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Where Does God Hang Out?

Where Does God Hang Out?

 

Ever wondered where God hangs out? Now I know that God is everywhere, but what I’m trying to get at is where does the Divine hang out with us. Where do we really experience the intimacy of the One who fills all in all.

When we observe those who believe in a Divinity, it would appear that for many it’s a sacred building wherein lies the Reality of Transcendence. For each Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, millions worldwide head to their local, Mosque, Synagogue or Church in their search for God. An alien observing our religious practices would have to conclude that the Source has instructed It’s followers to meet up with It in the dedicated structures of ‘holy’ buildings.

I once remember sitting at the back of  St. Mary’s Basilica, in the historic city of Krakow, Poland, with my eyes focused on the isle in front of me. A recovering Protestant like me couldn’t believe my eyes. For on a regular weekday morning, a steady stream of teenagers would walk into the cathedral and immediately drop to their knees, making the sign of the cross as they devotedly stared at the altar. Back in Northern Ireland it was a Herculean task to drag a hormone tossed teenager into a church on a Sunday morning outing! Of course, Poland is still a Catholic fuelled nation, one whose identity is closely tied in with its faith of choice. Nevertheless, it was the perception of the young folk concerned that God somehow hung out here more than anywhere else that slightly disturbed me.

The danger for all religions is that a place and its related rituals, be it group prayer, worship via song, sacramental acts of remembrance or the sermon-homile become the only place for Divine contact in the eyes of their adherents. More worryingly is the underlying programming that one must  attend and support the associated institution in order to keep in touch with the Divine. Holy texts, tradition and guilt are all used to keep the faithful on the hamster-wheel of religious attendance.

Unsurprisingly the Divine may touch the hungry soul in such an environment. If the individual in question only looks for Divine Love in their hallowed environment of choice then that is where It will manifest from time to time. An act of mercy, rather than the outcome expected for putting the attendance penny in the slot of the religious fruit machine.

Many of my old Christian friends often look at me with saddened eyes before asking if I don’t miss the regular meeting together of the saints on a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening in my church of choice. My answer tends to shock them a little; it’s always an emphatic but hopefully humble no. I’m afraid I’ve attended too many Christian circuses in my time to appreciate the spiritual nuances of being in a sacred building doing my sacred stuff. I have to be honest; churches tend to give me the creeps.

Here in Lincoln, we have one of the most striking Gothic Cathedrals in the world. Tourists come by the coach-load to pay their £8 and see the ecclesiastical wonder that meets them. Yet, it does nothing for me, failing to touch any sense of the Transcendence within. Lincolnshire, being a very rural county is peppered with endless little Anglican parish churches, striving to survive the ravages of time. Occasionally I will go in to have a wee peep. Again nothing but the ghosts of times long gone, war memorials to the fallen brave of our past military misadventures. Not a spark of the eternal grabs my open heart.

Of course many folk find solace and meaning in their shrine of choice. For many ritual is faith and faith ritual. Yet, I’m afraid, no longer for me.  I’ve left behind the past scenes of my holy encounters, the waving arms, the rock fuelled worship, the teaching times of human wisdom. Yet, let me make clear that I’m not here to judge my fellow travellers, only to point towards another way for those tired of their building devotion. So where is this place where I and Spirit touch. If not in the purpose-built sanctuaries of man then where?

Well, let me answer with a simple little illustration.

This morning as I left my local paper shop to jump into my car I had an encounter. An encounter with Other, via the most touching of forms. Suddenly I spotted a mother duck crossing the road in front of me. Walking with great confidence and assurance she was followed by her three, little, fluffy ducklings, eyes devotedly fixed on their mama in front.

‘There’s mimesis for you my son,’ whispered my inner Voice.

‘See how it’s done! Follow me.’

Enough said.

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Why Churches Explode

Why Churches Explode

Let’s face it. Churches are intense groups of folk who claim to have found God and certain that He/She dwells among them. It’s a heady basis for any gathering of people, no matter how saintly. Traditions of millennia have tempered the inter-personal dynamic of many, with a smiling nod of the head or the traditional hand-shake at the door being the only expected behavior of many attendees.

Yet for some church is a lot more; a hot-house of belief where a sense of family is encouraged with all the dangers that entails. When God is seen as the Big Daddy, the leadership, Big Brothers or Sisters, and the majority of folk, children of God at various stages of spiritual growth, then we inadvertently sow the seeds of trouble further down the line.

Over time the family connection takes over from the Divine connection within, subtly becoming the defining stage for our place in the world. Our fellow members become more important to us than those previously in relationship with us. We take our cue from our standing within the family, and especially how we are viewed by the established leadership.

Of course, such psycho-spiritual tweaks aren’t part of the public persona, where freedom in Christ or the Spirit is the name of the game, but they are there nonetheless. The longer we’ve been around a family church the more we play the game, secure in our position in the God rankings, particularly if our particular ‘ministry’ is valued by those who can discern such things.

The pressure within such faith groups is pretty intense with a high level of commitment expected by those around us. Indeed an introductory ‘commitment’ course, of weekly lectures is often a necessary prerequisite for those wishing to join. ‘Better to know what you’re getting into before committing’ goes the standard line. And yet, the high level of commitment required is itself a subliminal carrot that draws us into the tight-knit group. In the depths of our being we want to belong to a group that knows where its going, especially if that destination is the Divine Will itself.

As relational rivalry emerges within the family it is quickly interpreted by those in leadership as the challenge to love as Jesus loved. Indeed it is often seen as the reason we gather in intensity in the first place; the human community where our ‘rough edges’ are removed as we surrender our own desires and will to the greater good of the family. In practice this defusion device works for a while as we knuckle down to carrying our personal cross within the confines of the greater group identity.

Yet, eventually the bubbling undercurrent of ‘not being happy’, once more rises to the top where it will be swiftly dealt with by a sometimes coldly efficient leadership. The usual tactic of choice is to reflect the claustrophobic community concerns of the member back onto the member himself. Having looked for a safe and sincere forum where issues can be raised, the troublesome saint is often disillusioned at the response given viz. a subtle placement of blame upon his own character.

And so the scene is set for another departure, one that usually takes place through the ecclesiastical back door cleverly hidden by the somewhat patronising religious spin placed on it by the hierarchy of the group. ‘God has called Fred and Diane to a new work……’.

When rivalry within a religious family gets to the level of contagion, the group, like many blood-line families often explode and fragment. The number of such splits, especially within the Protestant stream of Christianity is endemic which is often covered up with the lame argument that God loves variety. Indeed He/She does, but not the psycho-spiritual shrapnel of broken lives that lie across the battlefield of religious disagreement.

My observations and experiences suggest to me that it all can’t be blamed on human nature, for such faith groups claim that they consist of ‘new creatures in Christ’. It would appear that the newly inherited Christ nature, loves to fight among Itself. Either this or the fact that we are not as ‘born again’ as we first thought.

May I humbly suggest that it is our mindset regarding faith or spiritual community that is at fault. Let me throw a grenade of sorts into the established model of church. There is only one ‘church’ and that is all who have been welcomed back into relationship and alignment by the generosity of Divine Love. In other words, church or ecclesia, those gathered for a common purpose is the totality of mankind. Some of us realise it and some don’t but all are there, at least in the eyes of a supremely benign and inclusive God.

So do I need to join a church if I follow Yeshua. My suggestion, contrary to much religious teaching is no. You are already in the group that God loves, the community of the redeemed who walk the face of the Earth. All belong to Divine Love and all belong to us. As you dive into the mass of heaving humanity you will join the Christ, the One who submerged Himself in the images of Divine Source. If it was good enough for Him it’s surely good enough for us.

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Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Let me start by making two bold assertions.

1) Many of us on the spiritual Journey are, at times, sanctified, little versions of Angry Birds.

2) Anger is a valid and extremely useful emotion for all who seek to walk in Love.

I’d better explain.

Anger is a primeval facility wired within our central nervous system whereby we regain our inner space once it has been crossed by an unwelcome other. It is the alarm bell and emergency response to a psycho-spiritual incursion all rolled into one.

Without anger there’s nothing to stop another soul from encroaching upon our inner holy of holies without repercussions. It’s our first line of defense in letting another know that we’re not happy bunnies, those willing to lie down and let an intruder take something precious that belongs to us.

Anger is designed to be a short, sharp defensive measure, a self-regulating one that ought to get the message across without permanent or lasting emotional damage. Once our other gets the message a more satisfactory re-establishment of boundaries may be negotiated.

So how come we religio-spiritual types are often little, Angry Birds?

Well, I believe that below the beatific smiles of our public, spiritual persona there lies trapped emotions and energies, one of which is often anger. Such energies require expression and release. They need to complete the journey plotted out for them by our internal powers of recovery. If they can’t be freed from the cellar of our lower unconscious they’ll manifest in other more demanding ways viz depression and physical illness, particularly muscular, tendon or nerve related pain.

Anger is one of our normal human emotions often frozen by the adoption of our spiritual stance subsequent to a conversion or enlightenment experience. In such a dramatic change of Self perception we often get a glimpse of the real us, that spirit spark placed within by Divine Love. Such a radical change of perception can keep us going for a while along the newly travelled spiritual path but eventually our inner world of the lower unconscious will need examination and airing. Thankfully Spirit Breath gives us time to settle into our new way of life before the Divine Spring-cleaning begins in earnest.

Much of our trapped anger was cut short and frozen in childhood or infancy. A slap across the thighs in the isle of a supermarket by our frustrated and indeed angry mother may have shocked us into a state of emotional paralysis. Years later, this cut short anger, lies dormant in the freezer of our  inner self.

Other frozen angers have their origin within the religious or spiritual life. In the intense cauldron of faith or spiritual communities many lines are regularly crossed. In some cases this in done intentionally, as in abusive groups, in others it is as a result of a false interpretation of the family of God. In religious or spiritual mindsets, where our oneness is overemphasized, to the detriment of our unique sense of Self, many inter-personal infringements can occur that automatically trigger our psychological defense mechanisms.

Our conscious mind, not wanting to appear disruptive or even more unacceptable, unloving, shuts down the outward expression of our psychic response force. Locked away and repressed in the lower unconscious, misinterpreted as a sin of the flesh, our far from dead anger begins to find an alternative route of expression and escape. The intense energy has to go somewhere and often does.

By definition most faith or spiritual mindsets rule out a valid and controlled channel for the resolution of psychic or indeed physical boundary incidents. The holy writings of many groups suggest practical ways to address such issues but in practice the pressure to conform and be a loving member who doesn’t rock the boat, takes psychic precedence.

In other words I’m suggesting that we spiritual types may be a lot angrier than we realise; we’re good at smothering our inner vexation by appearing to detach from our animal hard-wiring and going into freeze mode.

In my next post I’ll look at how leaving a faith or spiritually community can open our personal can of angry worms.

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Into The Desert

Into The Desert

Sometimes the only place for recovering religious junkies to go is the desert, far from the somewhat maddening crowd of religious and spiritual discussion, the marketplace of conceptual takes on Ultimate Reality.

Many of us have been so over-stimulated by religious or spiritual thought that we have to pull back from the psycho-spiritual games that are commonly played out in their respective worlds. Yes one can have too much truth, or at least too much perceived truth. Our poor wee brains eventually go into shutdown mode in order to maintain our sanity.

This I believe, is the reason that so many religious and spiritual seekers eventually put the shutters up and move on into a more normal state of being, a place where the confused dust of inner turmoil can settle once more on the journey home.

Playing our theological and esoteric mind games, our ping-pong matches of Socratic discussion  can be great fun for a while, but eventually the soul screams, ‘No more!’.

Strange as it may seem, it’s at this point that we are closest to finding the One who lies behind our psycho-spiritual desire. Yet, we are gently asked to take a detox journey, one far from the hustle and bustle of established religion and East-West gurus.

Our destination is the desert, that inner place of aloneness where all true Friends of Divine Love have pitched their camp at one time or another. Here the discussion and arguments are stilled with only God and our inner Self for travelling companions. Thankfully Divine Love doesn’t bombard us with a multitude of words nor indeed Bible verses. Those days are over. No, we have been led into the wilderness where nothing gets in the way of true communion except the dregs and remnants of our previous take on reality.

As we lie there, shattered and contemplating the healing touch of atheism, or at least that of agnosticism, we sense  a gentle Presence wrapping itself around us, One initially without words, One content to just be in the company of burnt-out humanity, the scorched soul of religious and spiritual war games.

This desert, this place without the outer support structures of certainty and belief, is strangely our closest port of call to the Transcendence that we call God. For here, bereft of our religious drug of attack and defence, we lie open to the gaze of One who fills All in All. We are seen for who we are; human beings who really haven’t a clue about what makes us  tick or indeed what makes the Divine tick.

Here man shall not live by words alone but by every Breath of Spirit that wafts around our tortured Self, the battered victim of the religious quest and its salesmen, the spiritual experts. To be honest such experts are as screwed up as the next man; they only disguise it with their beatific smiles and got it together body language.

Here we get a chance to touch base with Source, to let our Transcendent Parent come within, in the overwhelming glory of Immanence. Here in the desert our life changes, for time and eternity, whatever that is. When the desert has done its thing in the river of Divine purpose, it releases us back into the crazy world of man, even that wackiest of worlds, the hearts and minds of our fellow seekers and believers, those caught up in the psycho-spiritual twister of belief.

Divine Love isn’t afraid of deserts.

Are we?

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Masks

Masks

Do we really know those closest to us, indeed, do we really know our Selves?

We generally walk around, bumping off our fellow humanoids like the ball in a pinball machine, whilst falling for the masks  they wear in the somewhat whacky world of human interaction. Like actors in a grand Venetian drama we strut, or rather, stumble around the stage of life in a relational stupor.

So are we all devious little creatures deliberately hiding our true self to those without?

Surprisingly, I believe not, for most of the time we’re not aware of which of our repertoire of masks we’re actually wearing!

May I suggest that our masks are initially the personalized projections of others upon us. Let me explain.

The Shadowlands reality of this space-time world, is, I believe, merely a perceived reality. A flat 2-D impression of a mystery filled 3-D + Source Reality. The human brain for all its marvelous complexity is actually reductionist in nature. Bombarded with a storm of incoming external and internal stimuli it draws a simplified sketch of our present state of being; one that helps us to maintain a functioning level of sanity in the swirling ocean of impulses called life.

In other words perception is the interpreter of our reality. This explains why I believe someone to be a scoundrel whilst another believes them to be a saint. Our perceptions, our decipherers of external stimuli are clearly on different settings.

So when we make up our mind about someone we’re doing so on the basis of our perception of them. In other words we’re creating a mask or persona for them, one that we place upon them every time we meet up. We regularly relate to them on the basis of the mask.

As the other reads our relational response to their mask they will conform to their perceived role in one of two ways. They will play along with our scripted role for them or they will rip off the mask and break off the somewhat unreal relationship. Let’s face it, much of our human interaction is role play, the adaptation of our Self image to the perceptions of others. This built up and somewhat manufactured Self is none other than the ego, the me in which we take refuge from the threat of further rejection and psychological pain.

The abused wife is willing to play the role of victim until another role is graciously offered to her by another director, one far away from her violent leading man, on another stage of self- perception.

So is there really anyone lying under our historic collection of projected masks?

I believe so.

Under the make-up of our social self lies an embryonic image, one placed in the depths of our being by the Creative Director of our human drama. This image is marinated in Divine Authenticity; it’s the real deal; the reflected image of our Source Love. To have this Self revealed, often through the painful stripping away of ego masks is true freedom and a homecoming of the most intimate kind.

The Nazarene, that mask-less prophet from another Stage, calls us into such a freedom. Mentored into the ways of Divine Love, we can finally touch base with our true Self; One that doesn’t require the imprisoning applause of the audience without.

http://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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Contented?

Contented?

Let’s face it.

Many of us who claim to be spiritual folk aren’t actually content!

Under the veneer of our religious or spiritual masks, we are, deep down, very unhappy people.

No matter how orthodox or wacky our belief system, an inner angst keeps churning away in the pit of our stomachs.

For many of us this is the hidden energy source of our relentless psycho-spiritual work out on our treadmill of choice.

Millions of dollars, words, argument and discussion are spent on getting this little feeling to subside but all to no avail.

In other words we play a restless ego game and we flit from one spirituality to the next trying to find an inner peace and solitude.

Therapists, preachers and gurus love this little gremlin within all of us.

Why?

Well, frankly it makes them a living in the metaphysical marketplace of peace serums.

The only thing that gets us off our sleepy trip for meaning and purpose is a great big transpersonal crisis.

For Paul of Taursus it was getting knocked off his Pharisaical donkey. For some of us its a sudden death, an unexpected divorce, a terminal diagnosis or a mental breakdown.

Such events well and truly knock the egotistical stuffing out of us – our brokenness is laid bare before our eyes in a way that ego didn’t previously encourage.

In our darkness Something or someone comes along to touch and heal our pain. The time for religious or spiritual games are past, our masks lying faceless on the desert ground of our crushed psyche-soul.

The ego’s search for God or Ultimate Reality is over; Divine Love has called its bluff and knocked it off its psycho-spiritual treadmill.

So what’s left after the dust of trauma and Divine invasion is over?

Only the contentment that comes from having ego painfully yanked off its inner throne.

After that we don’t need to look for or argue on behalf of anything; our God game days are over.

Silence takes over from our old metaphysical chat-lines.

The one who knows, knows; the one who doesn’t maintains the stressful search in the guise of piety or spiritual hunger.

Life is a lot simpler than we imagine!. Reality is our friend, not an enemy to subdue and overcome. Bump into it and Divine Love isn’t far away.

With our ego surrender comes contentment.

No longer any need to go to our psycho-spiritual gym to sweat away our inner angst.

Just be.

http://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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The Terrible Twos

The Terrible Twos

Let me first make it clear that I love twins! My dad was one, although his brother died at childbirth. So I’ve a soft spot for them, these little reflections of creativity. In today’s post I wish to look at the rivalry that stalks us in our search for peace, attempting to shed a little more light on its origins.

Someone once said that we usually hate the folk who remind us of ourselves. Sounding ridiculous at first there may be a little more truth in the statement than first meets our eyes.

Let’s start with desire!

Desire is the psycho-spiritual fuel that propels us towards having something or someone. Where does it come from? Most of us reckon that it is generated in the human heart, born in the inner core of our being. I believe not. let me explain.

Desire is, I believe, a virus of sorts that we are infected by, a bug that is transmitted from another. If we had eyes to see beyond the appearances of human relationships we could perceive the desire lines that permanently flow between individuals; a complex network of pushes and pulls that never switch off  but constantly operate under the radar of the conscious mind.

I desire an object because someone else is desiring it; I do not desire it in a social vacuum. All desire is hence triangular at its most basic. Out of the corner of my eye I have absorbed the desire of the other, the opposite base corner of the desire triangle. as I attempt to reach the desired apex object common to us both. The race is on with one eye on the prize and the other on our new opponent in the dash for acquisition.

As we both push toward the desired goal, the race becomes all, the object rapidly disappearing into the mists of illusory happiness. At this stage both sets of eyes are firmly set on one another, the desire for victory having become the new race prize.

It’s at this stage that we have become the terrible twos, mirror images of one another, twins determined to kill of the mutual challenge of our psychic sibling. Such an engagement with our brother or sister is a function of our skewed or warped ego, that desire transmitter-receiver that scans the psycho-spiritual airways for the latest ‘must-have’ object and the one chasing it down.

This human dynamic was widely understood in many ancient cultures where twins were taboo and symbols of a potential violent struggle within the tribe or social grouping. Some societies even exiled one of the twins to defuse any future outbreaks of violent contagion.

Throughout the Judaeo Scriptures we regularly come across this warring brother syndrome, one included for our warning and enlightenment. Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, the two house sharing prostitutes who brought their baby for Solomon’s ownership judgement,  are  brutally honest exposés of familial rivalry, ones that result in violence, whether potential or actual. We are being shown how those in close relationship often end up fighting each other for metaphysical dominance.; the victor somehow absorbing the being of the vanquished when the fight is over; a conflict initially triggered by a mutual desire transfer.

When such a dynamic occurs within a faith or spirituality community it is extra specially tragic. The initial object is usually a desire to know God, or to be close to someome who claims to. Such a desire can easily morph into the subliminal driving force of a hidden struggle for victory over a fellow believer or devotee. May I suggest that under the charade of brotherly or sisterly love that the terrible twos is endemic within most metaphysical groups. Ego finds it extremely easy to justify its armed struggle stance regarding an other within the sacred setting, with God or Scriptures often press-ganged onto the side of the righteous.

Warring twin relationships often start out well with a level of mutual respect but often transform themselves as the level of desire is increased by either or both parties. The spiral of relational breakdown often takes folk by surprise. How can two who were once so close, now be at each others spiritual throats, a battle for Divine authentication and approval. Is it any wonder that so many so-called expressions of faith or spirituality exist within the psycho-spiritual marketplace? Is it any wonder that many defeated twins or shattered mirror images have walked away from the hidden but intense desire battles that pervade many religious or New Age groups. Of course not. Survival is a great motivator.

As we engage with others, either face to face, or dare I say it on social media sites, let us be aware of the desire dangers lurking within our fractured psyche-souls. Being mindful of our tendency to absorb the passion of another is half the battle; the other half being our own connection to the One outside Desire. The Spirit of the Nazarene, knows nothing of desire  except that all-pervasive energy known as the Will or Passion of God. Now that’s what we need to absorb, a liberating infection that will help us fly high over the battlefields of the Terrible Twos.

http://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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