Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
Check out this post on my new blog, A Sea of Glass and Fire.
imaginal world: the world which everything in our world is a symbol for. Here's what's happening there:
There is a timbre of
love that wasn't there a few days ago. I can't give specific examples, but it is there. People (those with hearts turned the right way) are being kinder. Mercy is being shown to those who need help.
And yet this is still in the context of a larger struggle. The world remains locked in people's identification with their roles: man, woman, gay,
trans, non-binary, or even a person with a single name and set of traits. But this can't happen forever. Identities are defined by their edges, and so they must struggle to keep existing. But they're now locked in their death throes.
The world is becoming a mob. In Turkey and the Republican National Convention this is very clear, but it's also apparent in Pokemon Go
.However, the mob is going to become conscious of itself; the life that flows between us, between our identities, is beginning to wiggle its fingers and toes after a long sleep.
But mostly, the divine nature of matter or heaviness is still on its way to realizing itself in a way unlike anything that has happened yet. The dust of heaviness in the air is beginning to settle, a bit more this week than last. Divine fire is becoming incarnate in matter.
Look for more large, violent, massive phenomena in the next bit. This is that heaviness trying to incarnate. You can help by letting it incarnate
consciously and on human terms rather than with blind elemental force. Consult your own conscience for this.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I just came across this quote in Emanuel Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia, Volume 4. It talks about something called "
vastation," a kind of temptation, which is Swedenborg's word for the way the contents of our ego get emptied out:
Vastation] is twofold; of one kind when a church altogether perishes, that is, when there is no longer any charity or faith, and when it is said to be "devastated" or "laid waste"; and of the other kind when they who are of the church are reduced to a state of ignorance, and also of temptation, in order that the evils and falsities with them may be separated and as it were dispersed. They who emerge from this kind of vastationare they who are specifically called the redeemed...
Swedenborg defined a church as any collective state of mind on earth. In that way, not only is Mormonism a church, but so is the New Age movement, atheism, or perhaps even the Doctor Who fandom. So when he says that a church can get "
vastated," he means that these collective ways of relating to the world would get threatened. Remind you of anything?
Today, our modern secular, surface-oriented, self-congratulatory lifestyle (our "church") is getting
vastated. As with all vastations and temptations, it is happening by way of the difficulties placed upon our way of life. Our materialistic lifestyle is getting unsustainable; the political process is deeply broken; violence has run amok. These difficulties are God's way of getting us to abandon our frankly sinful way of life. Through them, we can get out of that sin and become "the redeemed."
What is our sin? As with all sin, our transgressions are rooted in our belief that we have
power to change things. We see ourselves as potentially all-powerful, and we feel compelled to filibuster, riot, or shoot up a nightclub to help the world become what it needs to be. This prideful attitude comes from something Swedenborg called the proprium, perhaps best translated as "what I call my own." But in reality, nothing is my own - I am just a site of passage for both the beyond-human forces that pass through me and God, the all-in-all. When we think we can change the world through our rioting or our Facebook ranting, we're attributing godhood to ourselves. And no matter our intentions in doing so, this is sin.
What does God want us to do? He wants us to stop fighting. He wants us to give up. Moreover, this giving up is inevitable. Like any temptation, the cultural temptation toward oppositional narcissism is put before us in such intensity to make it too painful for anyone to hold onto it. Like the practitioner of Zen meditation in full-lotus position who ends up relaxing her leg muscles out of necessity (I've been there), the oppositional nature of today's culture will eventually be too painful to bear. Enough riots and hatred will have happened that we will abandon our belief that things could ever get better. And it is at this point that the world will start to heal.
When we give up the fight, we will stop trying to defeat evil and instead start producing
good. Instead of ranting against the evils of a church on Facebook, we will offer kind words to those who have been hurt by it. Instead of trying to save the world by refusing to cooperate with our political opponents, we will reach across the aisle. And instead of rioting after a police shooting, we will instead follow the seemingly forgotten pattern of the 1960s civil rights activists and, one by one, say "I love you" to the policemen spraying us with fire hoses.
We need to give up.
Then God - who is love - will step in. There is no other way.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Saturday, July 9, 2016
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.These ideas are incomprehensible to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did. – Joseph Smith, The King Follett Discourse
Establishing contact with a God we cannot see is like trying to make eye contact with the limitless vastness of outer space, or like being on the lookout in mid-ocean but not being able to see anything but endless sky and sea. Establishing contact with a God we can see is like making eye contact with a person in the air or on the sea, whose arms then reach out, inviting us into an embrace. – Emanuel Swedenborg, “True Christianity”
Once did people say God, when they looked out upon distant seas; now, however, have I taught you to say, overman. God is a conjecture: but I do not wish your conjecturing to reach beyond your creating will. Could you create a God? – Then, I pray you, be silent about all gods! But you could well create the overman. – Friedrich Nietzsche, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”
“The Survivor of Hathsin,” Yomen said. “He died. How is it that people worship him?Vin shrugged. “It used to be common to worship gods that one couldn’t see.”Perhaps, Yomen said. “I have…read of such things, though I find them difficult to understand. Faith in an unseen god – what sense does that make? Why reject the god that they lived with for so long – the one that they could see, and feel – in favor of one that died? One that the Lord Ruler himself struck down?” – Brandon Sanderson, “The Hero of Ages”
The continuing, direct operation of the Holy Ghost on those who are called to be God’s children implies, in fact, a broadening process of incarnation. Christ, the son begotten by God, is the first-born who is succeeded by an ever-increasing number of younger brothers and sisters . . . The indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the third Divine Person, in man brings about a Christification of many . . . The future indwelling of the Holy Ghost in man amounts to a continuing incarnation of God. – Carl Jung, “Answer to Job”
Friday, July 8, 2016
Captain Hook is sitting behind his desk in his private room on the Jolly Roger. He's dressed in a suit, reminiscent of a general authority at a Mormon General Conference. He looks at the hook on his right arm with pride, and with it he idly thumbs through the LDS Church's handbook.
Suddenly, Peter Pan bursts through the door, holding his dagger threateningly. Hook looks startled but not surprised.
Peter Pan: I've come to kill you, Hook!
Captain Hook: Pan, we
've been over this - I'm not your enemy.
Peter Pan: You are too! You're a cultural imperialist to the Indians, you drive the Lost Boys to despair and suicide, and you don't let the mermaids become authorities on your ship. What do you have to say for yourself?
Captain Hook: I'm following God's plan. I've told you that a million times.
Peter Pan: Psh
...as if! God wouldn't be so oppressive!
Captain Hook: You're right. God loves you.
Peter Pan: How can you say that? God wouldn't tell me not to love who I want to love. Not if he loves me.
Captain Hook: You have to have faith, Peter. Things will be alright.
Peter explodes with rage.
No they won't! You're evil, and you need to die!
Captain Hook: But I'm not evil, Peter. People aren't evil - they can just do evil things.
Peter Pan: You're wrong. You'll pay for what you've done. The blood of the Lost Boys on your hook will be avenged!
Peter soars through the air and goes to stab Hook in the heart. But he misses. Instead, he slices through his right hand just above the hook, taking it clean off.
Hook stands stunned for a moment, bleeding from his stump of a right arm. But then the blood pouring out stops dripping down and instead starts flowing UP his body. His suit, once pristine, is now covered in blood. He is being changed.
Soon, the blood clears off, and an ordinary man stands there, still in a suit, and still the same man, but with something brighter in his eyes. They speak more of hope than of defensiveness, more of the endless than of this world.
dumbounded. Hook notices that his hand has been healed, and, eager to test it out, he goes to shake Peter's hand. Peter draws back instinctively, out of fear.
Peter Pan: It...it healed! Your hand is back! But I thought the crocodile ate it!
Captain Hook: I don't understand it either. But I feel
different: I don't feel as old, and clocks don't seem to bother me anymore. Maybe, somehow, the crocodile gave it back to me...
Peter Pan: But I was with you the whole time!
Captain Hook: That's just it - the
croc is with us whenever we have time, and I think I've just had some given back to me.
Peter Pan: But
...but you still have to pay for what you did!
He goes to slice Hook, but Hook is nimbler now. He dodges and sidesteps. Peter goes again,
but to both their surprise, Hook leaps into the air with unnatural grace. It's like he is flying, but he is still at least somewhat subject to gravity, like walking on the moon.
Peter Pan: But
Captain Hook: I don't know, and I don't need to know!
He leaps around like Neil Armstrong playing golf
Captain Hook: I'm as light as a feather! I don't need my hook; like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, I don't have to worry.
Peter Pan: But don't you have a ship
to run? Don't you have to do those worthiness interviews?
Captain Hook: Yes, but none of that's serious. I see now that it never was. I need to run a ship, but a ship isn't the world. I can best help the world by remembering its place in that world.
Peter Pan: But
...we all thought that your ship was the best ship of all! The Lost Boys died from despair, knowing that they could never be themselves as pirates!
Captain Hook: I'm sorry, I truly am. But they
will have not died in vain. Now I see that everything is light. This must be what you called fairy dust: everything can float, and I can lift anything with the palm of my hand. And none of this would have happened without you.
Peter Pan: But I came here to kill you!
Captain Hook: Hook is dead. I'm a new man now, Peter, and I have you to thank. So
Peter Pan stands there for a moment, then walks away, confused.
Hook goes back to his desk and puts the LDS handbook back in the drawer. He sits down, puts his feet up on his desk, and puts his now-whole hands behind his head. Hook had been reborn, and even though Peter doesn't understand what just happened, the captain knows that Peter is meant for still greater things.