we have. I see the fascist and the theocrat as extremes that meld into the same mentality exclusive of subtlety. Therefore, please do not litter this note with comments if you are from either group. That which is not spoken to you should be ignorable by you if you have attained a modicum of maturity. There is a large group of people, usually oppressed and battered by the grand poles of ignorance, who is interested and involved in this spiritual technology. These are the people with whom I dine, with whom I share hope, and with whom I wish to commune.

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Plato’s theory of forms – modern, dynamic and important

Posted by majutsu on February 15, 2009

Empathy with Plato’s Theory

Plato was one of the great philosopher’s of all time. His theory of forms held tremendous sway over people’s thinking for quite some time. Traces of Platonic idealism can be found in Christianity, Islam, Hegel’s dialectic, Marxism as well therefore, Kant’s moral imperative, and modern scientific pantheism. Regardless of our taste for the fruit of the branches of Plato, it’s impact on our culture and history, and therefore its influence on our daily lives, cannot be denied. It therefore would at least be prudent to have some understanding of this philosophy. I will be rephrasing Plato’s philosophy in new and sympathetic language. This is in preparation for an in depth study of Plato’s dialogs and the Republic which I am just about to begin. Therefore, this is not an academic study with a great deal of rigor, for that will come later, but instead it is an attempt to paint the most sympathetic portrait of Plato’s reach into the modern mind.

I find the most fruitful place to begin a discussion of the modern relevance of Plato is with the concept of Platonic love. Contrary to popular belief, Platonic love would not necessarily be love without sex, as it can, in fact, be quite passionate and sensual. Rather, let us imagine a little fairy tale . . . A long time ago, in the a misty kingdom of medieval France, there was a young prince deeply in love with a young maid of the stables. They met for passionate stolen embraces in the moonlight by the stables and promised eternal love, till death do them part. Of course, the prince’s father, the king, had no desire for his son’s future to be squandered on a lowly maid, and had slated his son to marry the daughter of a powerful ally. The king had the maid arrested and sent to jail in Spain. He told his son that she had been arrested after stealing money from the church and running away with a male thief who was, no doubt, her lover as well as her accomplice. He did this so that his son would feel that she no longer loved him, and furthermore, that she never did. The maid was told that the prince was the one who had her falsely arrested, so that she could never blackmail him. So she believed then that the prince did not love her, and he never did really. Let us say that on the way to Spain, pirates hijack the maid’s caravan. Upon joining with the pirates she has many high adventures. In both lover’s minds, the love burns strong despite a lack of faith, despite fluctuating circumstances and severe trials. Nonetheless, the maid-now-pirate one day takes a ship with the prince aboard. Somehow or another everything is reconciled, love is apparent again, and the maid becomes queen and they live happily ever after. This sort of love, that persists despite fluctuating circumstance, the appearance of destruction, and false opinion that it is no more or never was, is Platonic love. As you can imagine, the united lovers can have quite passionate sex, and yet the love is still Platonic. The love is seen as eternally true.

Parmenides was a Greek philosopher who believed everything was eternal and change was an illusion. He believed this primarily with the motivation that in order for there to be truth, change and error had to be deceptive. Heraclitus was another Greek who believed that everything was in a constant state of flux, and that there was no truth. Plato very much wanted to believe Parmenides, but he feared Heraclitus was right. His compromise was to believe in truth and eternity outside of the moment of now, ever in flux. This is why Platonic love is true love outside of the influence of the storms of the temporary in our fairy tale above.

Plato often uses science and math to explain his theories. Let us look at natural law. Scientists write equations of motion, or quantum mechanics, or gravity or particle physics. Just looking at Newton’s equations, we can say that the motion of billiard balls on a pool table follows Newton’s laws. And it does to a very close degree. But because of friction from the cloth, and air resistance, and the balls not being completely elastic on collision, the real behavior of the balls will not follow Newton’s laws in the real world. For example, the cue ball when struck will not roll on forever with inertia, but will stop. Nonetheless, we say that Newton’s laws are the true reality, the abstraction that is the pure and true reality. This is the case with every natural law. As Plato pointed out, every mathematical object, whether a circle of geometry or a law of motion, is a bit of an abstraction, an idealized form. In the real world, no circle or wheel is ideally round. Nonetheless, when scientists speak of the formation of our universe, the big bang, they will pull out various equations of physics to explain how something came to be out of nothing. Even if the universe expands and contracts in cycles, natural law is used to explain how something comes to be out of the nothings that are pauses between the in-breaths and the out-breaths. Natural law, the totality of ideal forms, is conceived as preceding being or as constituting a ground or basis of being. When Plato says an apple or a horse is a sort of reflection of the ideal forms, he means that the object before us, the horse say, is a reflection of the constituent ideal forms, the relevant laws of chemistry, physics, and biology, that organize and determine matter. Furthermore, we can determine these ideal forms, natural law, by investigating the world with our intellect and our reason.

Plato would say that the ultimate ideal behind the ideal forms, this magical process of a mind, embedded and arising from matter by a determination of the forms (the guiders of the universe), that can itself perceive a world of kaleidoscopic shadows of being, themselves reflections of the same ideal forms, is the mystery of mystery, the ideal of ideals, or simply, God. God is therefore to be understood by using reason and observing the natural world to ferret out an understanding of the laws that bind up our reality into a cohesive whole. It is the philosopher’s religious practice to use reason and nature to understand the nature of the eternally true, God. Plato would say the part of us, conscious but apart from momentary sense or fluctuating circumstance, the part that can glimpse the eternally true in nature by reason, is, in fact, immortal. This magic of seeing the universal is as immortal as the universal and eternal that it sees in the mind.

Regarding politics, Plato often wondered how to understand the eternally true characteristics of a state. Any state, while it persists, in other words, what is eternally true about a persisting state, is that it is defended well, and not degraded. Furthermore, Plato thought some knowledge of the true and the path of knowledge would have to be known to those who led a state through dark hours. If not, the state would not persist through adversity. He also realized that all states would therefore have some way for the guardians, those who safeguard truth through the straits of momentary confusion of values and mob madness, to control the mass, the forces of erratic decision making, irrational populist wish fulfillment, etc. Even here in America, the compliance with the view of the state against momentary lapses in obedience is enforced with media propaganda, legislation, and physical force. Plato identified the naked factors inherent in any state in the Republic.

I think the above helps give some credence to the need to take Plato’s thought seriously, if nothing else as a departure point. Furthermore, I think it makes clear how modern concepts of truth and scientific inquiry owe their allegiance to Plato and his Pythagorean roots. Also, I think it shows how many movements in modern politics from Marxism to Republican Democracy have their origin in Plato’s thoughts about the state. Lastly, the Muslim and Christian longing for heaven, paradise and God are Platonic ideals in mythological garb.

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Song of Solomon is the only part of the Bible that should be read

Posted by majutsu on January 13, 2008

Kabbalah notes:

The schechinah is a female spirit , who as a symbol generated by the unconscious, ties together the various aspects or modalities of the mind. The kabbalah is the itemization of the mind’s modalities, so as to gain both self-knowledge and control of the self. Many of the letters or paths of the kabbalah take the form of abstractions of sexual relations with the schechinah or abstractions of her sexual anatomy. Whether a man or woman is the practitioner, the inner self, or the schechinah, is this divine female, and one’s divinity is attained by imitating her divine intercourse with the lord of the universe. She is in constant loving embrace with the world. As she says, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.” The earth, symbolized by a bull, without mind, is dead. This is why when you first meet the schechinah she is alone and yearning, a widowed goddess, for the earth cannot be seen as a lord without her love. “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loves: I sought him, but I found him not.” But it is the love and activity of the schechinah for her lover that returns him to life, joins he and she together in the joyous dance that is the mind at play and in love with the earth.

Below is the elucidation of some paths or energies in my meditations:

Daleth- Door. Understanding. Entry into the temple where one is taught by the schechinah.
Mem – Water. Breast milk. Pain and loss. Tears. Her crying face with her absent lover, keening. That which ties us to life, also the joy and nourishment of existence, food, plants and animals for food, clothing, medicine, and spirituality.
Peh – Mouth. Fellatio. Aggressiveness, drive. Taking over, domination. Energy to do tasks.
Shin – Tooth. The fangs of criticism and self-abrogation. Trial. The harsh aspects of life and nature.

It is clear that the Bible does contain a mystical system. The Song of Solomon is probably the clearest and most accessible pathway to understand the coherent and effective mystical tradition that is behind the poetry of the Bible. The danger of misapplying the remainder of the Bible into aberrant and irrational attitudes that are destructive to self and others is so high, that I believe nothing should be read except the Song of Solomon until that poem is understood. If you read the Song of Solomon and it doesn’t make perfect sense to you, then you should put the Bible away and not read another word of it for a long time. Go meditate, learn, study, love, live. Read the poem only when you are drawn to it because you have already seen it manifested in your own heart. Otherwise, don’t touch that potentially poisonous book of difficult poems. The Song of Solomon is a gate keeper for the rest of the kabbalah. If this path, which is not generic or advantageous to all, does not work for you, there is still the beauty of life, poems to chant, songs to sing and mountains to climb, but to misapply deep unconscious symbols to reality, like fundamentalists apply bad theology to worse politics, is as dumb as spending today the money you dreamed you had last night. It won’t work, and it disrespects the schechinah to such an extent that the mental damage may be hard if not impossible to undue.

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