Saturday, September 17, 2016
Read this post on A Sea of Glass and Fire.
Now because every single thing remains in being from the Divine, that is, is constantly coming into being from Him, and every single thing from that source is inevitably a representative of the real thing by means of which it has come into being, the whole visible universe is therefore nothing else than a theatre that is representative of the Lord's kingdom. And this in turn is a theatre representative of the Lord Himself. - Emanuel Swedenborg, "Arcana Coelestia," 3483
Have you ever noticed that things in your life happen just the way they're supposed to happen? You meet that person, you read that book, or you run into an idea at just the right time? Or maybe things don't happen so easily; your boyfriend might break up with you or maybe you fail a class. But have you still discerned the way those painful events are good for you? I have. The world is on my side; if I'm on the wrong track, it will remind me in blunt or sometimes painful ways. But if I'm going in the way I'm supposed to go, things will happen in surprisingly easy ways. I'll meet the right people, I'll find the right books, and I'll say the right things
But though the world is on my side, the world isn't what's really on my side. The world is a theater. Every person, book, website, idea, or tree is a part played by something more real than it, something spiritual. The relationship between the spiritual world and our lives is the same relationship as between an actress and the character she plays.
‘Each grain of sand,Every stone on the land,Each rock and each hill,Each fountain and rill,Each herb and each tree,Mountain, hill, earth, and sea,Cloud, meteor, and star,Are men seen afar.' - William Blake, "To Thomas Butts"
In each "tender mercy" that pops up in your life, whether a smile from a stranger or a book that tells you just what you need to hear, there are "spiritual actors" doing their work in it. When that person smiled at you, they may not have known what they were doing, but you can bet that angels were subtly pushing her to help you in that way. Even chance meetings on the sidewalk are managed by those angels working together to help you. This means that you play a part in the "spiritual drama" as well. Though your conscious mind doesn't know even a tenth of what's going on, it "portrays" the purposes of angels in the actions you deliberately choose to do. Your good deeds are the deeds of higher, wiser beings than you.
And even these angels are "characters." Like a play within a play, the angelic actors that play in our skins are also "acted out" by a higher being: the divine fire of love, what some call God.
I say móre: the just man justices;Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not hisTo the Father through the features of men's faces. - Gerard Manley Hopkins, "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"
Your life is a dance. This dance shows up in each "role" you play; it is the dance between you and the fire within every being, the fire you are, but which you have forgotten you are. This fire of God is like the man who, flinging you out as the woman, separates itself from you only to see you better. This fire loves you - it delights in you, finds every part of you infinitely wonerful. And the to-and-fro movement of that dance helps each rejoice in both the ecstasy of union and the delight of the gaze that can only come when you stand apart. Both positions are needed. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a dance.
This dance plays out in every moment of your life. Every time you are shown a tender mercy - in each smile, each synchronicity, each inspiring word - the divine fire is revealing itself to you. The parts are becoming transparent to the love that plays them; you are remembering who you are, or, to put it in another way, who you belong to. The dance is to and from that fire: toward the ecstatic oblivion of love and from it to the consciousness of being yourself. For we can't be under any illusions: the life you are living - with all its faults, flaws, and weaknesses - is desired. The divine fire within you wanted it. But since that fire also wants what you want, and since you long for its flame wherever it shows itself, the divine shows itself to you.
Like two lovers meeting, the love within our heart merges with the love within the world. And in this meeting we realize that it is the same love: we are a part of the same oneness flowing into different forms and yet remaining one. Love shows us the illusion of separation and reveals the meaning of the interconnectedness that is all around us. Love can show us the patterns within life and what they mean. As love flows from form to form it leaves a trace of its source, a trace which we can see with the eye of the heart. This trace is the meaning of his love, the underlying purpose of life. When we recognize it, we become awake and directly participate in life's knowing of itself. -Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, "Spiritual Power: How it Works"
There is a love deeper than words, deeper than thought, deeper than perception. We long for it in all our desires, though we almost never realize what we want. That love is our Being, and that Being desires us as the flawed people we are. But that love isn't just in your heart. It is within everyone, in everything, but it hides itself from you both inside and outside because it doesn't want to hurt you. But if you purify yourself, making yourself a clean and bright vessel, the fire of love can show itself to you in a way you never thought possible. Your Being will become transparent to you. You will see the love in all things that loves you more than life itself. And you will realize the innocent, blissful joy that plays in everything that happens to you.
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.