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Recognizing the Nature of Negative Emotions
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:51 pm
When mystery traditions speak of negative emotions as being problematic, such as anger, hatred or lust, it is often heard as though the person who feels these things is bad or that something is wrong with a person for feeling or experiencing a negative thought or emotion. But this is not the case. A mystery tradition is merely saying that the emotion, or thought is problematic, and it is good to notice the problematic quality of these thoughts and emotions, so that we can enact the practices and strategies given to generate those experiences in consciousness that facilitate a more enlightened experience and an experience that is more pleasurable and that makes our lives happier and more rewarding. We often feel so identified with a thought or emotion that it is hard to see this clearly.
It seems as though these emotions each behave a certain way in consciousness, as though they can be personified.
If we were to think of our mind as our home, and the thoughts and emotions that move through it as house guests, perhaps this will enable us to sort out which emotions and thoughts are the better, more fun and interesting house guests. Some house guests are entertaining and fun, but demand a lot of our attention, and aren’t concerned with what time we have to get up in the morning for work, whether we have chores to do or not, but always want to have fun and draw us away from those things that help make our lives practically function. Lust and sloth are emotions that are akin to such house guests, concerned only with their version of a good time, they can be fun to hang out with, but are demanding of our attention, they ignore our requests to go away and give us reprieve when we need a break and care nothing for our responsibilities, usually making a mess of our home and giving no opportunity to clean it up.
Anger, hatred and jealousy are akin to house guests who demand our attention constantly, command us constantly to get things for them and do things for them, ignore any request we might have and push away any needs we might have and never give us an opportunity to get a word in edgewise. They demand service as though your home is an expensive hotel.
Greed is akin to that house guest who wants to be constantly served, but pretends to be a nice house guest and pretends to be looking out for your interests by doing so. Greed wants to tell you that he’s really helping you “look out for your investment” when you clean his room to his liking, and helping you “get better at cooking,” by preparing his meals exactly the way he likes and so on and so forth. Greed is very much like Anger, Hatred and Jealousy, when you get down to it, though he convinces you he is serving you. Meanwhile you're to too busy serving him to get your own work done.
Notice also how polite the house guests Joy, Peace and Love are. They are a pleasure to be around, they listen when you speak, and are excellent conversationalists themselves, always having something interesting and insightful to say. Not only do they allow you to do your work, but they will often help you with it and make your work more enjoyable by doing so. They leave when asked to, and come over when invited, always bringing gifts.
But Anger, Hatred, Jealousy, Greed and Lust are demanding house-guests who beat up and often kick these wonderful house-guests out of OUR house, as though it were their house, and then commence to take possession of our home, our minds, as though they are entitled to it, treating our minds like a cheap motel.
The situation is quite ludicrous, that we would allow house guests to behave so much like cretins as these negative emotions do and put up with it for very long without tossing them out on their ears, but when we personify negativity in this way, we can see how often we allow such house guests to take possession of the home of our minds and keep company with strange and demanding creatures.
With this metaphor we can consider the process of purifying our minds from a non-judgmental perspective and realize that a person who feels a thing is no more being judged than the home owner with a difficult house-guest. We would merely remind, it IS YOUR HOME and you can call the police any time you want (the light presence).
May the light enter us and purify us of insolent spirits!
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:36 pm
What a wonderful way to express our relationship with our emotions! One reason our problematic emotions can wreak so much havoc is that we tend to think of them as inherently part of us.
This is a marvelous way to encourage people to see their emotional states with a little distance, a little patience and
a little humor.
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:13 pm
This is my first post on the forum, and I hope what I write will not be taken as an insult. I am merely adding my two cents based on introspective thought I have on sin.
Phillip wrote: When mystery traditions speak of negative emotions as being problematic, such as anger, hatred or lust, it is often heard as though the person who feels these things is bad or that something is wrong with a person for feeling or experiencing a negative thought or emotion. But this is not the case.
Although I agree with much of what Phillip wrote after this, for it is true we must be patient with ourselves, and we must be careful how we judge ourselves – negativity towards unwanted emotions will only increase the negativity, and we must know that we are not our thoughts – still, I must say I am not sure I agree with his statement above. It could be, neophyte that I am, that I merely misunderstand, and I would welcome any corrections to my judgment.
We are viewed guilty not because we are our thoughts, but because we make the thoughts our own. Even more, guilt is imputed because we like the thoughts of greed, and lust, and anger and the rest. Sometimes we do, even if very briefly, practice a form of metanoia, but more often than not, it seems we latch on to the thoughts once again, continuing in this process of liking negative emotions (sin) and repentance. Even sometimes we will practice a virtue opposed to the sin. But, as was said, it is a continuing process. Of course, Rome was not built in a day, and we must have patience. But the process is one of falling, getting up, running, over and over again precisely, it seems to me, because we are not perfected in goodness. So not only do we like negative emotions (and if we did not like them, we would never open the door to them when they knocked), but we have yet to become of singular mind, always intent on goodness. Thus, we can say we are sinners, and in need of mercy.
Admitting ones sinful state is not a cause of over-emotional sorrow, but a simple fact – a fact that can turn into joy after we detach ourselves from negative emotions, and attach ourselves to what is good and virtuous.
Forgive me if I spoke out of place! Peace and blessings.
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:08 am
Well, I would only comment that guilt and shame are negative emotions as well, and in my experience, they underhandedly feed the negative emotions they are responding to. Judgement, self judgement or judgement of another seems in general to be one of the most painful and displeasurable emotions I have felt, and definately keep me from unity with God... in self judgement, I'm not worthy!
I also notice that thoughts of self-judgement and shame and guilt keep my attention on negativity and myself. I simply can't shift into thoughts of God when I'm busy judging myself or praising myself. I have very little time on this earth, and I must ask myself which thoughts and emotions I wish to occupy my time and energy with.
May El Elyon be praised with our every thought and deed!
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:57 pm
Greetings and welcome Moronacles!
You have not spoken out of turn in the least friend – there is certainly room in Gnostic Christianity for diverse views, we need only be kind and respectful of one another’s views and experiences, and your post is certainly very kind.
There is no doubt that in the surface consciousness we seem to enjoy negativity, in the sense of habitual patterns to which we cling. It is rooted in a general insecurity produced by the bestial nature and egoistic condition. In speaking of “the judgment” in the Gospel of St. John, the third chapter, Master Yeshua points to this tendency. Yet, in terms of the judgment the same passage places the judgment within ourselves – the Christos is not judging, God is not judging, but it is we who judge ourselves, we who ascribe guilt.
In the Gospel of Mary that appears in the Nag Hammadi the Master says “sin does not exist,” but that we “create sin by mingling as in adultery.” The implication is that sin is the result of misidentification of ourselves, a false conception of ourselves; hence, our cleaving to name and form, and to personal history, rather than recognizing and realizing the Soul of Light in us, Christ in us.
Where is the appearance of “sinner” and “saint,” virtue and vice? This is in the surface consciousness, and it is in the egoistic condition, dualistic consciousness; in the deeper part of our being the play of saint and sinner does not exist. Indeed, our inmost being transcends the dualism of saint and sinner, and we may say that in the inmost part of our soul we have an innate unity with God and Godhead, the Source of All-Being.
From a Gnostic point of view, the error is our identification with name and form, and personal history, and the misdirection of desire-energy that follows. Yet, in truth, we are meta-dimensional beings and the body-mind complex is akin to the “tip of the iceberg,” as it were, the greater part of our being and consciousness transcending this material incarnation – we are, indeed, in the world, but not of the world. If we can recognize and realize this, and learn to go within and live within, then the play of saint and sinner becomes suspended – there is Divine Grace.
Indeed! I have an existence in the temporal dimension, in this name and form; yet I also have an existence beyond this name and form in the eternal realm, in Christ. The question is: With which do I identify myself? In the spiritual life and practice I seek to dissolve my self-identity with the limited mortal name and form, and in place of it to generate a new self-identity with fully evolved and enlightened being – Christ. This is called the practice of “divine pride” or “spiritual self-worth,” which is coupled with “spiritual humility” – seeking to look and see the Christos within all beings, and a dynamic surrender to the Holy Spirit who brings this self-transformation to its fruition, accomplishing the Great Work.
In this process it is useful to let go of negativity and vices, and to cultivate virtues and positive thought, speech and action; hence, to seek to live in a Christ-like way. If I find that I miss the mark, I must simply adjust my aim to hit the mark, and do so again and again until there is a mastery of the mind, heart and life. It is, indeed, a process, for we are a life process – we are not fixed or static beings, but we are fluid flowing being, akin to streams of mind, consciousness or soul. The appearance of saint and sinner may arise, but in truth we are neither the “saint” nor the “sinner,” but rather we are the ground from which these appearances arise – the bornless nature underlying all appearances. It is this, ultimately, that we wish to recognize and realize, the Bornless One, the Risen Christ.
This underlying principle of the bornless nature within and beyond the play of saint and sinner we call “tzaddik” in our tradition, which means “righteous one.” The appearance of saint and sinner are like thesis and antithesis, and tzaddik is the synthesis; the human one who is neither saint nor sinner, but is the image and likeness of the True Light, God Most High – the Human One of Light revealed by Yeshua Messiah (as well as by other great masters).
In my experience of the journey I have not found identifying myself with the “sinner” useful to the generation or higher consciousness or Self-realization in Christ; it only serves as a source of bondage to me. Likewise, I have not found striving to be the “saint” useful either, as cast in the model of dualism the saint must necessarily gives way to the sinner, and is the same bondage, the same ignorance. Rather, I have found that I must look to that which transcends the dualistic play of saint and sinner, to the human one, to the tzaddik, as personified by Lord Yeshua and Lady Mary.
In the midst of the arising appearance of saint and sinner is there not a Living Presence that is the Silent Witness beyond whatever appearances arises? This presence of awareness is the “tzaddik” in us, the Light-presence and Light-power of the Human One; and cultivating this, identifying ourselves with this, we are empowered in the Way of Transformation, empowered for the mastery of the mind, heart and life.
As you say, “Rome was not built in a day,” and neither is the Great Transformation accomplished in a day – it is a process within the realm of becoming; yet this process is based on the awareness of our innate perfection in Christ, in the Pleroma of Light, the realm of being. This being and becoming are inseparable, yet it is to perfection of being (Christ) that I must cleave in this process, and in so doing radical leaps in evolution are possible, radical experiences of psychic and spiritual metanoia. In truth, in this way an experience of “thunderbolt enlightenment” is possible, a radical and instantaneous experience of Divine Illumination (Divine Gnosis).
Of course, here we are speaking of a teaching and method for the attainment of Christ Consciousness, and there are many different teachings and methods that can lead to attainment – the teaching and method I’m speaking about is certainly not the only one. For example, I can see how the view of being the sinner could produce a state of openness and sensitivity (humility) to the Anointed and Mother Spirit, and through reliance on Grace facilitate the experience of Divine Grace – I can see how this might work for some individuals. Only in my own case I have not found that such a method works very well for me, but rather another teaching and method of the spiritual life has been necessary to bring me into the Gnostic experience; hence, the Way of Transformation, founded on the Way or Perfection. In the end, it is all a question of what facilitates direct spiritual and mystical experience for the individual, and perhaps facilitates their Self-realization in Christ Consciousness. That’s pretty much the measure of any view, teaching or method among Gnostics: does it facilitate the spiritual progress of the individual? If it does, then it’s good and true, and it is “right” for the individual.
This reflects how there can be central teachings and methods within a Gnostic tradition, and yet a diversity of views among practitioners – one teaching or method is certainly not going to work for everyone, for we are not all the same as individuals, nor is our experience in this life the same.
In any case, this is the play of thoughts that occurred as I contemplated this subject, so I felt I’d add them to the discussion.
Again, welcome to our online community. I’m happy you felt inclined to add your thoughts – various angles of view create a richer discussion.
May the Mother Spirit lead us in the Way, Truth and Life, and accomplish the Great Work in us; Amen.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:10 pm
Greetings, Tau Malachi...
Thank you for your response. I find that when I read your posts I tend to get lost in Gnostic philosophical ideas, concepts and terms, and then suddenly you say something very practical. I am going to read what you wrote a couple of times, and see if I can get the bigger picture any clearer. Of course, I prefer, as a drill seargent of mine said many years ago, to hear/read things in "dumb grunt english"; but that's part of the growing process, I guess, to increase in comprehension.
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 4:00 pm
I was wondering if you could clarify a question or two for me, Tau Malachi, concerning what you wrote.
I find it interesting what you said about transcending the duality of saint and sinner, and of the realization of the state of a tzaddik. I was taught to believe by my spiritual mentor that a saint was someone who truly lived a natural life, while those who are yet to be considered saints are still struggling to attain a state of being natural. In this light, it would seem then that in some respects a saint, from my perspective, is somewhat similar to a tzaddik. Furthermore, a saint sees themselves not as a saint, for that would be an assumption of ones spiritual worth, and hence sin, yet in viewing themselves as a sinner they know it is by grace that they are standing where they are. And thus the attachment to the duality of saint and sinner is avoided.
So, with this in mind, although a saint, or in Gnostic terms, a tzaddik, are enlightened, it seems they are enlightened in different ways. For the saint, it is a matter of approaching the uncreated light, for in coming back to the image of God, the saint is, like God, light, and the point between the Light of Christ and the spirit and soul of the saint (as light) disappears, and God and man are co-mingled. And this light is something able to be seen physically with the eyes, and this is considered the natural state. Yet I am not sure what a “realization of Christ consciousness” (and that is what I am assuming you are referring to) is for a tzaddik. In the Gnostic tradition as you have been taught, what is “Christ Consciousness,” and how is it realized? And when ‘Light” is spoken of in these most recent posts and in others, is it something that is merely symbolic, as indicating enlightenment or the “realization”, or does Gnostic teaching encompass a physical beholding of Light? I am sure I could comprehend more if this most basic of Gnostic teachings was explained to me.
Thank you for your time, and pardon my ignorance! I realize this might be going off topic for this area of the discussion board, and I would understand if you wanted to move it to another place.
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:04 pm
Yes, in Gnostic jargon “Light” may mean a state of enlightenment or realization, and in this sense it may be metaphorical; yet, it is also literal in that light may be visibly seen to shine from a realized individual at times, though this Divine Light is beheld through the union of the exterior and interior senses. In fact, in what we call the “Gnostic and Light Transmission,” individuals may experience something akin to the image spoken of in the Transfiguration, in which a tzaddik shines with Light, the environment shines with Light, and the disciple also shines with Light. Likewise, as consciousness opens to inner dimensions we experience those dimensions as various gradations of Light, the more brilliant and self-radiant, the nearer that dimension is to the True Light, the Source or God. So the term “Light” in Christian Gnosticism is more than metaphorical, speaking directly of a quality of the Gnostic experience, one to which many can bear witness.
When we speak of Christ Consciousness, we are speaking of a higher consciousness in which a conscious unification with God and Godhead becomes possible; hence, “Self-realization in Christ.” It is a “Supernal” or “Supramental Consciousness,” beyond the mental consciousness, and it is non-dual in its nature; an experience of the One and Many (oneness and multiplicity) without contradiction – hence the capacity of this level of consciousness for the experience of unification with the Divine.
I do not know that we are necessarily speaking of a different attainment, but rather a different teachings and methods of attainment, and perhaps the teaching and methods are not so different, but rather our symbolic language is different and our meaning is much the same.
Your description of how your teacher and you are using the term saint is much like our meaning behind the term “tzaddik” or “righteous one,” for the righteous one is most truly her or himself, natural and spontaneous, as she or he is in Christ, as she or he is in God. Likewise, the tzaddik does not conceive of her or himself as a “tzaddik,” or as a realized or enlightened individual, but rather, whatever manifestation of the Divine Light might occur, it is the movement of Divine Grace with, in and through them – the tzaddik is no longer the doer, but rather the Light-presence (Christ) and the Light-power (Holy Spirit) is the doer. In the mind of the tzaddik, it is Grace that accomplishes everything; she or he is merely a practitioner of the Way, and perchance a Light-bearer.
We can put it in the following way: I am greater in God than I am in myself, and so it is with all creatures; therefore, I shall seek to be as I am in God, in the “True Light” – to the extent that I can be transparent to that Divine I Am, the Light, Love, Life and Liberty that is Christ shines with, in and through me.
In speaking of the “Way of Transformation” – the practice of spiritual self-worth and spiritual humility, I’m merely speaking of a teaching and method for a dynamic surrender to Divine Grace, one that helps to integrate fragmented consciousness and to negate the tendency to dualism, and that may create the conditions necessary for the movement of Divine Grace.
(Integral to the Way of Transformation are methods of study and contemplation, prayer and meditation, and sacred ritual; hence, the spiritual life and practice.)
To speak of the Natural State or to speak of the State of Grace is the same, for that is the original blessing in which we are conceived by the Divine (within the Divine).
I’m wondering about the sinner, for it is like the shadow cast by self-grasping, which gives rise to the greed-lust and fear-hatred that is the cause of all “sin” or “evil”; if it is a shadow, does it have any reality in the Light of Christ? I also contemplate the one who appears to arise to fight this evil inclination, who appears as the “good person” struggling against the “bad person,” for that, too, appears as the same bondage – the doer remains, and so also the law. Indeed, I’m reminded of the words of the Master, “Resist not evil” in this context, for in the midst of my resistance and my struggle I remain the doer bound by the law (cause and effect), my negative actions an iron chain and my good actions a golden chain, but all the same I am bound to the law and its fruition. It seems, one way or another, the doer must be brought into cessation or repose, suspended as from the cross. This, of course, reminds of another saying of the Master, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
The shift in self-identity is a shift from the view of oneself as the doer.
In the description of your view of the saint, it appears to communicate something very similar, if not essentially the same.
Indeed, I have a very thick Gnostic accent in my Christian tongue – I imagine it comes from being raised a Gnostic Christian!
May the Spirit of Truth illuminate us, all in the Light of Christ; Amen.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:14 pm
Hello again, Tau Malachi...pardon my persistence, but could you describe for me how the "conscious unification with God and the Godhead" is realized? For instance, it is taught in tradition when one gathers (or goes within) when the mind and heart are united, however briefly, there is a sense of elation (from what I've heard) that is experienced, which goes beyond a mental convincing of oneself that they are gathered. When such a state becomes permanent, after refinement in moral purification, if such a person is united to God after this union of mind and heart, besides the beholding of light, there is a state of ecstasy and rapture - not in the sense that a person becomes mindless, but in the sense that a person directly apprehends more fully the energies of God without discoursive thought or reasoning (and such is true theology). In what manner, from a Gnostic perspective, does conscious unification take place?
You wrote: The shift in self-identity is a shift from the view of oneself as the doer. This sounds similar to the words of another man who helped to spiritually nurture me, where he says, to paraphrase, self-identity shifts from the individual and the ego centered, to the Other, when a man is approaching noetic consciousness.
Thank you for your time!
The Holy Synthesis
Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:50 pm
Greetings, all -
What a wonderful thread, and many thanks to Phillip for such delightful images!
Might I interject another angle on this discussion? In reading Tau Malachi's last post, there was an internal "Ahhh, yes!" as I recognized in his closing words an insight that had occurred to me recently. Prior to this insight, I repeatedly had problems reconciling goodness and evil, which seemed in the philosophical sense to be co-equal and dependent one upon the other in the relative state, with the exoteric Church's assertion (influenced perhaps by Platonic thought) that there was a goodness beyond goodness that stood alone, without an opposite. This always seemed to me to be a type of sloppy thinking, a trading on an equivocation. The insight was merely this - perhaps it is the synthesis of good and evil that creates holiness. It is the merger of the notions of saint and sinner (as used in the orthodox Church, not necessarily as Bob is using the term - welcome, Bob!) that creates the state of righteousness. It is the thorough intermixing of these two typically well-defended states, and the willingness of goodness to be annihilated in the embracing and bearing of evil that unifies the two into one and transmutes all into the new state, a state wholly (holy?
) different from either of its constituents.
May Grace descend,
Saint and Sinner in Self Realization.
Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:40 am
In terms of Saint and Sinner.
These are, in my experience, two manifestations of the adversary. For both are dualistic, and neither experience unification with God. The Saint believes they are far from God and therefore must do all these things, fasting celibacy and such in order to purge their sins. The sinner clings to personal history and all of the awful things that they have done, believing themselves to be unworthy of Gods presence. Therefore you are absolutely correct Doug, we need to bring this Saint and Sinner in us to cessation in order to experience self-realization in Christ. I really like the wording you use, “there was a goodness that was beyond goodness that stood alone, without an opposite.” That completely sums up the problem with the saint and sinner, they both have opposites, the saints identity as a Saint comes from being the opposite of being a sinner, and the sinner is So focused on its not being a saint that it makes itself a sinner. What suffering! What is typically meant by Tzaddik is this second kind of goodness, without an opposite. I suppose what distinguishes a Tzaddik is their capacity for unconditional love, as we see with Master Yeshua-Jesus.
Regarding your question Bob on self-realization or enlightenment.
Engaging in the spiritual life and practice with full vigor and desire is how one attains self-realization or enlightenment. Notice the term commonly used amongst Sophians: Self-Realization, Realization of the self, one true nature in Christ. Therefore methods of engaging in the spiritual life and path are geared toward a deeper and more intimate relationship with ones self, ones thoughts and emotions, and eventually ones inseparability to everyone and everything, and to God. What are these methods? They are principally contemplation of the mysteries, meditation and if one is in relationship with a Tzaddik, regular attendance of Shabbat and group meetings. To the best of my knowledge, this holds true for all authentic world wisdom traditions, and it is said that if one engages in the spiritual life in this way, one will make spiritual progress, as to how much progress, this is determined on the vigor and desire with which one engages the spiritual life and the grade of the soul (how much spiritual progress the soul has made in previous life’s). However, in my experience, the most progress is made when one is merely delighting in the mysteries, when the spiritual life is a joy and a blessing from the Holy One. If one is thinking of what progress they are making by engaging in this practice or contemplating that teaching, one is likely to make very little progress.
So dance with the Shekinah of the messiah, in the delight of her splendor, and view all beings as a manifestation of the Holy One, in this way may we be deeply blessed! Amen.
All Blessings and Shalom!
Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:53 am
Thank you, Marion, for your response. I was wondering, though, something a bit towards the end. I definately agree that regular interaction with one's spiritual father and trust of his guidance is necessary, and also that one must be faithful to the practices and advice he gives. Also, I know it is necessary to come together with the spiritual community. But my question (pardon my insistence) has more to do with what happens when a person, in Sophian Gnosticism, is enlightened? Is it, as you say, a realization of ones closeness with all things? Or is it just a realization that one is neither saint nor sinner? Or does it encompass the view, much like buddhism where, from my understanding, realizing ones buddahood or that one is already enlightened is itself enlightenment? Maybe (and this seems likely) it is a gradual process, encompassing such realization mentioned above, and others known only to those who practice the Sophian gnostic view - that is, the beliefs of Sophian gnosticism, when internalized with faith, cause enlightenment when they are accepted as truth because a person realizes they are true? I know it is possible that such a question cannot be answered. But I hope it can be!!
Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:15 pm
Well, this has been delightful to read and quite a lively discussion!
I can't help but think of a teaching I received from my spiritual Father some time ago, Tau Malachi, about chocolate cake in considering your question. I can tell a person what chocolate cake tastes like, can describe all it's wonder and glory and flavor, but ultimately this will mean nothing to the person who has not tasted it, it will all be mysterious words and enigmatic descriptions to the one for whom chocolate cake is different and new. For truly, there ARE answers to these questions, but they are answered not by discussion and description, but by a person taking a bite!
We have several practices on the web site for a person to try, with various levels according to one's capacity as a practitioner, and Tau Malachi has four books out by now, and if one were to become more enamoured of the Sophian tradition, we have an internet mentoring program available... so why not take a bite and see how it tastes?
Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:00 pm
Thank you Phillip for your candor with my question. I was worried that this was the case - I want to make an omellete without breaking any eggs - something I know is difficult to do. Unfortunately, the nature of the practices I have received from my spiritual father are opposite in many of the practices I have read on the website. This 'opposite' is that the use of the imagination in my tradition is used rarely, if ever at all. In a sister tradition of mine (which is really the same tradition), which could be called Theophanic wisdom (my spiritual father was in contact with people from this lineage), there is a little use of the imagination, but it is more geared towards preparing oneself for encounters with our weaknesses as we go about the day. All together, there is also a use of the imagination when meditating on death, but even this is not preferable to other means of divine rememberance or inner meditation. There is much to be said on clearing the mind from images and from our attachment to them, and I have recieved teaching on how to do this from my spiritual father (my spiritual father is a disciple in a long line of holy Elders, and so I have learned how to do this in the context of a living transmission), and I would feel like I was returning to what I have worked so hard to be rid of if I should try many of the practices mentioned in the spiritual practices. Forgive me! Everyone here is so nice, and I hope I can still discuss and learn more about your Sophian tradition.
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:17 am
Your insight is right on the mark of what Sophian Gnostic teachings are pointing to, Doug, which is expressed in a common statement in the Jewish and Christian Kabbalah: “The evil inclination must be joined to the good inclination,” a union in which the dualism of evil and good no longer exists; hence the state of holiness, the state of the holy tzaddik.
This principle is reflected in the mystery of the crucifixion itself, for the evil inclination is brought into the service of the good, and the goodness of the Christ-bearer is also offered up, leading to the revelation of the Risen Christ, the Holy One.
The nature of the realization of Supernal or Supramental Consciousness (“Christ Consciousness”) is discussed in great detail elsewhere in our forums, as well as in our books; it is certainly something more than the transcendence of saint and sinner – it is realization of consciousness beyond the body, and the development of a continuity of awareness throughout all states of consciousness, whether waking consciousness, sleep and dream, or death and the afterlife states, hence the realization of Christos, the Human One of Light.
Union with the Divine quite naturally is an experience of the Sacred Unity underlying the Entirety; hence awareness of our unity with all beings, with all that appears. One experiences the Mind of Christ – hence True Gnosis, but more profoundly one experiences the Sacred Heart, love and compassion for all beings. This awareness of Sacred Unity is the Body of Christ – an awareness of oneself in all beings and all beings in oneself, all existing in an innate Union with the Divine at the level of inmost being.
The experience of consciousness beyond the body is, at one and the same time, an experience of the infusion of the body with consciousness – the Light-presence (Anointed) and Light-power (Holy Spirit). When the Sacred Heart dawns one desires to love beings, one desires to engage in active compassion and to take up the labor of the harvest of souls. The whole point to seeking Union with the Divine, or the enlightenment and liberation of the soul, is to be empowered to be of the greatest possible benefit in the Great Work – to be fully empowered to help in the liberation of other spirits and souls. Thus, if one were to realize Union with the Divine, one would continue in the spiritual life and practice for the sake of others, just as realize individuals continue to incarnate in the material world to facilitate the liberation of others.
Indeed, aside from actual and material assistance that might be offered, there is also invisible spiritual assistance that may be offered – the transmission of substantial and helpful spiritual energies. If one embodies something of a Higher Consciousness, or embodies something of the Divine, then one become a generator of Light or Spiritual Energy in the world, an Opener of the Way for others, a Light-bearer to others.
What is the nature of the spiritual labor of an Apostle of Light? They are an “exorcist,” a healer and a messenger: Peacemaker, Healer and Light-bearer.
If one has entered into something of the enlightenment experience, then quite naturally one is called to minister to the needs of others, to tend to the well-being and welfare of others – hence to active love and compassion.
We may speak of the ecstasies and bliss of Union, and various spiritual gifts that may come with Union, yet the greater delight is the love and compassion that shines forth, the experience of the Sacred Heart, as we see in the Master.
There is no end to the enlightenment experience – it’s a journey into the One-Without-End. Thus, if the enlightenment experience dawns one continues in the spiritual life and practice: “There is no Goal but the Path.”
Can the experience of Self-realization in Christ be spoken or explained? No, not really; all that may be said is partial truth, and therefore partial falsehood. At best we can hint at it, point at it, allude to it, but ultimately we must each experience the bridal chamber for ourselves, and entertain the love-play with the Divine that brings the intimate knowledge of Union – Divine Gnosis.
We become Christian through faith, but we become Gnostic through direct spiritual and mystical experience – once we have a glimpse or taste of Union, we “take the Goal as the Path.” This glimpse or taste is called Initiation. It may transpire through the agency of a living adept or master (incarnate tzaddik), or through the agency of a disincarnate tzaddik or maggid (angelic or divine being) in the visionary dimension, or directly through Christ and the Holy Spirit; in any case, it is through Initiation that we are set upon the Gnostic Path, and our spiritual life and practice unfolds from it.
As for how this realization might be brought about – it will be somewhat different with each individual.
(Bob: You will find that there are also formless methods in our lineage as well which do not engage the imaginal faculty at all - developed from the base of what we call "primordial meditation" in what is called the "Way or Perfection." And yes, we welcome brothers and sisters from other Gnostic and Christian lineages to participate in our forums - one does not have to be an initiate of our lineage.)
May we be blessed to enter into the bridal chamber and to know the perfection of love; amen.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:59 pm
Hello again, Tau Malachi...
Thank you for your response. Among the practices listed on your web page, the two that I can slightly identify with are the (I forget the exact names) silent mind one, where you practice not identifying with thoughts, and the Primordial Meditation. Both of these concepts are familiar to me, though not as they are expressed on the web site, but in a different manner. Of course, I am a nut when it comes to different methods of what you might call "ceaseless primordial meditation with silent mind on a single prayer". I can't imagine anything purer than what I have been given, yet still I am looking for other ways that people approach it.
Although I am still attached to my spiritual father and our tradition, I appreciate your openess and directness, and your spiritual children's willingness to be also open and kind speaks well of you. I look forward to interacting with you and the members of your community in the future.