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Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

The Greasy Pole

The Greasy Pole

 

One of ego’s greatest tricks is to present to us a greasy pole to climb. One that promises much, in particular happiness and a sense of having finally made it!

It lies, for our pole of choice is an illusion, one that doesn’t really exist within the Divine scheme of things known as the Queendom/Kingdom of God in Judaeo/Christian parlance. Please let me explain.

Today I heard some news regarding two of my ex-teaching colleagues from Northern Ireland, both devout Christians who have just passed through major health scares.

Tony, a PhD historian used to be in the same dysfunctional Christian sect as me during his early spiritual sojourn. A highly intelligent man, he used to play the drums as we hypnotised ourselves into a sense of awe and detachment during our Charismatic sing songs. Having repressed deep Calvinistic tendencies, Tony finally had enough of the free and easy stuff, moving on to refocus on his teaching career in a local High School. Quickly rising through the ranks he finally achieved his dream job a few years back by becoming the Headmaster of the school, a seemingly fitting place for such a scholarly figure.

I haven’t spoken to Tony for over 10 years, yet today I heard from an old Irish acquaintance that Tony has retired following triple by-pass heart surgery. A sufferer of high blood pressure throughout his teaching career, Tony was  a certainty waiting to happen. The greasy pole usually ignores medical advice.

James, oddly enough was also a PhD, this time in Modern Languages. A lovely man, I have to say, one who avoided confrontation and was nice to everyone, his niceness interpreted as a manifestation of his steady Baptist faith. I remember James fondly, for he carefully navigated my nervous son Zac through the terrors of his dreaded French oral. Anyway, James was perceived by his fellow staff as the cleverest guy on staff, being asked each year by a succession of intellectually inferior headmasters to give the speaker the traditional vote of thanks on speech days! James, I reckon, used big words that not even the distinguished speaker could understand, as they smiled and acknowledged the joke intended by the profundity of the scholars vocabulary.

Again I haven’t spoken to James in over a decade. After my sudden departure from all things educational back in 2004, James conscientiously played the staff development game, rising to the ‘rank’ of Vice-Principal, the position where one does all the work whilst the headmaster basks in the subsequent limelight. Today I heard that James has also retired following a massive stroke a while back, one that he was lucky to survive. I wish him well in his convalescence and future pursuits.

So what is one to make of it all. Well I reckon that both guys were not really teachers but rather gifted men destined for a life in the higher levels of academia – both professor material perhaps in their chosen fields. In other words they had somehow ended up climbing the greasy poles, that would ultimately result in near fatal slides into retirement. Both men were God-fearers, as we say in Northern Ireland, yet may the fear of God have led to overwork and taking on pressures that are ultimately unbearable. May I suggest that our educational systems thrive on the self-sacrifice of such devoted men.

Yet, let us take a step back and consider why we climb our greasy poles of choice in the first place.

Well, at first we reckon that we can get to the top, given the required effort and dedication. The top of the pole beckons with promises of utopian fulfilment. Yet, even for the chosen few who manage to claw or bluff their way to the top, the summit is not as satisfying as it suggested. In other words, they have been taken for a ride! But by whom you may ask!

Let me suggest that there are two forces at work on our tortuous climb to the top.

1) Our own ego

2) The collective ego of the tribe in which the greasy totem pole is pitched.

Ego, as I define it, is our wounded psyche-soul, the ‘I am’ interface with our space-time surroundings. Due to the withdrawal of unconditional love and acceptance post conception and early infancy, our ego’s sense of inadequacy and rejection fervently seeks the holy grail of being loved. The greasy poles presented to us promise to grant us this sense of ‘OKness’, this sense of being whole. If we can reach the pinnacle of our pole of choice, surely it signals that we are worthy of love, by peers and more importantly the original parental withdrawers of total acceptance. Many climb the greasy pole to appease or prove their parents wrong, and ego is the sponsor of choice. ‘I’ll show them.’ resonates in the darkest caverns of our being, the echo-chambers where the voices of parental rejection bounce of our walls of pain. Our our journey upwards ego will be right behind us, like some frenzied personal trainer, who won’t take no for an answer. Indeed the fear of rejection by this driven inner voice just makes things more frantic as we clamber over others to reach our desired goal. The greasy pole is no respecter of persons.

Any group of people who regularly meet for a common purpose, be it a commercial, cultural or psycho-spiritual take on the characteristics of a tribe. As we know all tribes require a chief, who to be loved, only to be eventually hated, as well as a stock of willing victims for sacrificial purposes. Often the chief fulfills the role of collective victim as they fall from their often dizzy heights, only to be replaced by the next in line, who are willing to make the final push for supremacy and Self worth. The failings of the group climb are projected onto the departed CEO who has finally got their comeuppance. Such tribes appear to take on a collective mind of their own. They too operate out of a sense of rejection, driven along by fear of being irrelevant and ultimately unloved. Many of us who individually struggle with Self-acceptance, often join a tribe whose collective ego strength appears to be a safer pair of hands, ones that will surely carry us to the heights of fulfillment and acceptance. May I respectfully suggest that many faith groups also operate at this subliminal level of recruitment. To find Jesus, Yahweh, Allah or Enlightenment is the designated pole summit. ‘Climb with us and you’ll get there’ is the pervasive, hypnotic invitation addressed to our personal sense of inadequacy. Let’s face it, much religious activity is pole climbing, particularly the subtly deceptive ministry games that are played with hallowed frenzy. Our tribal life often comes to an end when we reach a place on the pole and fall off. Appearing as a somewhat tragic waste this momentous detachment is often the first step in authentic Self discovery and the healing embrace of Divine Love.

Yes, pole climbing can be dangerous for our health. Best jump off now and discover that Divine Love operates on the earthed lowlands of  the human psyche, that place of freedom where we remain untouched by the manipulation of ego, both individual and collective. The Nazarene’s nailing to a Roman pole was a message to us all – the pole is the place of death; the grave, our lowest point, the womb of a new beginning.

May Tony and James both enjoy the healing balm of Divine Love in their forced retirements, the poleless landscape where human spirits run free.

PS. Since writing this post I’ve heard that James has passed away. He died on the operating table when undergoing a major heart operation. Such a waste of a kind and talented man.

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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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Heading back

Heading Back

Well, it’s nearly upon me. My unavoidable return to my home town of Ballybrigg that is, after having lived in the relative psycho-spiritual freedom of Lincoln, England for the last 5 years. After escaping the religion-political tribal mix that permeates my old homeland, I’m heading back to attend my wee sister’s wedding, an amazing tale in itself that I’ll share with you all some time.

I guess it’s a bit like a ex-combatant returning to the battlefield that scared him for life. The wounds are healed to a large extent but the memories still remain. At times my previous life in Northern Ireland seems like a dream, at other times it appears in nightmare form, though thankfully these nocturnal replays are now few and far between. I’ll meet up with a few safe friends and relatives, eat, drink and be merry at the wedding and observe how my body feels in the somewhat claustrophobic environs of Ballybrigg, the town where nothing seems to change as the locals happily sleep walk through life.

My wee son Ben is buried there in a municipal graveyard on the outskirts of town. I guess I will go pay him a visit and shed a tear for a life shortened by the mystery of cot-death. Standing on the wind-swept hillside of the Irish burial ground will bring back many memories. My prayer over his little white coffin as I committed him to the God of my 1984 belief system. The handful of Irish dirt that I through on his lowered coffin, reminding me of the fickleness and transience of this space-time existence.

Of course in hindsight I see that Ben’s short life and unexpected death proved to be the painful catalyst for my escape from my sect of choice. Without the tragic events of that cold, January afternoon, I wouldn’t be sitting today in this English coffee shop and writing about my impending return to my homeland; like many inhabitants of Ballybrigg, I would never have left the cultural whirlpool of evangelical religious belief and political smugness.

I’ll be visiting my old family home that has been rented out to a lovely lady called Janet. Apparently the garage is crammed full of my old furniture and stuff that men tend to accumulate over the years. The ping-pong table where my son Zac and I spent many hours, honing his skills for competitive tournament play. The tables and chairs that were the focal point of our dining room, where we regularly worked our way through the pain of religious burn out over Zan’s beautiful home-cooked meals. The memories will come flooding in but the time has come in the Divine plan, for me to return and face my old haunts.

Life is so full of circles. Perhaps, as my Eastern friends suggest, existence itself is one big circle. Anyway, most of us usually have to return to the place of previous joys and pain in order to recognise how much we’ve changed and to what extent we’ve been healed and grown closer to the Light.

So, if you are the praying type I’d deeply appreciate your prayers for a ‘successful’ trip. For those of you who’re into healing energies, please send as much as possible. My short time in Ballybrigg ought to be interesting. Hopefully, I’ll spot one like the Son Of Man walking with me in my psycho-spiritual, Irish version of the ‘Fiery Furnace’.

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The 'S' Word

The ‘S’ Word

 

Let’s face it. Christians tend to be slightly obsessive about their ‘S’ words. I can understand their fascination with the word Saviour even though the Nazarene never actually applied it to Himself. The ‘S’ word I wish to tackle today is Sin. Please let me reassure my readers who aren’t big into sin that I’m not about to bludgeon you or condemn you in what follows. You can rest easy for my old Bible bashing days are well and truly over. No, rather I want to free the term out from its religious wolves clothing and look at it with a cool and hopefully rational mind.

For religious or spiritual devotees there lie two great temptations along the Way. We can either unknowingly make sin, or the fearful avoidance of it the focus of our faith, whilst claiming the very opposite or air-brush it our of our belief system altogether by believing that it doesn’t exist in the Oneness of all.

Both are pitfalls that multitudes of believers or alternative spiritual seekers fall into on a fairly regular basis. Before I go on, I’d better show my spiritual hand by declaring that I believe Divine Love to be the over-riding Reality upon which we are designed to focus. Such a Love does and will have its way for communion with its created offspring, frail desire crazed humanity.

So what is this sin which has launched a fleet of brutal condemning sermons down the millennia? Well, the Aramaic term hataha, as used by Yeshua is rooted in the world of archery. It was shouted by an attendant when an archer missed the target in an archery competition – it also implies that the archer isn’t to fall into despair but instead take another shot. The word can also imply a wrong choice at a road junction – one has sinned when the wrong or inappropriate path is chosen. This certainly leads us away from a morality based meaning as adopted by most religious believers.

Let me dare to explain this concept of sin as a human malfunction, a seemingly natural tendency to miss the target of unconditional love, the very essence of Divine Source itself. In psychological terms may we interpret sin as the default setting of ego, our fear driven protector that always lies close to hand. Throughout religious history sin and evil have been theological bedfellows. Of course we have a common perception of evil that is a world away from the original Aramaic term. For Yeshua and his listeners evil or bisha   suggested a fruit-growing analogy. It was used for fruit that was unripe or alternatively rotten. In other words, the fruit was out of sync with its true programme for ripeness. This explanation can help us understand the puzzling story of Yeshua supposedly cursing a fig tree that hadn’t born fruit at the appropriate time. Seen in this light ego always seems to misinterpret our circumstances within time and space, fuelled by its paranoia of impending doom and destruction.

So what am I saying. Well, I reckon that sin and its twin evil are functions of our ego. This ego or wounded psyche-soul was, in its original state, a gift for protection in our space-time, an early warning system of threat to our physical survival. How did it end up skewed and malfunctioning? Well I believe that the traumas that we all experience in early childhood and beyond have caused havoc with our original psychic default settings. The withdrawal of unconditional love by our nurturers was a massive shock to our developing sense of Self and security, resulting in an extremely over active and war footing based psyche. This fall is, I believe, what lies behind the Eden myth – ‘hath God said….’ is the doubt that enters the human psyche as we are wounded by those who hereto have been our protectors and benefactors. All inappropriate acts of hitting back at perceived enemies stem from the our broken or dysfunctional ego, who has replaced Divine Love based on the early evidence of our infant or indeed womb-based experiences.

Is there any way of escape from this state of hyperactive dysfunction or sin?

I believe so.

The Nazarene came to restore and realign our psycho-spiritual default settings by welcoming ego back into the Oneness of Divine Love.

More to follow.

 

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Two In One

Two In One

‘Experientially, we’re all both paradoxically unsaved and saved.

Just depends on whether we’re presently tuning into the fear fuelled illusions of ego or the perceptive inner Voice of Spirit Breath.

A duality within non duality if you like.’

Dylan Morrison

I don’t know about you, but some days there seems to be a lot of little me‘s kicking around inside this person that I call Me.

No wonder we get stressed out as our inner selves fight and argue like a bunch of  schoolyard kids fighting over the last candy bar.

Often our inner world reflects our outer world and all its conflicts. When we appear to have enemies without we have enemies within and vice versa. Bizarrely it appears that there are no boundaries as far as relational tension is concerned.

So what comes first? The outer or the inner?

May I suggest that our inner community of little sub-personalities birth or attract our outer sources of conflict. Please let me explain.

Our internal family of me‘s comprises the ‘ego’, that collection of little defenders, linked to our autonomic fight, flight or freeze nervous system. They perceive themselves to be the protectors of an illusory self that doesn’t really exist. These little guys or gals aren’t evil, just highly dysfunctional, misinterpreting the signal from our outer world that bombard them on a daily basis. Like some gang of Japanese soldiers who believe World War 2 to be still raging in the jungles of the pacific islands.

I reckon that this little inner defense force was recruited in infancy and early childhood when we encountered trauma for the first time, usually the withdrawal of unconditional love from our parents or other trusted adults. But that is a topic for another day.

So where does that leave those of us who claim we have been ‘saved’ by the person and mission of Yeshua bar Yosef, known in Christian lingo as Jesus Christ. Well let me first say that there are many facets to this restoration or ‘salvation’ to use a much overworked and clichéd religious word, dripping with much misinterpretation. Whatever this experience entails, it is indeed most certainly that, an experience. Anything that only resides in the conceptual grey matter of theological argument is not what the Nazarene was all about. Our restoration or realignment with Divine Source must be an experience, something that I believe we can feel in the caverns of our inner world. Now of course many will recoil from subjective experience, choosing instead to place their trust in the doctrinal statements of a head based faith.

Such a retreat from the subjective experience of Divine Love would be an anathema to the Nazarene and his Jewish contemporaries. The God connection, whatever it is, must, if anything, bring a subjective realignment to our total selves; body, psyche and spirit, including our central nervous systems.

Simply put the Nazarene welcomes and reconnects our ego gang of misguided defenders with the Source of All, the one referred to by him as Abba. The experience of homecoming is a standing down of our ego army, an acknowledgement that the illusory war is over and that it’s safe to lay down the weapons of self-destruction.We awaken to a new reality; that All is well and shall be well. Nothing, not even the perceived threats of our inner or outer worlds can separate us from the embrace and sustenance of Divine Love.

Ego, in all its fragmented parts is welcomed into the Home of Divine Love to meet the One that it claimed to protect for all those angst ridden years – namely our true Self, that spark of the Divine Fire that is truly us. Under the guidance of a reformed Will the two inner communities can grow into One. This is the essence of space-time salvation or wholeness healing.

Of course the stored memories of conflict can still reactivate false alarms, causing our ego components to man the psychological ramparts but still, things are different. We can quickly return to barracks realising that the threat is a phantom threat, a trick of a mind that defended itself for many decades.

So paradoxically we are dualistic creatures, often switching between the default settings of ego and Spirit. Yet as we grow in the Way of the Nazarene, we shall see that in Reality All is One, the Presence in which we live and move and have our being.

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Neutered Saviour

Neutered Saviour

Human culture has a great way of disposing of one of its greatest threats.

Not content to execute the Nazarene prophet at the drop of a religio-politico hat, the world of men has come up with a double-barrelled tactic post his claimed resurrection.

Simply put, culture either makes him into a transcendent Other, One who fits easily into the  tempting, but ultimately unsatisfying, world of religion, or alternatively, covers him with such pseudo-sickly sweetness that nothing really changes in the power structures of mankind.

Let’s face it, human culture loves religion. It uses it for all sorts of endeavours all of which keep things ticking along as they’ve always been. The Nazarene has become a Lord of all earthly lords, one of us, if only a little bit more benign. Taking his place at the top of our heavenly-earthly power structures he is a threat to no man. Just an occasional nod of the head and the continuance of sacred hoop jumping seems to satisfy him. Religion has adopted the Nazarene as its figurehead and in so doing has made him an idol, one easily controlled  to which the devout masses will bow down and continue to sleep walk their way through life.

The other tactic of human society is to embalm the Nazarene in a treacle of sickly sweet sentimentality. Forgotten for much of the year he is allowed out at Christmas and Easter by our largely secularised society and looked upon with pity, before being smothered in the insincerity of a world only to willing to emasculate both him and his message. The poor, unfortunate victim who was just too good to be true for this cut throat world of frenzied skewed desire and its violent undercurrent. We sit him in the corner of our consciousness for the hallowed few weeks, occasionally turning our heads to gaze at naivety in the flesh. Like some sort of rapidly declining grandfather, we momentarily sent him our flashes of sympathy as we prepare for the next round of ego battles. ‘Too innocent for this world,’ we patronisingly conclude with our quickly forgotten flicker of admiration and pseudo-affection.

Thankfully, the risen Nazarene doesn’t play our religious or sentimental cultural games. Echoing through time and reverberating in the Silence of our inner Being, they expose us to the Darkness of the human condition and awaken us to radical but ultimately worthwhile solution that leads to Divine realignment and contentment. No the Nazarene isn’t neutered by a long shot. Let’s go within and encounter him in all his wild freedom.

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The Gift

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The Flow

The Flow

For many people life is just one big long struggle. If that’s true then is it the way it was meant to be? Is such a struggle inevitable, even for those who claim to have contact with the Divine Source, the Creator of the whole human show? Are all our ups and downs self-generated or part of the Divine blueprint for our lives. In other words, is all vanity of vanities as the supposedly wise writer of Ecclesiastes claimed.

Well yes and no.

There are certainly levels of frustration experienced within our space-time existence. Yet are they necessary to the extent that we usually experience them? I believe not.

For many of our difficulties arise from our psychological attachments to things, people, and, dare I say it, beliefs. Let me explain.

The psyche-soul, our somewhat dysfunctional interface with the temporal world of form, is a very insecure little beast. Having believed itself to be detached from Divine Source and its Unconditional Love it isn’t a happy bunny. It’s an anxiety junkie that needs a regular fix of pseudo-security, a sense that it is not alone.

To the rescue come along the apparent life savers of material goods, social position, group identity and every so often, ideological belief. The immediate effect is pretty potent as a new sense of safety surrounds us from the nakedness of our internal being. The only trouble though is that in return, such attachments demand our loyalty; once welcomed into our psyche-soul they set up camp for good.

All growth is change and unsurprisingly attachments are not great fans of change. They have taken up a subliminally controlling stake in our sense of well-being and when the issue of letting them go is raised, they fight back with all the fury of a lover spurned. Only when we attempt to move on from our dependency on them do our attachments reveal themselves for what they really are. They are not after all our friends and allies but our masters, those who pull our psychic strings.

The Nazarene talked often of death and dying as a prerequisite to life. Like the Buddha before Him, Yeshua bar Yosef told it like it was. To enter the Queendom of God, that quality of life that we were destined to enjoy, a death was first required, namely the death of our psychological attachments. For the rich young ruler it was his  store of cash. For the bed ridden man at the pool of  Bethesda it was his paralysis. For the Scribes and Pharisees it was their religious expertise and its accompanying power plays. For Mary it was Yeshua Himself.

The letting go of such attachments is extremely painful but ultimately the greatest break for freedom that we can experience in this maze of psychological props. For on the other side of our screaming ego lies a Self, one designed to live free and secure in the River of Divine Love. Once we have passed through these mini Dark Nights Of The Soul, we discover life in all its fullness and flow.

A new buoyancy floods into the inner tanks of our being, lifting and carrying us through this inherent but ultimately unreal vale of tears. A new ease begins to oil the joints of our existence as we travel through life free of its glittering attachments, and their sure-fire promises of psychological protection.

As we journey through life Divine Love will bring us face to face with each of our secret attachments. One by one we have the opportunity to let go and find a new spiritual surge flood our being. In doing so we shall ditch many of our frustrations and self-created sufferings.

 

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Exhaustion

Exhaustion

We all get exhausted from time to time.

It’s the body’s way of telling us that something’s up; the early warning system that all is not well in our psycho-spiritual world.

Guilt and shame lead us to exhaustion, hoping that it will be the death of us.

Yet, exhaustion can be a door to an awakening, a whole new look at what we’re about and where we’re going. Please let me explain.

Lurking behind exhaustion there often lies a dysfunctional relationship, one into which we’re pouring huge amounts of our psychic and physical energy. A Black-Hole of sorts, that will never be satisfied.

The result of such a flow of personal energy is  a lack of Self-Awareness. We’ve decreased our Self in order to enhance the other. Disguised as devoted love, this promotion of the other to the detriment of our own psycho-spiritual well-being is a one way trip to a personal hell, one fired with confusion and despair.

Thankfully, Divine Love has other plans for us. Created as an energy spark of the Fire of Spirit, we have a most precious pedigree. WE are not slaves, either to our condemning ego nor the misperceptions of others. In the midst of mess we can hold our head high once we realise the Womb from which we sprang. We have divine blood running through the veins of our Being. We are only here because of Divine source, with our own scripted Divine Purpose.

Of course many of us, get waylaid at times, swamped by the sea of human demands that press for our attention, often in the guise of loving our neighbour. I’m afraid that those of us of a religious or spiritual bent are often the easiest targets for such misconceived interpretations of what it is to love. Egged on by the gurus of Self-sacrifice, often in an attempt to match the Love of the Nazarene, we take up our self-imposed cross, becoming door mats for our spouse, children or the psychic vampires drawn to our inner pol of life blood.

No, we’ve got it all wrong. We can only truly love others when we love our Self, recognising the priority that our Creator Source places on us his psycho-spiritual work of art. Exhausting ourselves in the frenzy of loving others is no love, but rather a form of Self-punishment and rejection.

Time perhaps to rediscover the sacred space within, where two become One. From this place of Union, this inner knowing that we matter,we set out once more to touch humanity, not as a Self-less slave but as a fellow traveller in the Divine Flow.

The energy for love comes from Love. It’s first-love is the one called You. Get this right and our physical, psychological and spiritual exhaustion will be a thing of the past.

Release the blocked energy of your Divine purpose today and show your Self some respect. Others will thank you for it.

PS. If you’ve enjoyed this post you might like to pop over and have a quick look at my  author page, containing details of my wee books ~ amzn.to/NCDf3k

x Dylan

 

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Not A Tame Lion

Not A Tame Lion

CS Lewis’ Narnia Tales have been read the world over by generations of children and parents alike.

Why?

May I humbly suggest that the iconic figure of Aslan, the great Lion is the great draw for adult and child alike. Lions are like that. Majestic, strong, yet unpredictable they fascinate us as long as we’re not to close to them for we may inadvertently become lunch.

Aslan, has come from the Great Emperor beyond the seas, the Transcendent Other from who all the worlds of  space-time have flowed. He bridges heaven and Earth, revealing the Divine desire for communion and realignment. Intimate, yet brutally honest with those who serve him, Aslan is an icon that draws us toward the Mystery of Divine Love. And yet he is not a tame Lion, good yes, but not tame.

Isn’t it strange then that Lewis’ Great Lion has been adopted by evangelical Christianity as a symbol of Yeshua, bar Yosef, the Nazarene prophet-teacher, known in common religious parlance as ‘The Christ’. Forgive me, but I sense a great irony lurking around this adoption of the Lion to push the standard evangelical message.

Why?

Well, I reckon that evangelical Christianity and its many offshoots are actually very safe. Please let me explain.

The obsession of much of our evangelical take on the life of the Nazarene, is certainty. Countless books have been written to shore up the historicity of the Galilean holy man. poor old Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian has been quoted to death by Christian apologists over the centuries.

Evangelicals are certain that Yeshua’s death and resurrection can be formulated as a substitutionary atonement for sin, that dysfunction of human sin that has separated us now and possibly for ever from Divine Love.

Aslan converts are certain that everything can be seen in black and white; one either surrenders their life to the evangelical Christ or remains a dupe of the Devil, the antithesis of all that Christ stands for.

Certainty has subtly become the god of the evangelical rather than the person of the Nazarene. He has been cleaned up, shaken down and repackaged by Modern scientific reasoning. There is no room for Mystery in our simplistic presentation of the Christ.

The Great Lion has been shaved of his unpredictability, caged and put on show in Sunday morning auditoriums all around the world. No longer allowed to roar, the Lion has to express itself through the texts of Holy Writings, carefully explained by those who have no great taste for his Lionish ways.

Yes the domestication of the Great Aslan has well and truly taken place. The Nazarene has been well and truly put in his sacred place, only allowed to give an occasional nod of approval to our religious rituals and practices.

May I be allowed to interpret such a shocking captivity in terms that the great Lewis penned. We, his followers, have tied the Great Lion down on our own Stone Table of interpretation, producing the knife of our sacrificial violence before dispatching him into the coffin of our belief.

Thank God for the Deeper Magic! The shocking but liberation Truth that Divine Love in all its manifestations cannot lie buried under the weight of  orthodox or heretical theology.

Today, the Great Lion is shaking his mane and doing his thing.

The ascended Yeshua isn’t tame but he is good.

Best dive into the Mystery and try to keep up.

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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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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.

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The Nazarene

The Nazarene

People wonder why after all my experiences, both good and bad within evangelical Christianity that I don’t ditch the Nazarene for good and just become a deist or theist. Some suggest that I should become a Buddhist, Hindu or New Age guru and have done with it.

I must admit that some days, having just encountered the harshness and judgement of a supposed Jesus fan, I do consider taking such an existential leap. It’s very difficult at times hanging in there with a somewhat dysfunctional gang of folk who’re toxic to one’s psyche-soul. And yet when I’m about to jump, Yeshua usually pops into view, in the hidden caverns of my mind. One also alone and wounded by the religious barbs of believers in the God of Israel, the Nazarene stands and calls me aside.

‘Now you understand my brother, now you understand’.

I can’t leave one who has been so misunderstood and misrepresented by the tribe who go by his name. Thankfully the Galilean isn’t franchised to those dysfunctional expressions of the Christian faith that kill through their words and pseudo-superiority. Yeshua bar Yosef isn’t contained in a belief system, no matter what the guardians of cultural and theological boxes tell us.

No, the Nazarene is free and offers his followers freedom from ego that many haven’t yet taken him up on. The ‘taking up of his cross’ isn’t some macabre act or death wish but a rapturous call to freedom. Only ego suffers. As we  let it fall into the ground and die, we shall find a new Self step forward to take its place. The hidden treasure that’s lain buried under the topsoil of ego and its fearful ways.

The Galilean is seen by many as a quality controller, a ‘Lord’ who sits on high and keeps a beady eye on our religious observances. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Spirit Breath of the back to life Jewish rabbi is dancing among the sons and daughters of man. A liberator here to liberate, even from the oppressive power of his supposed religion, and all others to boot.

For many within Christendom, Yeshua is the blood sacrifice that paid for our sinly dysfunction. This in my earlier Evangelical incarnation was my raison d’être. I owed ‘this bleeding saviour’ the haunted one who looked at me suffering and sad, hanging on his Roman gibbet. ‘It should have been me up there,’ I reasoned, following the standard Evangelical line in disciple motivation. Claiming to victoriously deal with guilt my take on the Nazarene’s brutal demise would only increase guilt in the hidden depths of my being, driving me to ever increasing levels of religious ego devotion and zeal.

Today I no longer follow such a path, the one that leads to a debt paid Calvary. Instead I see the Nazarene teaching the masses on the flower filled hills of the Galilee. ‘You’ve heard it said, but I say unto you….’ brings me hope and new life. I guess the Nazarene is still speaking these words to his followers but who is listening, in our modern sermon saturated marketplace of seminars and DVDs. In short, I still identify with this Jewish son of Yosef, son of God, mainly because of his authentic spirituality, one that pierces through the ego defenses of my religious and social self.

Certainly the death of the Nazarene is radically important in its declaration of what God is not. Not a violent Supreme Being, one obsessed by blood and back payments, but One who has experienced mankind’s scapegoat experience as the wounded Lamb of Innocence. The bloody Roman execution of Yeshua shocks us out of our cultural God view and into a new, upside-down awareness that our morality systems are really killers in disguise.

For many of my friends within Mind, Body, Spirit circles may I respectively and humbly suggest that Yeshua is something more than an ascended avatar of the Divine. A manifestation of Divine Love and Wisdom for sure, but one who uniquely revealed the hidden nature of our righteous violence and its religio-politico networks. One roused from the grave in a way that no other spiritual Master appears to have been; a resurrection authentication by Divine Love of his character and message, one that would explode the lie of morality for all time.

So, in following the Nazarene may I suggest that we don’t follow a belief system, but a Living Presence, one that longs to walk with us along the psycho-spiritual lanes of life’s highway. Boxless and free Yeshua bar Yosef can well and truly look after himself without our help. He needs neither security cover nor fervent crusades to spread his touch of psycho-spiritual liberation and wholeness. All that’s required is an honest an open heart and even that’s given. Such hearts are often found in the most unusual of places.

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