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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Running In Circles

Running In Circles

Trying to escape all things Divine is extremely hard work. For the more we run away, the more frustrated we tend to get. Why? Well, we always seem to end up back at the place where we initiated our attempted break for freedom. Life appears to conspire to bring us back to what we run from, with God being its favourite drop off point.

For those of us who’ve been raised in a religious belief system, the most logical tactic for our planned escape is to ditch God completely, converting to a quasi-confident atheism, with all its promised allure. Out of mind, hopefully out of sight, is its beguiling mantra. Just take up a rigidly atheistic viewpoint and the Divine will leave us alone to enjoy our non-belief in peace. Alternatively, we may prefer to take the slightly less dogmatic agnostic approach to bathe our religious wounds, while swaying to and fro between the opposing belief branches of promise.

Of course, Divine Love lets us have our day of supposed freedom, glad to see us free of our prior religious shackles and metaphysical misconceptions. For God really is into liberty, even if it involves being ignored by those who run a mile from belief systems that go by His/Her Name. So off we dash, running along the remaining track of life, entering each new bend with a renewed vigour and vim as we head for our godless utopia. The old ways lie far behind, distant memories of past metaphysical illusions and pain. ‘Thank God there is no god,’ we cry out in our paradoxical, liberated fervour.

However, the trouble is that we’re not running along a straight track, one that follows the flying crow into the remainder of our space-time existence. For, much to our amazement, we find ourselves running around a circular path that takes us right back to the big Mysteries of life, and eventually bang into a Presence, One that stands tall to block our illusory progress. Yes, at some stage we experience the Track Designer Supreme, stepping out onto Its creation to catch us totally unaware. Thankfully, we’re not frog-marched back into the tepid bath water of our religious past, but into the pulsating Rapids of Spirit Life, an Energy Flow that wells up from our hidden depths within. The Life abundantly as promised by the Nazarene, the Spring of Self from which gushes the endless Source of All.

Only then does it begin to make sense – this topsy-turvy Journey race that ends in healing tears of joy and release. No longer the hurdles of ego, no longer the fear of stumbling on the relational blocks of others, no longer the nightmares of finishing last in the adversarial affairs of humanity. Just a Presence, One that lets us collapse in a heap of sheer relief, just a Presence that allows us to rest before standing up once more to re-engage as Children of Source.

Remember, contrary to ego’s advice, there’s no  place to run and no place to hide. Best to cut short the Great Escape race and fall into the welcoming Arms of Divine Love.

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Freedom

Freedom

 

I guess that everyone’s after it; freedom, that is. It’s often used as a raison d’être for the vicious violence that swirls around individuals, communities and nation states. Everyone who fights sees themself as a freedom fighter of sorts. Yet the very fact that one fights is a sign that freedom lies a long way off. For true freedom isn’t just the rearrangement and temporary pacifying of our psycho-spiritual subpersonalities, but a much more radical process.

Freedom is ultimately the freedom from desire, the beguiling energy that draws us into the obsessive acquisition of both things and people. Unsurprisingly, mass market advertisers hate genuine freedom – for it’s their negating nemesis. Rampant, restless desire is their mistress. They use her to fatten their wallets and those belonging to their clients, the wealthy multinationals of our world.

It’s hard to escape desire’s clutches for its tenacious tentacles wrap themselves around our every waking moment. Newspapers, TV, Radio, and the Internet, all pulsate with demanding desire. ‘If you get hold of this then you’ll be free and happy!’ It’s one big lie of course, but that’s what makes human culture tick. We all operate within a subconscious con-job. No, freedom isn’t to be found within the citadel of establishment or the hippy tent of countercultural values.

Surprisingly, freedom is found within and only after an awakening to some disturbing wee facts. We are not autonomous creatures as suggested by cultural norms. Far from it. Rather, we’re constantly responding to a network of encroaching desires, a subliminal matrix that controls us like a puppet on a string. Desire disguises itself in the most intriguing of ways. It can come in materialistic, relational or, even more deviously, metaphysical forms, pulling us towards the illusory goal of acquired happiness and pseudo-freedom.

Authentic freedom usually comes after we imagine we’re going under; when the last of our desire attachments are cut away by the pruning Gardener of Divine Love. Each little snip results in a pain-filled howl, yet bit by bit, we arrive at a place where the only desire left is the one for Source. The bloom of Union will come after the Winter of angst-filled death, the hellish stripping away of our skewed desire web. Realigned with Source, we can tentatively re-emerge into the desire-flux world of men. This time though we’re not easily fooled, for our eyes have been opened. We’re now free to engage or disengage with oncoming transmitted desire. We see the matrix for what it is, the Deceiver of all deceivers.

So, best to let the illusion of personal autonomy go and jump into the embrace of Divine Love. The Dancer and the Dance, a Union of freedom, one beyond desire.

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Living To Die ~ Dying To Live

Living To Die ~ Dying To Live

 

I’ve just been listening to Cat Steven’s new wee song, Dying To Live ~ Living To Die. It’s really sparked something within me, on this warm, Lincolnshire, blog-writing morning; so here goes.

Many of us are dying to live. We just feel like we haven’t got to a place that can be really called living. If only is the wee phrase that gives it away. If only I’d a better, bigger, whatever. You know how it goes. The advertising industry certainly do for it is their raison d’être. We feel like a glass half empty if we’re lucky. Some of feel drained dry on a permanent basis as we struggle for a drop of life to keep us going. Show me the one who claims to be living life to the full and I’ll show you a liar, be they a hedonistic playboy or a religious zealot. No, not even after some sublime spiritual experiences do we constantly feel fully alive. I reckon, it’s the way it’s been designed, a metaphysical carrot to keep us on the Way.

Our dying to live takes many forms. Ego suggests a whole selection of ways that we can kill ourselves during our earthly sojourn. Addictions, a stream of broken relationships, self-imposed lacks of all kinds appear to be sponsored by our wounded, shame orientated self who confidently declares that we deserve to die. We are often our own firing squad, lining up to fire an assortment of psycho-spiritual weapons that will put us out of our misery. Unfortunately though it doesn’t work. We rise again to go through the whole suicide attempt again.

Let’s face it we are addicted to dying, hoping to prove to ourselves and Other that we are heroes worthy of Love. The gloomy, morose among us are death junkies par excellence. Everything is seen through the lens of death. Trips to the doctor’s surgery a regular ritual, hoping to hear the worst – news that induce pity and some sense of self-worth as we teeter on the brink of space-time.

And yet there is a dying process, one not driven by ego, that does lead to life. It is the awakening process within that unties the bonds of psychological attachments. Let’s just say that ego doesn’t like it at all. It will rant and rave that it alone is the expert in the dying business. Yet, under the guidance and encouragement Spirit Breath, the Intelligent Energy of our Source life-giver, we are led into situations where we go through mini-deaths. Yet these mini-deaths are really portals into a new sense of freedom, not the totality of Life as it shall be, but as it can be here within the constraints of space-time.

If Spirit nudges for us to jump off our personal psycho-spiritual cliffs of attachment then my advice, based on painful experience, is to leap with all one’s might. Divine Presence is always there to work its wonders, to catch and restore those who trust. Letting go of addictive relationships or other psychological crutches is always the path to life, no matter how much ego protests.

The reality in which we find ourselves suggests that we are all living to die. What an absurd thought. We run around like headless chickens for a while before running out of steam and ending up as a cold corpse in the frozen earth or a little urn of ashes to be sprinkled onto a local beauty spot. Could Source really be so cruel. Life seems to be a school which rings the closing bell, sending us into nothingness where the lessons learned will be of no further earthly use. No wonder many great philosophers ended up mad or taking their own lives.

Of course religion weaves its pseudo magic and asks the faithful to embrace suffering and die a thousand deaths daily – all for Jesus. Such a warped mindset has milked death for all it’s worth. Many religious organisations are kept going by the sacrificial endeavours of their members, all in the name of God, though often resulting in manipulation, misery and control. Death cannot be used as a religious tool to keep the flock in line. The dying of ego is a more liberating process than the  numerous self-hating hoops through which we jump in our pursuit of religious reality.

The whole life thing seems to be one great Cosmic joke, a teaser of the cruellest kind. We live to die. Full stop. Some folk appear to accept this and just get on with it. ‘Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ is the wisdom of many. It certainly brings a measure of release for some, but niggling in the depths of being the question remains. ‘Is this really all that there is?’

So, I guess if the Nazarene hadn’t turned up and gone through the whole gamut of human existence that I’d join the above club. No matter how wonderful the teaching of the Jewish prophet, it’s only half of the claimed story. Even in our scientific age we can’t get around the big one. Disheartened, fearful men and women, such as ourselves, came bursting out of a Jerusalem safe house to declare that their executed leader was alive and well. Not the kind of thing that disillusioned sect devotees usually get up to. How or what happened to the Nazarene isn’t the topic for this post but rather the answer to the ‘living to die’ downer. ‘Living to die to Live’ seems to be closer to the Divine Mystery. Our conscious Self appears to continue on after ditching this shell-like body. Rather than the end, death is only a beginning.

Try and get hold of Cat’s or Yusaf’s wee song.

❤ Dylan

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Non-Leader Leaders

Non-Leader Leaders

 

In the previous posts in this wee series, I’ve looked at the pitfalls of being, or pretending to be, a leader within religious or spiritual groups. Both office-based and charisma-based shepherd roles tend to eventually morph into masks for our insecure egos, our fearful wounded psyches afraid to come into the Light of Divine acceptance. Of course our original motives may initially be well-intentioned but the outward and inward pressures of having ‘responsibility’ for a flock tend to take their toll.

Inside every leader lies a prisoner waiting to make a break for it. Yet, such is the ego strength of the religious or spiritual role that one can’t really make it on their own. Thankfully Divine Love has an appointment with all leaders whether they wish to keep it or not! Divine hijackings are a regular occurrence within the sacred world of the leadership tribe. One way or another Divine Love will get our attention and knock us off our leadership role. For many it’s ill health, for some an unexpected divorce, for others a nervous breakdown – all signs that our running on the hamster wheel of leadership expectations isn’t the Divine Will at all.

Once we’ve gone through our own valley of disillusionment and ego dethronement we are, at last, able to be ourselves, warts and all, without fear of what folk think. We can let all the fragmentation of our psyche-soul hang out in the Presence of Unconditional Love, the one that ultimately asks nothing of us but honesty. Healing and realignment that can follow our leadership cold turkey experience as we have our religious paradigm turned upside down. Our role as ‘God’s little helper’ is well and truly ditched as we realise that we are as broken and dysfunctional as those we once tended with our sacred medical bag of tricks.

So is that it? Is the leadership game now over for good? Well, yes and no.

Certainly our days of wearing the sheriff’s badge of  official God representation has gone for good. Divine Love was never looking for our spiritual sharpshooting skills as we patrolled the Kingdom sects of men. No, the lawgiver and law enforcer role has been decommissioned by the gracious act of Divine intervention. ‘Enough is enough’ it proclaims as it blocks our progress up the ladder of hierarchical leadership imaginings.

When ego has let go of every vestige of religious or spiritual ambition, and we have found a restored level of humanity and vulnerability, Divine Love may come calling. It’s call is one of realignment and Spirit flow. No longer the projection of strength and a Charles Atlas spiritual muscle programme, but an honest acceptance of frailty floating on the Ocean of Spirit Source. No, the days of doing and goals are over. Now we are only asked to be. Out of such a being we will soon perceive the flow of Divine Life. Here and there others will be touched by a look, a smile, a thought or an arm around the shoulder. A new channel of Divine Flow has opened up in the affairs of man. We are a walking conduit of compassion and a Presence beyond our understanding. In letting go of our leadership we have become feeders, water carriers for the hungry and thirsty among whom we dwell.

In realigning with Spirit Source, outside the Alice in Wonderland world of religious leadership, mission and belief, we’ve become transmitters of  a Divine Magnetism, one that draws the broken into wholeness. Such a flux of mimetic attraction bypasses the old ego settings, now passing through our reintegrated psyche, that which makes us truly us. We have become wounded healers as the late Henri Nouwen so aptly described our new non role. This function in the Divine Love vortex, isn’t one upon which to re-establish the kingdom of ego. Rather it is one that produces a deep contentment, a knowing that we can’t fix anyone, that Source is All in All.

So, ‘Feed my sheep’ isn’t a Divine call to action. Rather, it is a call to being. Out of such a place of rest and inner acceptance we will channel the Source from which we sprang, feeding the hungry with the multiplied loves of our broken humanity. We are all feeders of Divine Love. Give It half a chance and It will satisfy the longings of those who come our way. Non-leader leaders, non-leader feeders – sounds like Heaven on Earth to me.

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Free Will?

Free Will?

Let me go ahead and say it!

Nothing can ultimately keep us from Divine Love – how can it?

‘Well, for starters,’ you may reply, ‘what about free will?’

Well, I agree that will appears to be an extremely potent weapon in resisting the Irresistible. Like some scurrying, little mouse it imagines its escape to be final before turning a corner to find its unfriendly, feline hunter one step ahead of it. Please let me explain.

Free will may not be that free after all. I appear to be free to choose what kind of coffee I’ll order when sitting here in this Lincolnshire, coffee shop. Shall I go for a latte or a soya cappuccino? No I think that I’ll go for an Americano with a little skimmed milk! Decision made. But is it that simple? Have I really made a decision or has the devious subliminal advertising of my surroundings influenced me. Has the choice of my coffee-drinking companion unknowingly influenced my own, preferred caffeine-fueled fix

Of course, apart from cash issues, such hidden influences don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things but with Divine Love it’s a totally different story. Either we are free to finally say NO to the Divine Presence or we can’t. Let me humbly suggest that we can’t.

Now of course it’s at this point that I will upset many of my Evangelical Christian friends for their whole raison d’etre is choice and free choice at that. Jesus died for our sins and we have a choice whether to accept God’s forgiveness or not! If not, well I wouldn’t like to be in your hell-bound shoes!

The reasoning behind this goes something like this. The Divine has granted us the power of free will, one that can refuse the very advances of the Love that gave it in the first place. Now there is something a bit off about this. If Divine Love, knew that the gift of free will would cause some of his beloved creatures to walk away from its very essence, straight into a godless eternity then would its granting constitute an act

Free Will?

Free Will?

of love? Rather, would it not be a somewhat, sadistic, ticking time bomb that would ultimately get rid of the apples of the Divine Eye?

I used to believe the free-will narrative on things but after my own rollercoaster life experiences, no longer.

No, will is, I believe, an illusion of sorts, one that helps us skip merrily through life believing that we are our own boss and that nobody tells us what to do. Yet, it lies, for within the human community, we are all influenced by the pull of the skewed, imitative desire of those around us. Pulled this way and that, we individually believe that the desires which regularly bubble up from our psyche-soul have their origins within, in other words, they stem from Me. Bouncing around the bouncy castle of life we’re oblivious to the frustrations and turmoil that haunt us from beneath – the controlling puppet strings of another’s passion and psychological needs. Their object of desire becomes ours and the subconscious battle for supremacy commences.

So, all a bit depressing you say! Well yes, if those around us are the only ones drawing us into their somewhat crazy desire fields. Thankfully there is a way of escape though, and that is to be drawn by the mimetic pull of Divine Love. Desire was birthed in the Source of All. It is the desire expert, the past master of its healthy default settings, the settings that tune us into liberty and life. This realignment with the One of our beginnings is the path of true freedom. Exchanging the hooks of contagious acquisitive desire, we involuntarily lay everything down, as we’re finally drawn into the Divine Embrace, like a prize salmon that’s had its final fling.

Some will be drawn into this awakening experience during their space-time sojourn, others will discover it post the illusion of death, or perhaps, as some Eastern philosophies suggest, on the space-time merry-go-round of a future life. Yet none will be cast out or expelled. To believe otherwise is to crown Free Will as the god of space-time and beyond.

In the Divine Presence, will, whether free or not, shall melt away, unnecessary in the Ocean of Divine Love. A homecoming where two have become One. The mystic catches glimpses of it and yearns for more, no longer interested in the matrix of desire.

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Home

Home

 

Someone once said ‘Home is where the heart is!’. For the first 54 years of my life that home was the little seaside town of Ballybrigg in Northern Ireland – but no longer! Please let me explain.

Raised as an Ulster Presbyterian, later to become a somewhat zealous member of a Charismatic Christian sect, I always felt completely at ease with the religion-political ethos that hangs over this beautiful little piece of God’s green Earth. Even the rain and the predictable, grey skies, mixed with the nightly news of murder and  spiralling atrocities didn’t shake my conviction that I was at home. I felt totally secure in the bubble of  my small tribe, one that believed itself to be a little  special in the eyes of the great Creator.

That is until two dramatic events changed my life forever. The sudden death of my 5 month old baby son, Ben, back in 1984, was the first seismic shift that turned my cosy inner world upside down. It launched me on my journey of freedom from the pseudo-safe belief system of my sect of choice. Nothing would be the same again, especially in the realm of religious devotion and group commitment.

The second shift in my sense of belonging was my stress burnout back in 2004, when I walked out voiceless from my place of work, an educational microcosm aka a school, for the very last time on a dull winter’s afternoon. Later, lying in my bed and weeping like a baby and doubting my sanity, I knew that another Linus blanket had been ripped from my grasping hands. I was no longer, Dylan Morrison, the Math teacher and pastoral Year Head. I was just Dylan, the broken man, drifting on the ocean of shattered dreams.

In hindsight, both these ego shattering events were the final two nails in my Northern Irish coffin. Paradoxically, a sense of psycho-spiritual claustrophobia slowly smothered me during my slow but sure recovery from my breakdown or ‘breakthrough’. I sensed that I no longer belonged and could not continue with the mask of conformity within the middle class environs of my pervading Protestant culture. Something was dysfunctional and I felt it, for the first time in my Ulster sojourn.

Of course my sudden departure from Ballybrigg, back in July 2009 still took me by surprise. Having bought a small apartment in Lincoln, England as a holiday home, on the spur of the moment, during a visit to see my son Zac, I didn’t expect that it was to become my new home and the birthplace of a new blogging and writing career. Yes, the Divine can step up the pace when it needs to. One minute we’re there and now we are here!

Last week, as I returned to Ballybrigg to attend my sister’s wedding and deal with some outstanding property matters, I  was apprehensive to say the least. Yet I needn’t have been concerned. For as I drove down to Ballybrigg from Belfast Airport, I felt a deep detached sort of peace within. On the outside nothing had changed in the five years since my departure; no new development, the same triumphalist wall murals on the working class gable walls. It could easily have been June 30th 2009, when I drove out of Ballybrigg in the opposite direction for our short holiday in England.

I sensed a bubble of sorts surrounding and protecting me from the cultural memories, people and persons that threatened to knock my new psychic equilibrium for six. It just didn’t happen. My time was enjoyable in a quiet, contained sort of way, my contact with old friends and family extramely encouraging. Even my visit to my dead son’s little grave was ok. As I stared at his little moss marked, sullied gravestone I wanted to shed a tear but couldn’t. I just seemed so detached and apart from this scene of  past burial and fervent prayer. A husk of memories remained, but ones without the  bitter sting of bygone years. Surprising myself, I quickly jumped into my car and headed off to meet the living. The shocking truth was that my wee son Ben, no longer touched me on that barren grave-filled, Ballybrigg hillside. Both he and I had moved on.

So will I return? Yes, if I have to for social or business reasons. Will I be rushing back, hankering for the old ways, the tribal dances of the Ulster Scots and Catholic Nationalists. No. In my soul, I am now an observer of these tribes, the blood of a more distant country running through my veins. A transfusion of sorts has taken place. My life now flows from another realm, one only observable by the inner eye of spirit sight. A place where tears are wiped away and distilled into the essence of a felt transcendent joy, an all-consuming ocean of Divine Love; the place I now call Home.

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Free To Be

Free To Be

Frankly, many of us on the spiritual path are freaked out by the thought of freedom. Something lurking within us associates it with rebellion, the throwing off of authentic authority. We want to be free, yet we don’t. We remain fearful, for all our religio-spiritual talk, that we’re going to be jumped upon from a great height, by either a controlling parental figure or, more scarily, by God, the One above who keeps tabs on all our ‘motivations’ and ‘actions’.

So, we tend to oscillate between two Self perceptions: one tucked safely under authority and one who roams free to answer to no man or divinity. Not surprisingly, neither is true freedom. Please let me explain.

Both settings are the fruit of our fearful, wounded psyche-soul known as ego. Ego cannot truly settle, its restlessness keeping us constantly on the move to avoid condemnation and shame. The trouble is that it’s fuelled by the very obstacles it attempts to keep us clear of. So the answers to freedom don’t lie in the soul-driven sphere, the realm of desire bombardment and certain disappointment.

No, true freedom lies in the dimension of spirit. Now many have a problem with that, for they don’t believe in it or, more accurately, have never had it explained to them. The level of knowledge regarding the main aspects of our being is, I’m afraid, pretty ethereal or non-existent within most faith groups who claim to follow the Nazarene. The psyche-soul is often the hidden driving force behind much religious thought, practice and experience. It’s a bit like being an eternal caterpillar, one who never gets to flutter in the clear blue skies of  destiny. Yes, many of our strenuous efforts and much of our religious drive lie within the operational command of ego, who disguises itself as our angel of light, duty and self-sacrifice being the fruit of its fear-fuelled restlessness.

Contrastingly, when we experience spirit we know it, really know it. It can’t be whipped up by any incantation of our own making. No ritual or level of religious zeal can drag it into our consciousness. Spirit appears when it wishes. That’s why many have called it Lord. Like the wind we aren’t quite sure where it comes from or where it goes to but we do get to feel its mysterious, life-changing effects. Our wah moments in Nature or in meditation, are often manifestations of its willing touch.

So what defines this freedom of Spirit? Well, simply in us having an alternative source on which to draw upon. Awakening to the somewhat shocking realisation that we’re not the incessant demands of our ego, but rather a spark from the Divine Fire is mind-bogglingly liberating. In other words, we can opt out of the ego storms of much of our psychological life, by simply letting go. Taking such a decision tips us into the boundless Ocean of Divine Love, that all consuming sea of Spirit Source, from which we emerged on the day of our space-time birth. As old Larry Norman used to sing, we’re really only visiting this planet, this ego realm of angst-driven storms and floods.

Now, the Nazarene, Yeshua bar Yosef, was a man who knew where he’d come from and where he would return. A man aligned and in tune with Divine Spirit and all its endless possibilities; a man through whom the compassion of Divine Love flowed in its fullness, announcing a new freedom, one that tackled the problem of ego head-on in all its various forms.

‘If then the son may make you free, in reality you shall be free.’

This quote from the Aramaic New Testament, one attributed to the Galilean prophet, is certainly a bold claim.

Yet, how does the son make us free?

Not I believe, by applying the standard formula of salvation, as pushed by many brands of Christianity i.e. freedom from sins, guilt and an eternal hell. No, the freedom of the Nazarene is one to be experienced here and now, in the roller-coaster Journey we optimistically call Life! The freedom gained is a freedom from acquisitive desire, the power plays of ego and a sense of great aloneness, indeed abandonment. As we marinate in the spirituality of Yeshua we discover an inner resonance and realignment beginning to take place, a renewed contact with Spirit Source via the spirit spark portal within. We’re drawn into a new dimension, one filled with experiential meaning and a profound, new, inner peace. We’ve been rebirthed into the Womb of Divine Love, the place where we were meant to be, indeed have been, all along.

This liberation is available to us all as we come into resonance with the Divine Essence, as channelled by Yeshua’s life and words. Of course ego will resist the healing efforts of our new Awareness, by dragging us from time to time, back into the battlefield of our old psyche-soul settings. Yet, something has radically changed. We now have an alternative to the monopoly of ego and its fears. We can switch back into the place of Divine acceptance and desire liberation at will.

For a recovering religious junkie like myself that truly is Good News!

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