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Needing A Chat?

Needing A Chat?

Needing A Chat?

Times come along when we desperately need to chat to another human being about the big issues in life. It’s usually best to find someone with a limp who doesn’t dispatch ego wisdom from a great height. For, without mutual empathy and brokenness exchange we are only walking into a co-dependency trap.

Of course, we tend to only learn this lesson after many wrong turns on the search for ‘advice’. Nowhere is it on offer more than within the Christian or Self-Help subcultures. Most of the Christian counselling is free, though at a hidden cost, while the Self-Help brand is usually focused on big bucks and lots of them. Counselling has been reduced to a recruitment drive for religious devotees, or a product to be dispensed on the production of a credit card. What would Jesus say?????

My own formative life was filled with regular ‘pastoral’ chats or check ups when I was involved in a hierarchical Shepherding group back in the 70s and early 80s. Taking the late Mr Wesley’s accountability structures within early Methodism we turned it into our own Frankenstein version of pastoral care. Every few weeks or so I’d be piously summed for a wee chat, during which I’d spill my guts about all the issues that were at boiling point in my young psyche-soul. With a beatific smile and bedside manner, my chosen Shepherd would listen carefully before dispensing a few home truths to take with me to ponder over. In our hierarchical set-up, I’m embarrassed to admit that I too played the counselling game, calling up my own wee unfortunate sheep friends for a concerned chat. Now, it was usually over coffee and biscuits but nevertheless it was a co-dependency situation where we marched into others’ personal lives in the guise of a God-given guide.

Looking back I’m amazed at how much info I both passed on and received during my years within the dysfunctional group. It was only years later that I discovered that most other folk just faked it, wearing masks of conformity whilst keeping their maverick nature closely under wraps. Eventually of course the whole thing went belly up, but at the great cost of those involved. Counsellor pastors were eventually revealed to have more internal problems than the folk that they counselled. My own particular counsellor fell into a long adulterous affair long after I had jumped ship. And to think that he had dispensed marital counselling to me and many others during our Shepherding sojourn, as a Model of a good Christian husband.

What I’m really saying is that it is difficult to know what goes on in the deep inner realms of any counsellor. So what are we to do? Well, as initially stated, it’s best to find someone detached from your religious involvement to bounce things off. Sadly many pastors have a vested interest in our continual committment and involvement in their organisations. Of course not all pastoral professionals operate like this but is difficult for them not to project the man/woman of God expertise of their ecclesiastical position. The best counsellors are those who rarely see us and have no association with our particular faith group. At least that’s my take on it.

Though many of us dispense with the bathwater of religious involvement our hurting psyches still yearn for advice. We turn to the Self-Help guru who appears to have it all together with their spirituality-only version of the beatific smile. Successful living is the new product on offer to those of us only too aware of our human frailty. Advice here usually costs and costs big, the justification pedalled is that everyone has to eat. I can understand that angle coming from a fully qualified psychiatrist, but not, I’m afraid for the supposed enlighten of heart. When cash is involved a co-dependency can be developed well by the counselling sell by date. The longer the spiritual input, the bigger the cheque. Frankly I’m appalled at some of the rates that leading spiritual teachers charge their clients for special one-to-one Skype sessions. We can be very gullible while in pain, and open to the smooth seductions of the professional spiritual charlatan. Of course, free material is often available from such spiritual counsellors, though it usually ends abruptly with an appeal for funds. Wisdom is needed in such matters. Best not to believe that all that glitters is gold in the marketplace of spiritual entrepreneurs.

So what do we do? Well, I believe that Divine Love brings along the right people for us to meet at the right time. All the Wisdom that we require already dwells within us. We just need a little encouragement to fine tune our inner hearing and listen to its startling revelations and counsel. Those sent are usually broken or semi-broken folk like ourselves. Those who have managed to limp just a little further along the Path of Life. Usually their input is for free, a gift of Love of which they may not even be aware. The greatest contribution that they can towards our spiritual welfare is to authenticate our own Journey of Self. We usually know in any present situation what we have to do. We only lack courage and the ‘go for it’ reinforcement of our fellow travellers. Generally such relationships are short-lived and for a specific temporal purpose. Divine Love will move us both on before things can turn dysfunctional.

At the end of the day, we are left with a most wonderous Self within, the masterpiece of Source, the One who walks with us in reassuring Presence.

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Who Am I ?

Who Am I ?

Who Am I ?

Boy are we complex beings, wired as we are into these bodies of matter and electrical impulses. Don’t believe a neuroscientist if he tells you he fully understands our CPU, the human brain. The simple truth is they don’t. One of the top guts in the field told me so a while back. Some research is now suggesting that we have a second ‘brain’ in the gut, with more serotonin there than anywhere else. Yes, we are a pretty elaborate living organism drifting in the Cosmic Ocean of space-time.

As I write, the heavy rains outside have brought their accompanying gloom as folk around me as they drink their coffees, staring zombie-like into space, or more accurately the enveloping greyness. I wonder what they’re thinking as the caffeine shoots its way to their central nervous system? Personally, I’m thinking about my Self – who I really am? Am I just a biological machine that ticks along until its irreplaceable parts blow up? Am I only a highly developed animal who just happens to have developed the mysterious facility of consciousness. Scientific reductionism of the old order tells me that’s exactly what I am, yet the new science hints at something else.

We tend to think that we’re the first generation to contemplate these things, yet we aren’t. Man has been at it for multi-millennia, ever since awareness lifted our ancestor’s eyes to the starry heavens. I prefer to look to the sages of past times to find answers to my present predicament.

The ancients came up with the idea of the psyche or soul. The supposed ‘ghost’ that dwells within our material home called body. Others suggested that we are not only bipartite creatures, but tripartite, comprising body, soul AND spirit. After 60 years on planet Earth I’m plumping for the latter – my human experiences thus far appear to validate it. I best explain.

I’m most definitely a body, at least as far as I can tell. Maybe the Zen Masters are correct in claiming that it’s illusory. Perhaps ultimately it is, though when I accidentally bump into a hard object, it painfully seems real enough. It certainly is temporary, as like all flesh, it will eventually pack it in and return to dust.

So then, what about the psyche-soul? Well, I tend to see it as the interface that we require while living in the world of form. A permeable membrane that lies between the material realm and ultimate Reality. It’s the grand sum of all our central nervous system wiring and the memories of past experiences. The slate, where our space-time perceptions are recorded to form our Earthly I. The only trouble is that it quickly fragments and competes with itself as unconditional love is withdrawn in our formative years. Trauma also skews it’s take on who we really are. It absorbs rejection and pain, as well as acceptance and join. A neutral recorder of all that comes our way. No wonder our psyche-soul needs salvation or a Divine reboot. It is the store where we suppress our angst, a splintered self that most definitely requires the restorative balm of Divine Love.

And so we come to spirit, or breath, to be more accurate. The Transcendence within, the spark of the Divine Fire which has burned within since our conception in the heart of God. It’s not only ours, but ultimately it is who we are. It’s the irreducible core, upon which all other aspects of our being hang their temporary presence. It has never been separate from its Divine Source, no matter what the state of our restless psyche-soul. As we suffer the earthly ride of emotional and physical disturbance, there lies a pearl of great peace under its heavy load. A part of us wired for wholeness and union with the One without angst. Unfortunately, most of us only reckon on the psyche-soul for our identity; an extremely risky game at best. It’s what the old religious divines referred to as soulish. A self-imposed limitation that ignores through ignorance the very Life source within.

To be ‘born from above’ by the windswept Presence of Divine Love, is to awaken to Self and all its buried treasures. To merely focus on the daily ups and downs of psyche soul, is to be religious at best and despairing at worst. No, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, a tripartite traveller in this Virtual Reality of life. Looking out on the grey damp skies of Lincoln city, I think I’ll reckon on who I really am today; a fragile human being who homes a timeless spark within, one that portals the Presence that I long for.

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Jesus, Junkies & Abuse ~ Why?

Jesus, Junkies & Abuse ~ Why?

Well, that’s it. My latest wee book baby has just been dispatched into the big, wide world of religious/spiritual literature.

Frankly, it’s a bit of a relief to have it finally fly free into the hearts and minds of its present and future readers?

Really? How come?

Well, I much prefer to write of Divine Love and its compassionate Otherness, rather than tackle the painful issues of religious addiction and spiritual abuse. I’m a bit of a mystic at heart, happy to spend my days walking in the solitude of Silence, drinking in the vibes of both Self and Source. I’m much happier penning a wee poem, than delving into the dysfunctional world of religious group dynamics and control.

And yet, these topics must be considered and brought into the Light of day. Many thousands have travelled the same path as myself, and it mainly for those that I write. Those who gave their early life energy to a particular take on the Christian faith, one that ultimately proved to be delusional and debilitating. In the idealism of youth, we are prone to follow Christian gurus and their packaged theologies. Sometimes, we grow out of it without any signs of inner angst, sometimes not. It is for this later band of the walking wounded that I’ve written ‘Jesus, Junkies & Abuse’; the burnt-out ex-devotees of the Christian world.

Recently, an old Christian friend of mine got in touch with me, a little upset that I keep writing about these difficult issues. Encouraging me to ‘get over it’, as he himself had done through years of psychological counselling, he admonished me to move on. A still dedicated, albeit more open-minded member, of a large Belfast Charismatic church, he just can’t understand why I keep going over ‘old ground’. Now, I can understand where he’s coming from, and yet I reckon that the topics concerned aren’t merely personal, but ones that must be aired and regularly discussed by the Christian community at large.

On a personal level, I have moved on, although the scars of my past religious zealotry will remain with me till the day I die. My somewhat sensitive heart will always be toward my fellow pilgrims, those who have ditched Jesus and his God along with the abusive religious bath water. If my wee writings can encourage those damaged by dysfunctional religious belief and practice to somehow re-engage with the Nazarene and his Source Divinity, then my literary efforts will not have been in vain.

For those who have to ‘put up’ with the evangelising, somewhat targeted zeal of friends, family and work colleagues, I’ve tried to explain the religious adherent’s mindset, so as to better understand them, and find a way of ‘coping’ with their constant  salvation nagging. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy, sharing the same psychological space with a religious junkie. Not easy at all. The protection of Self and its inner space must be paramount, as we’re bombarded by guilt and shame, the dual conversion tools lobbed towards us in a frenzy of evangelistic concern. May JJ&A help such targets of Christian love maintain their sense of psychological equilibrium in the face of such constant manipulative pressure.

So now it’s back to walking among the forests and hedgerows of rural England. For it’s there that I pick up the faint whisperings of Glory, the One outside the minefield of metaphysical rivalry and religious warfare. Hopefully there, among the leafy shades of early Autumn, I can recharge my batteries and find the inspiration for what comes next!

With much love

Your friend

Dylan

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Time

Time

Time

I guess most of us were brought up to think of time as linear. Today is before tomorrow but after yesterday etc! Yet, isn’t it weird how the past keeps creeping up on us, particularly in our dreams and day dreams. It’s like the mud on our boots, that we can’t quite shake off. Both good and bad memories tend to haunt us like some spectre, refusing to let go and head into oblivion. We’re told by the neuroscientists that everything’s recorded in the brain. The Psychologists inform us that it’s absorbed by the psyche and with us for good. The mystics tell us that there is only the Eternal Now and that all is happening, or rather being simultaneously. Some days it seems like the seers are correct. I’d better explain.

Like the shutter of a camera momentarily opening to catch a frozen shot of time, so we occasionally experience an unexpected showing, when Reality passes through the aperture of soul to imprint its Presence on our spirit Self. This brief awareness is sent to give us hope, that the world of space-time doesn’t ultimately exist. It’s sent as a beacon of hope as we struggle against the impending doom of death and all its associated struggles and fears.

No, once awareness has done her thing, we can’t take this ego caricature of life, as seriously as we once did. We really don’t move from one stage of life to another; we just are and we just are Now. The future appears to be an open book, one in which we can choose which line to follow towards our seemingly inevitable demise. I’m not so sure though. Perhaps the future is already stored within our spiritual DNA, ready for our psyche-perception to catch up. What we are Now is what we shall be. There is a timeless seed lying within the light/darkness womb of our space-time reality. This seed is really what it’s all about, not the ego endeavours of survival, our desperate attempts to hang onto the cliff face of safety.

The secret of happiness, and indeed of peace, is knowing that space-time is merely a games arcade, one in which we play the games of ego, before waking up to who we really are and more importantly where we really are. The old mystics claimed that we dwell within the bosom of God. I can go along with that, for the more we discover about the Cosmos and its rationale, the more we don’t know.

So, if today a wee problem is niggling away at you, not to worry, for as Jewel sings, ‘Worry is wasteful, and useless in times like this’, The big picture deactivates both worry and anxiety. We are birthed and exist for the Divine pleasure; like energy we cannot not be. We only change form. So, let space-time throw all it can at us for we belong to another place, indeed, to another Presence, the Alpha & Omega, the One in whom we dwell.

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Speed King

speed king

Speed King

Ego loves speed. The faster the better it reasons in its frantic dervish dash to get things done. Having said that I’ve only an hour to write this wee blog so I’d better get moving! Yes, ego is a speed king, the psycho-spiritual element of our space-time perception that loves to live on the edge and make deadlines. The trouble is though that it rarely makes it, leaving us burnt out and crashed in some kind of circumstantial ditch with the wheels spinning.

You see, ego dashes around, trying to take control of the Tao River that gently flows through our central core of being. Why the crazy need for speed. Well, ego is primarily motivated by fear, the illegitimate child of the mythical, Edenic Fall. For ego is always trying to impress Source, the one that it foolishly believes it has to please. An angry God gives birth to a restless ego; one that frantically notices the clock ticking away towards judgement day.

The fear of rejection, and the need for security make ego plunge headlong into its salvation tasks, usually without any regard for the consequences. When we feel the psychic revs hitting red on the dial of our inner life, we know that ego is in play. It promises much in its dash for control as our psycho-spiritual project manager. Scampering from solution to solution ego tries every trick in the book to get the right results, and yet, it usually fails. Moving at speed the potential for creative solutions is left far behind in the dust of delirium.

When we’re under pressure, another misconceived hallucination of the multi-talented ego, fear kicks in and we head off on the road to frustration and defeat. There’s got to be another way, otherwise ego will lead us to an early grave. So what’s the alternative? Well, thankfully we have another helper within, one who isn’t fazed by fear or its portrayal of ominous consequences. It’s our spirit spark, that little portal to Divine Wisdom. It’s the path which the prodigal took on his way home, the lightened way that leads to Love and validation. What’s more, when spirit is involved things happen that ego could never imagine. Spirit and its sponsor work with poise and elegance, the confidence that comes from being rather than striving. In the midst of our ego storm lies a peace awaiting our engagement, the answer to the illusory pressures that we face. For beyond our perceived reality lies a greater Reality, the stress free Mind of God. Tapping into spirit, that still small voice, we tap into Spirit Source itself with its all-knowing perception and ability to create out of nothing.

Slowing down, is the first step to wisdom and the disengagement of our personal speed king. It’s a choice that’s achievable, no matter what ego says in it huff and puff manic state. Stepping out of ego can be instantaneous as we tune into another voice, a voice of firm serenity, one bursting with solutions and the creativity of serenity. Now, it takes trust, but that’s what the whole scenario is about, learning to trust that we are more than a bunch of atoms tossed to and fro by the chaos of chance. In another Reality we are the conscious co-creators of Source and invited to try out our powers.

Well, that’s it for today! Must dash! Things to do and people to see! 🙂

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Spark

Spark

What on earth keeps us going? What is it that gets us to the end of this, our roller-coaster ride that we call life. Of course ego claims the rights to our existence. We live in a dangerous world and ego has carried us over the line, like some Saving Private Ryan Marine type figure, exhausted but mission accomplished. I’m afraid that I can’t agree and here’s why.

Suffering is only in the eye of the beholder, and that eye is our fragmented psyche-soul, the one known as ego. The psyche is here to help us ‘experience’ what appears to be reality, this space-time simulation of existence. It’s the software that helps us feel every up and down on the wave of life. Its settings are either winning or losing, exhilaration or pain. All relational battles that cause us dismay are felt here. All circumstances are interpreted by psyche as a high or a low.

And so we travel along the illusion of time, picking up little victories here and there, along with the painful defeats that edge us ever closer to rock bottom. Now, the power of positive thinking or its New Age equivalent will get us so far. Shiny faced successful gurus point us in the direction of their secret, one usually packaged for the self-help marketplace. Now of course things seem to go better when we’re positive, the power of attraction and all that. Yet, a downer usually lurks around the bend, as we sail along reckoning we’ve got this life thing cracked. The downer in question may be a result of our presumption, but often it’s sent along for our own good. For there’s nothing worse than an ego in full flight, gliding on the winds of its own achievement. No, the downers are needed for us to reach our ultimate but unknown destination.

Now some of us feed ego with all the ammunition that it craves. Paranoia, sees defeats lying along both past and future timelines of our lives. If the sun shines it’s too hot. If everything is freezing over, it’s hell in reverse. The little interpreter within our heads is skewed, leading us into the wilderness of depression and despair. Ego, loves it, feeding our darkness to justify its role as saviour.

Religious belief, particularly the Charismatic/Pentecostal brand that predominates much of Western Christianity, gives us a measure of relief, albeit temporarily. For to be involved, is often not to think, and that definitely nullifies the contradictory ups and downs for a while. Cleverly interpreting the highs as God’s blessing and the lows as Satanic attack, we ride the Christian life, quoting the relevant Bible verses until the big one blocks our path. The Transpersonal Crisis shakes up everything, dislodging our stoical belief in the protection of God, the One who looks out for us. No wonder, such a crisis leaves us disillusioned and broken, for we later discover that ego was the sponsor of our religious ride, an ardent ‘Amener’ who backed our every move.

So then what are we to do. Well, I reckon that we need to turn our attention away from the psyche-soul, our sensor of life, and turn to another hidden participator in the human experience, the real power behind our being, viz. our spirit. Now before you think I’m getting a wee bit too esoteric, please let me explain. When I make something, I leave something of myself in the work concerned. Hopefully in my own writings, there is something of me transmitting itself to you, an inexplicable touch that is received within. Similarly I believe that Source has deposited something of its own Being within us, a spark from the Divine Fire of Creativity. An altogether other that lies deep within our consciousness, waiting for our day of awakening. A pin-hole of Cosmic Consciousness that lets in the Light, that we call God.

Such a spirit is altogether different form our wounded psyche-soul, not having a trace of defensiveness in its essence, for it has been birthed in the Divine. When all around is a high or low, spirit sits quietly, confident in its own Being, waiting for its time of appearing, waiting for ego to burn itself out in the pursuit of happiness and security. And burn itself out it most surely will. So, let’s step back from the spin of ego, smiling as it attempts to recruit us in its dervish dance of salvation. No, rather embrace the Queendom within, the portal of Divine Love, where all is well and shall be well.

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Growing A Church?

Growing A Church?

Now I’d better own up before I proceed. I used to be a church junkie, albeit a slightly reticent one in my somewhat zealous youth. You see, I believed the evangelistic take on God and his kids. God is working in the world and His agency is the institution belovedly known as church. Back in my Irish homeland, as soon as one came into an experience of the risen Nazarene, one was instantly ushered into a sheep fold under the name of a ‘sound’ church. I was never really sure what a sound church was, for those who embraced the standard orthodoxy seemed to be asleep to me, the only sound being my snoring during the pastor’s sermon. No, for me it was a more radical version of Jesus community, or so I thought. I was a founding member of a Charismatic, (yes, speaking in tongues etc) fellowship that attempted to do things differently. I should have known better though, for all life-giving religious or spiritual movements eventually conservatise, becoming clones of their older predecessors. Northern Ireland was, and still is, peppered with man’s attempt to get Divinity into a box, much like any other Bible Belt area of God’s good Earth.

That being said, I want to look at our fixation at growing a church, to use a trendy but ineffective term that’s doing the religious rounds. If one has a church, a group bang in the centre of Divine Will, then why not grow it – the bigger the better right! Well no, at least in my experience. Here are a few reasons for small is beautiful.

1) God isn’t obsessed by church like most of His/Her kids.

Jesus groups were to be transient expressions of God realignment, not the be all and end all. Packed buildings of Jesus people on Sunday mornings aren’t on God’s agenda.

2) Spiritual life is best shared through conversation and friendship.

The Nazarene hinted at this when talking about the two or three gathered into His name. When a few folk, with open and respectful hearts tune into the Divine in conversation, there is an opportunity for Presence to manifest and flow between those present.

3) Growing churches was never a Divine suggestion.

Growing things is frankly more to do with market share than the Way of the Kingdom/Queendom.

Institutionalised faith needs institutions and institutions need cash to survive. Once established, rigid faith groups frankly need bums on seats to keep going, and of course as we all know failure is never on the agenda for those believing God is with them.

3) Growth is an organic experience and one that is deeply personal.

The numbers game in religious circles, patronisingly disguised as a concern for the lost, is nothing to do with true growth.

Spiritual growth is the growing awareness of who we are, and our place in the Divine Heart. Such growth often follows times of great personal darkness. It cannot be manufactured on the assembly line of programmed religion. Rather it takes place in the desert of aloneness, when Light invades our Darkness.

4) Growth of our group encourages religious competition.

I’m afraid I have to smile when a new church opens up here in Lincoln. The pastor priest will always claim to be in total harmony with the existing churches in the city. Their targets for membership are always the ‘unchurched’, especially the young unchurched who are susceptible to subtle, or not so subtle, love bombing. What often happens though is a case of sheep transference. When the shiny new religious stall is set out, Jesus people sniff out a better pastureland and hop the church fence to enter the new field of fellowship. And so it continues, throughout the ages. Like competing supermarkets, religious groups are in the marketplace of desire. the subliminal message is always this: ‘Our take on Jesus is more authentic than that of other groups, so come aboard!’. The merry-go-round world of church membership falsely feeds the growth dreams of model pastors/priests. We are getting new people so we must be fulfilling God’s agenda.

5) Big numbers inflate ego’s group identity.

When we get high on our numbers, ego is lurking, willing to elevate us to a special status, that of God’s chosen.

Growth is put down to God adding to our numbers rather than our clever marketing or manipulation of broken folk looking for answers. Ego, looks over its sacred empire and gives itself a pat on the back, while giving God all the glory, at least publicly.

It’s empowering to be a member of a large and cutting edge group, though in time the ride will end in disillusionment and tears. It’s at this stage that God may get a chance to have a wee chat with us and bind up our self-administered wounds.

6) Church and its size is irrelevant in the great scheme of things

While caught up in the church growth delusion we tend to see life as a life-saving operation. It’s a case of getting as many folk as possible into the Jesus lifeboat as possible before they check out of space-time. And as most of us know who’ve sailed the seven seas in such a craft, it’s really a delusion, for the boat of salvation is merely a church expansion programme. Divine Love has birthed all and will embrace all, church membership or not. To limit a spiritual coming home to joining a church is a big mistake. For often we leave the integrity of our God encounter at the door to play a different game, one driven by the need to belong and be accepted; a shinier version of the game that we played in our wilder days.

So there you have it. Some wee thoughts why it’s best not to get involved with your church’s expansion drive known as evangelism. Since the days of my evangelistic zeal I’ve discovered that God is big, very big indeed. Faith groups are only part of a world that is loved, a Love without restraints that waits at the city gate for those with ears to hear to listen and respond. The Voice is everywhere, even, dare I say it, in the back pew of my old hemorrhaging church.

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