Sunday, September 16, 2007

Verticalisthenics, O-robics, and Breathing in the Eternal

Let's see. What do we have here. There are objects and there is motion.

Revelation is like an intellectual cathedral that mirrors the hierarchical dimension of the vertical on this side of the manifestivus -- it is "heaven on earth," so to speak. But spiritual growth is not an object. Rather, it is a "motion" or movement -- an expansion. As a matter of fact, it is the leading edge of the cosmos.

In my book, I attempted to describe the algorithm of this movement with a set of abstract symbols that apply to any spiritual practice and all spiritual growth. To a large extent those symbols are descriptive rather than prescriptive, providing some hints but leaving the exact "how to" to the individual aspirant, who must combine "know how" with "be who."

We are fallen beings. Or, if you prefer, we are more or less exwholed and exiled from the vertical; we are strangers in this world, wandering in the desert of the horizontal, trying to find our way home. We go through books, experiences, teachers, trying to find Truth or Freedom or Happiness. Sometimes we catch a glimpse, only to see it recede into darkness, like a dream that fades upon awakening.

The universe is a nonlocal whole that is thoroughly entangled with itself, both in space and time. Let's suppose that I am not me. Rather, I am you. I am the higher you, speaking to you from your future, bidding you to join me. It's frustrating for me, because I'd like you to be here with me. Actually, I'd like to be down there with you. To you, your life looks like a bewildering panorama of free choices. But to me, looking down on the scene, I see that your life is actually on a train track. It doesn't really have much freedom, except to move forward and backward in one line. Unfortunately, if you stay on that line, you will inevitably end up where you are headed. Which is not me.

So to arrive at me, you have to derail your life. You have to repent, which literally means to "turn around" or change course. Now, many people who come to a spiritual practice do so because their life has been derailed for them. They are probably the lucky ones. They have achieved a state of spiritual blankruptcy. They are no longer moving, but at least they have stopped moving in the wrong direction. Now, instead of pushing themselves toward the wrong destination, they will have the opportunity to be lured into the heart of the right one.

For others, their catastrophe has to be self-willed. I remember when undergoing my training, when I was in psychoanalytic therapy. I said something to the effect of, "I don't know if I'm cut out for this. I might be too neurotic," or something like that. My analyst quickly corrected me: "No, no -- we don't exclude a treatable neurosis. We demand one. It's a prerequisite." You see, psychoanalytic therapy is a sort of self-willed crisis, as you dismantle your surface personality, dive into the unconscious, and try to reconstruct things on more stable footing. Only by doing so are you qualified to be a psychopomp for others, ushering them along the tortuous trails of their hidden self.

Likewise, there is no question that a spiritual practice will involve facing some catastrophic truths -- catastrophic not to your true self, but to your surface ego. In fact, spiritual growth is nothing but the assimilation of truth. At first, the truth can be unpleasant. To many people it is positively toxic. For them there is no hope.

Our minds are chaotic systems with different basins of attraction. Our surface personality is one such basin. If you have a lot of conflicts and fixations, you may think of those as basins of attraction as well. Each basin within our personality is an open system with a life force and agenda all its own, drawing relationships and experiences it needs in order to go on being. These are the instruments of our destruction, at least as they pertain to ever escaping the closed circle of the horizontal and establishing a little beachhead in the vertical.

In psychotherapy there is something called "resistance," and it is ubiquitous. No matter how much a person comes into therapy wishing to change, there are parts of the personality that will resist this change and try to sabotage the treatment. Why is this? For the same reason that any living entity has a life instinct and wishes to go on being. These resistant parts of the personality are much more like quasi-independent organisms than "objects." This is why in my book I refer to them as "mind parasites." If they are not parasites, they might as well be. For, just like parasites, they take over the machinery of the host -- you -- and reproduce themselves, bringing about the very conditions that allow them to flourish.

For this reason, most anyone on a spiritual path requires some equivalent of psychotherapy in order to gain insight into the adversary within. The mind parasites don't really care if you go spiritual on them, so long as you don't leave them behind. A moment's glance at the history of religion shows this to be true. Religion has almost been ruined by mind parasites, and it is perfectly understandable if a sophisticated modern person were to reject it on that basis alone.

However, this would be wrong and ultimately self-defeating. For it is obviously not just religion that has been ruined by mind parasites, but almost every other instrument or institution devised by human beings. For example, until quite recently, the history of medicine was the history of error. It consisted not only of beliefs that were untrue, but could not possibly be true. Should one therefore toss out medicine because its history is so riddled with kooky beliefs?

Lies are the wisdom of the world. The world is immersed in, and ruled by, lies. Therefore, to the extent that you lose yourself in this world, you too will be lost in a sea of lies. For example, the war on Islamofascism is not ultimately a war against a physical enemy, but a war against the most outrageous and pernicious lies. Likewise, the "culture war" in America is not really about culture, but about truth and about unconsciously motivated lies. Much of Old Europe has already lost this war. Like the American left they have abandoned truth for comfort, happiness for pleasure, vertical liberty for horizontal license.

Birth is always a chaotic and painful transition from one mode of being to another. The seeds of our new birth are already present within us, in the womb of our being. What are the conditions that allow the seeds to grow and bear fruit? Hell, I don't know.

"Petey? What do you think?" Okay. How about the sunlight of truth, the water of grace, the fertilizer of ritual, and the loving assistance of an expert gardener -- who certainly need not be technically "living" in the biological sense of the term, so long as he or she be alive.

Well, the horizontal beckons me from the threshold of transdimensional doorway, so I bid you adieu. In fact, I will leave you with adieu and don't -- a verticalisthenic, if you will. Today, whenever you have a spare moment, instead of wasting it in idle mental wanderings, try silencing your mind and breathing in the eternal, drawing breath from above your head down into your heart, and then offering the breath back up again to your oldenew gardener.


Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Garden Ghosts
true conversation
two old friends spin mythic yarns
once where we are kings

9/16/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Apropos: Dreaming of Reality from the Dark Side of the Moon &
"Each basin within our personality is an open system with a life force and agenda all its own, drawing relationships and experiences it needs in order to go on being. These are the instruments of our destruction..."

great link from American Thinker to City Journal article 'The Peace Racket' by Bruce Bawer. "An anti-Western movement touts dictators, advocates appeasement—and gains momentum."

9/16/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Alan McCann said...

Adieu - à Dieu

In French - En Francais

à is a French preposition

Adieu generally means "until God"

But it can also represent
- to God (ie. movement
- in God (ie. position)
- when God (ie. position in time)
- from God (ie. origin)
- from God (ie. distance away from)
- by God (ie. activity)
- my God (ie. possession)

Whoda thunk so much could be enfolded in one word choice!

Via con Dios, mon ami!

9/16/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Good timing since I have an appointment to see my Buddhist meditation coach next week. It has been far too long (at least 2 months) since I've sat with him, and I really miss it.

9/16/2007 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

We've knocked around the idea here that some artists can produce beauty despite bedevilment by personal demons, or even despite an utter lack of integrity. I think that is true, to an extent. Bob's own selection of musical greats (99% of which I agree with him on) contains numerous examples of drug-dependent and even a number of what would today qualify leftist people.

Today I see that same situation with Amy Winehouse and others, but that's not what this is about.

What this is about is a film I just Tivo'd from cable called "American Hardcore". While I listened to a considerable amount of punk music as a youth, I never really heard these people actually interviewed.

Today I consider that music to be almost universally execrable and ugly, and this film shows precisely why: the people behind these punk bands were universally loathesome--frankly evil--human beings, and they apparently remain so today. I have never seen such a collection of obscene, thoughtless, cynical and hate-filled 45 and 50 year-olds in my life. To a man and woman they go further than the typical leftist into sheer nihilism. These filthy atheists are at the far end of the spectrum from Petey.

There's a reason punk sounds as ugly as it does, and they're it.

9/16/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

the same can be said for gangsta rap; just listen to some of those people being interviewed. It's just ghetto street thuggery and disprespect for life and law covered in bling.

9/16/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob, I missed posting for your last 2 posts, so I can't resist asking these belated questions:

1. Did you manage to avoid making an ass of yourself?

2. Did you get to see how deep the rabbit hole goes?

3. Was this the end, the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

4. Have you added the Butthole Surfers to your long list of favorite musicians?

Sorry, had to add my less than one cent.

9/16/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

"But spiritual growth is not an object. Rather, it is a "motion" or movement -- an expansion."

Funny how we take notions like "spiritual growth" and by referring to them repeatedly, do come to think of them as "things." BIG revelation for me when one day it occurred to me that 'Reality' is a verb, not a noun.

9/16/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"We are fallen beings. Or, if you prefer, we are more or less exwholed and exiled from the vertical; we are strangers in this world, wandering in the desert of the horizontal, trying to find our way home."

Kinda like O-nut wholes?

9/17/2007 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Now, many people who come to a spiritual practice do so because their life has been derailed for them. They are probably the lucky ones. They have achieved a state of spiritual blankruptcy."

I'm kinda lucky that way. :^)

9/17/2007 04:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Ivan Ivanovich said...

Ah, so the horizontal has depth as in a train track and is not simply a one dimensional place. Or could it be more like the interstate highway system where we can make choices of where to exit and have a cup of coffee? Of course this system also affords the opportunity to get lost more often than a train. While taking pilot training some years back I was confronted with having to explain to friends the difference between flying an airplane and driving a car. I don’t expect any of them understood me, but I felt the freedom of movement in three dimensions rather than two as well as the difficulty cubed (5^3=125) rather than squared (5^2=25).

9/17/2007 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE “motion”, I think it is our Unknown Friend who tells us that we do not walk because we have legs, we have them because we have a will to walk.

9/17/2007 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes. aren't we the walking creature? We can't run too fast (though pretty good if we want) but we can outwalk any critter.

9/17/2007 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Two excellent metaphors in an outstanding post. Thanks.

9/17/2007 07:09:00 AM  

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