Saturday, October 28, 2006

Movin' On Up in the Inwardly Mobile Cosmos

I cannot believe I did this. I just finished a lengthy post, but when I went to copy it, I accidentally hit "paste." Then I hit "paste" again, and now its gone. Tried to undo it, but I did another bad thing in between, so it was too late. Nor did I even hit save while I was working on it, because I was in such a trance that I just didn't notice. WAAAAAA!

Like a Buddhist sand painting, my post has bitten the dust-to-dust in the wind that bloweth where it will. I am really heartbroken. Must recover. Stupid halloween spirits.

I must say, it was an outstanding post, but now we'll never see it. Furthermore, now I have to get ready to leave for another stupid all-day seminar. So I'm just dipping into the bloggereliquarium and grabbing an old post nearly at random. I notice that it only had three comments, so only a few people apparently ignored it the first time.


Reader Dilys made an excellent point a couple of days ago, noting that, "My working hypothesis is that repeated close encounters with age-ripened liturgies access far-reaching psycho-spiritual genius that drain the subconscious swamp." In other words, by immersing ourselves in certain time-tested vertical modalities, something very real and measurable happens to us. One thing grows. Another thing shrinks, or at least begins to lose its grip on us.

What is spiritual growth? What is it that grows? What does it “feed” on, since a living thing can only maintain itself in an open system that exchanges energy or information with the environment? And what is the medium into which it is expanding? In other words, as a biological object grows, it obviously complexifies and expands into physical space. Where do we expand spiritually?

Again we must refer back to the concepts of vertical and horizontal. Just as there is a horizontal evolution in the form of increased complexity through time, there is vertical evolution in the form of increased depth or “degrees of being.” But in both cases, growth only takes place through metabolism. It is a process. Only open systems that are in disequilibrium are susceptible to evolution.

For example, as a biological system, you maintain yourself by constant energetic exchanges with the environment in the form of food and oxygen. Being at equilibrium with the environment is also known as being dead. Ordered complexity can only be maintained in a state of dynamic disequilibrium.

It is the same way in the vertical--in the spiritual realm. In order for us to grow vertically, we must first realize that we are in need of nourishment. Then we must identify and eat the proper food. And finally, we must chew, swallow, metabolize, and digest. Not just once, but every day. In so doing, something within us begins to grow and develop, like a seed in the womb of being. Spiritually, this is why the athiest is necessarily dead, for atheism is none other than vertical anorexia.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” What does this mean? Outwardly or horizontally it means one thing. But inwardly and vertically it means something else altogether. I should emphasize that this is not a novel idea that I developed on my own. For example, Greek mythology recognized the existence of “ambrosia,” a celestial substance capable of imparting immortality. In the Vedas, it is called “amrita” or “soma.” It is an actual substance, although not in the material sense. It is fluid and energetic, and it is easy to see how it could be symbolized by wine, and by a mystical quest for the cup, chalice, or “holy grail” that might hold the wine.

This is also the symbolism of the Last Supper, of Jesus distributing the bread and wine--his body and blood--to his disciples to eat. What could this curious practice be but theophagy, or the subtle “ingestion” of God?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” “The meek shall inherit the earth.” “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” What could these mean? In my opinion, they are again referring to the vertical, not the horizontal. There is an exterior man and an interior man. The interior man is the astral fetus lying between our evolved nervous system and the transcendent Other. Spiritual work is oriented on the vertical plane, not the horizontal. To the extent that this fetus or “divine child” is not nourished, it will be spiritually stillborn--a celestial abortion. A tragic waste of a life.

Without a mirror to reflect it, reality disappears, does it not? What would the cosmos be without nervous systems to reflect it back to itself? Hot, cold, large, small, here, there, light, dark--these are all qualities of nervous systems. Take away the conscious observer and the universe has no explicit qualities at all.

It is the same way with the vertical world. Here again, to say that we are “the image of God” is to say that we are mirrors of the vertical. Without the human mirror, the divine disappears. Clean your mirror and it reappears “out of nowhere”: “I was blind, but now I see.” Or, as it says in the little psychotic (or pneumotic) genesis myth at the beginning of my book, "He expectorated a mirrorcle, now you're the spittin' image."

I have no quibble whatsoever with science. It is one of the glories of mankind. But it only maps the horizontal, not the vertical. Spirituality, on the other hand, maps the vertical, the interior of the cosmos. In its horizontal aspect, things just happen in the world. But in the vertical world they are made or created. And all true creation is a miracle from the standpoint of the horizontal.

You might say that the minimum requirement for existence is worlds and beings, and that the fabric of existence is the warp and weft of vertical and horizontal, as eternity pours into time and time pierces eternity in the now.

In order to have a comprehensive view of the world, one must appreciate the vertical and the horizontal, the interior and the exterior. In fact, reality is a cross ( + ) where the vertical and horizontal energies converge. Each moment--the eternal now--is a sort of “whirlpool” that is created out of these dialectically related streams. Your body is actually the “rosy cross” that blooms around the area of the heart--if given the proper vertamins and heartilizer.

Ours is an inwardly mobile cosmos. Would you like to move on up in it? Then crucify your ego on that invisible cross where the vertical meets the horizontal in the now. Recognize your inner emptiness. Give yourself your daily bread. And don’t forget to chew.


Anonymous said...

Great Post

Joan of Argghh! said...

When the disciples asked Jesus, "teach us to pray" it was a perfect request, one well worth answering.

I marvel at His answer--irreducibly succinct--in touching on our need to be fed and forgiven, both horizontally and vertically. But we must first acknowledge His place, His spiritual position, and His will. Absent that, all we are doing is demanding---demanding answers, proofs, solutions, or escape. And then we rail at the imagined silence.

Demanding is the way of helpless babes, but supplication or prayer speaks of a maturity and understanding of our own resouces and our world. It is acknowledging an end to our strength and a search for more.

I think now, in reading Bob's post, that prayer is much further along in our spiritual path than I first imagined. There must be first, almost by definition, feeding, growth, and self-assessment long before a real prayer can be uttered.

Fergus the Cat said...

Yup, a great post goes missing and it's Halloween time and all.

Heh, if you guys could only see what I see. But of course, you can't because you're not privileged to be felines, which is sad, of course.

Well, probably you wouldn't like what I'm seeing all that much anyway. I don't like it much that myself. I mean the air is choking with them and they're all chittering away. They're like a pollution, a smog that whispers weird stuff in your ears and makes you believe *you* thought of it.

My advice? Get a cat, we're natural antidotes. Just ask my bud Booger the Cat. We balance out the equation. And since your cat will be doing you an immeasurable favor, is it not proper to treat your cat with the proper respect, yea, like royalty?

And when you cat stares at a spot on the wall for about 20 minutes, don't ridicule, don't mock. He or she is doing you a very large favor.

What favor? Oh, you don't want to know.

Anonymous said...

Oh expletive! The last time I vaporized a paper over due at the print shop I switched to typing at my gmail account where a kind bot does nothing but circle overhead and save every thing every other min.

Van said...

Ah, the oldest rule of the spirit and of the computer - Save, and Save often.

jwm said...

Joan of Argghh:
That was superb.
This whole 'why won't God do what I tell him?' nonsense reminds me of when I was about six or seven years old and I found a clam shell at the lake. The clam was dead but the hinge of cartillage (sp?) that held the two shells together was still supple enough that I could open and close it. Of course after a few bends it broke, and I asked God to fix it for me. Early lesson. God won't fix your clam shell.

-Hold on-
Oh, that was Booger the Cat. She's all worried that Fergus is giving away secrets. ;)


Lisa said...

To a deluxe apartment in the skyhihi! Did anyone else have the Jeffersons music playing in their heads when reading this?

jwm said...

Hey Lisa: long time no see. Did you catch the troll storm over the last couple days?


Lisa said...

Hi JWM-Trying to stay above it, but it was one of the most twisted things! I hope you are feeling better. Glad it's over! (your health scare and the troll storm!) Do you cook? Find some healthy cream-free soup recipes or just have your wife make some. It will get you back on your feet in no time. Are you still at that yahoo group?

jwm said...

I do all the cooking. I'm actually pretty conscientious about diet and exercise, so I won't have to make too many major adjustments. It's funny. When I was in the ICU all I wanted was a monster all grease burrito, and a giant Starbucks with extra caffeine. When I got home I caught myself checking the cholesterol content on my bottled water. I think the yahoo group is defunct.


Connecticut Yankee said...

Bob's post made me think of a video I saw over at Belmont Club just a few hours ago about a father who cares for his disabled son:

Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution." But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain." "Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

The video takes about 4 minutes to play but tells, in its own way, a story of remarkable spiritual strength and grace. When I read Bob's post, I thought, y'know, God has carried me, has shared his life with me, in spite of my invisible disabilities--the angers and worries and all the other little and not-so-little uglies that lurk inside--even more lovingly than this human father shares various activities with his precious child. Yes: I need daily bread-- and daily forgiveness, too.

I would urge Bob's readers who haven't seen the video to take the 4 minutes and watch it:

Binks, Webelf said...

One Cosmosian postings are too important to etherize via Blogger-bugs.

(1) Type & save the postings in Notepad.

(2) Copy & past into Blogger.

(3) Apply, lather, rinse, repeat.

juliec said...

Thanks for the link, Connecticut Yankee - that was beautiful.

Van said...

An excellent comment Joan of Argghh!

Fergus & Booger,if you see my old cat 'Sparkle' out there say hi, since my wife & kids are alergic to them I'll probably not have another.

Got a dog though. His name's Zeuss. He says woof, gets you to scratch behind his ear, and he smiles at me.

It'll do.

AngloAmerican said...


What makes you so special Connecticut Yankee? In the time it probably took you to write that comment about how God shares his life with you sixty children died from malnutrition. What makes them so, uh, not special? Enquiring minds seek to understand.

jwm said...

I just bought a set of Beethoven's symphonies on CD. I got the 1963 Berlin Philharmonic recording conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. HVK is my favorite conductor for Beethoven. Last night I put on the seventh. It was fascinating to watch the cat. I'd swear she was not just hearing, but actually listening to the music. I could see her ears perk up at certain passages. She actually turned her head to face the speakers. She relaxed and purred though the first and second movements ,but she got agitated with the third and fourth movements which are fast and frenetic. I just can't help but wonder what goes on in that little head.

Hey Van- we made it through a whole day without anyone being called assmonkey. ;)
Life is good.


wildiris said...

The notion that Jesus’ reference to “the eye of the needle” was a reference to a sewing needle is a modern one. Traditionally, going back to the ninth century at least, the accepted interpretation of the “eye of the needle” was that it was reference to a narrow pedestrian gate into a walled city. I’ve always believed that this traditional interpretation is the correct one. The example of a rich man trying to bring his camels, loaded with all of his possessions, through a narrow gate meant only for pedestrians is a lesson about getting into heaven while loaded with your earthly baggage.

Anonymous said...

What's an assmonkey? Hey, where did that bacon jew guy go? Who am us anyway?

Its late.


jwm said...

I believe the assmonkey is a distant relative of the assclown, and is often found in close proximity to the assmunch.
It may also have some characterisics in common with the nearly extinct shitass, but I may be mistaken.


AngloAmerican said...

This is the Information Highway and folks here are standing on their virtual soapboxes proselytising and bearing testament to the entire world. You could do it in private if you so wished. We trolls, atheists, seekers of the truth or spawn of Satan, whatever you like to call us, have been drawn here by the “light” of Bob’s unique writing style and his message. The concept of the horizontal and the vertical and its relationship to physical and mental evolution is quite interesting.

A question I would like to ask is this: Is there any room for doubt here? Is doubt a sin? Could feelings of transcendence be an induced “state of mind” or even a chemical response? There is such a thing as religious mania and people have been institutionalised for it. Now I am not saying that you are maniacs but could it be just a question of degree? Now I am the most religious Atheist I know and often argue with the hard core in defence of religious thinking, sentiment and language. I know where you are coming from but a lot of people have been smitten by the ‘Spirit’ and have later turned out to be charlatans, deranged or simply attention seeking. Overwhelming spiritual feelings may be a fashion that comes and goes like the manias that afflicted the Middle Ages. Isn’t a bit of scepticism in an individual healthy?

I would be a lot more impressed if expressions of doubt were raised and not ridiculed. Because if there is no tolerance of or room for doubt then surely your minds are closed and your position insecure. Being so very, very, sure of yourselves and not having rational answers to everyday questions means that you are not transcendent. It’s very much the opposite I am afraid to inform you.

ben usn (ret) said...

Ever hear of manners, AA?
You know, there is nothing stopping you from creating your own blog and running it the way you want.
But, you (and many others) have come here and attempt
to dictate to Bob how to and what you think he should write.
I mean this in the kindest way:
I really don't give a damn what impresses you.
Your "advice" is full of contradictions, btw, but you probably know that.
And no, you don't know where we are coming from.
My non-contradictory advice to you is this:
If you find One Cosmos interesting then, by all means, read away.
You may even consider commenting on the topic of the day.
But please, spare us the chaotic horizontal bopflop.
Your intent is clear, based on your comments thus far, and it isn't going to be of value to anyone here.
In any sense, most of us Cosmonaughts tire of that sort of game rather quickly.

ben usn (ret) said...

Connecticut Yankee-
That is amazing!
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Angloamerican:
What have you done to alleviate the suffeing of a single child? Have you fed a stranger lately? Have you given a single dollar to the relief of the starving children whose annihilation you take as confirmatiion of your nihilistic self-centered view of the universe? I think you are quite pleased to recount the deaths of the innocent rather than make the slightest effort to save them in order to comfort yourself in your continued egocentric view of all things. Sad.

Anonymous said...

C Yankee - Beautiful video, thanks.


Smoov said...

The problem with using text editors like Notepad is that you still have to remember to save every so often. Better to use Word (or similar) which automatically saves a draft of your work every N seconds (configurable).

Then, as others here have advised, copy and paste the text into the ramshackle jalopy that is Blogger.

Lisa said...

That was inspiralational, CY! Can you even believe there is such a thing as an atheist after seeing that video?

Gagdad Bob said...


Blogspot is not publishing again. I put up today's post at my eventual new home at:

Entitled "Garbage In, Godlessness Out."

I'm gone for the day, but Mrs. G will try to post it here later.

Gagdad Bob said...

"Just what is the atheists’s claim? It is not quite accurate, is it, to say that he knows something we don’t, for he specifically claims to not know what we do know; and furtherless, that his metaphysical ignorance represents a superior form of knowledge. That ignorance is not knowledge — let alone truth — eludes them entirely, even if one can be sympathetic to their view that authentic ignorance is preferable to what they necessarily regard as false knowledge–which, were that true, is no knowledge at all.

"The atheist believes that reason obliges one to deny God, but this represents a most limited and facile understanding of reason, since reason can only work with sources that are not supplied by reason in its narrowly construed understanding."

Read the whole post at:

tsebring said...

Bob - so glad you are going to a new home - just a few minutes ago, this site displayed your latest post - 8 times!! And all of the others were gone! It would seem that is undergoing a metaphysical crisis - perhaps your time-warping posts have caused's servers to undergo worm-hole disassociation and phase the motherboards out of existence. Oh, well, like the Israelites, when the cloud moves on, we must move on with it.

It is cool that you did some analysis of the Lord's Prayer - too many people unfortunately mindlessly chant the words without really knowing what their true significance is (this is not a swipe at Catholics, but at any mindless chanting without knowing the meaning of the words - some Charismatic "Praise Songs" are like that). When Jesus said those words to the disciples, he was not so much giving them a set of words to pray at all times, but showing them by example what prayer really is; a conversation with God in which we simply acknowledge who he is and ask that he open our eyes further; i.e., grant us revelation. Prayer to me has always been a simple request for God to open the doors of the eternals for just a little while and reveal more of himself to me than I was previously aware of. I have learned over the years to make this my approach to the Throne, rather than just asking of him all the time. Asking in prayer is perfectly fine (he tells us to "ask, and it shall be given"). But if all prayer is is asking, we miss out on the real fulness and richness of what it really is; a line of communication with the Realms Beyond. It is with this in mind that I often find myself more in agreement with Bhuddist prayers than I do with the shallow concept of prayer found in the "Prosperity Gospel". "Naming and Claiming" has always been the epitomy of spiritual arrogance to me, just the opposite of what Christ took great pains (including the Ultimate Pain) to teach the disciples.

Fergus, I think we Verticalized humans may share with you felines one ability; we can see in the dark! The metaphysical But I just have never developed a taste for mice...

tsebring said...

Correction to last paragraph:

Fergus, I think we Verticalized humans may share with you felines one ability; we can see in the dark (the metaphysical dark, that is). But I just have never developed a taste for mice...

MikeZ said...

About that vaporized post: Remember T. E. Lawrence: when he finished "Seven Pillars", it got lost on a train. The whole thing. Gone. So later, he sat back down and rewrote it.

Version 2 probably wasn't letter-identical to the first, but we believe it was close enough.

"Binks" and "smoov" have the right idea. Write offline, then post. Think of what might happen if the internet connection went away during a post.

On the other hand, some people do their best work on a tightrope.

If you really want to be secure, stock up on yellow legal tablets and #2 pencils.