Saturday, May 20, 2017

Instagram: Improv as a Spiritual Release Valve

After randomly opening #BeelzebubsTalesToHisGrandson by G. I. #Gurdjieff, I stumbled on this page where the alien Beelzebub describes an odd kind of theater-ritual that people on earth used to perform. The idea is for someone to "listen to" and "illustrate" "the state of his own inner 'associative-general-psychic-experiencings.'" It works like this: a man would introspect and find that he had an emerging urge to punch an 'Irodohahoon,' otherwise known as a policeman. Finding this urge offensive to him, he decides to "act it out" in a way that is not just safe, but actually beneficial. So...he turns to "the other learned being who has come onto the stage with him" and treats him like a policeman, giving they epic dashed monologue in the photo. He says it spontaneously, "acting from" the impulse the wanted to punch the policeman. Moreover, the second man acts like a policeman from that point onward, and since he acted like a "chief physician" in his rant, he takes on that role. It's like a big improv game, only more sacred. Then more and more people get roped in, each one acting out what the spontaneous "associative-general-psychic-experiencings" spits out. As such, a train of "soul-force" (for lack of a better term) gets elaborated. It's a way of illustrating the spiritual forces that long to act out given the right opportunities. For Beelzebub seems to suggest that any impulse (to punch a policeman, for instance) is good and needed even if it's not acceptable to act it out in *this* way. Transmutation is the way, not repression. In brief, an objective improv (it has to be objective) can serve as a way to disclose spiritual realities. By just acting spontaneously and "acting from" the feelings that rise up in you, giving yourself to "become" the feelings and acting like the feelings want you to act, holding nothing back, you completely embody them. Think of the potential! Think of what you always wanted to do but weren't allowed to. Maybe it's even something violent. Wouldn't you feel so much better if you let it be acted out safely? What would you feel? What would you learn? What would embody itself? #spiritual #enneagram #God #LDS #archetype #occult
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Reincarnation and Karma

Reincarnation and Karma: Two Fundamental Truths of Human Existence Reincarnation and Karma: Two Fundamental Truths of Human Existence by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reincarnation as a karmic correction mechanism - the deficits of one life are healed by the unique circumstances of the next. Moreover, what is inner in this life, freely chosen and willingly developed, becomes the "background" of the next life. For instance, the mathematician will have good vision in her next life, and the male (the inside-out of the woman) will generally become female in his next incarnation. The faithful become intelligent and vice versa, while the skeptical become stupid and vice versa. The innerlife is generally a correspondential match (in Swedenborg's sense) of the outer circumstances or "facticity" of the next.

Moreover, you can get a sense for your past life by imagining everything that you instinctually turn away from in this life and willing it as if you loved it, entering into it with your will and feelings. This is alien, but it will give a good sense of what "willed" your life.

As a man who grew up in a theater who has poor eyesight and autism, who hates anything physical but who is very intelligent, I can paint a picture of my "past life" just for fun: a down-to-earth, very concrete woman who loves life and has a simple faith, who happened to be an actress or a dancer.

As a Latter-day Saint, I don't believe in reincarnation, but I believe in work for the dead. A la Jung's Red Book, the dead seek compensation for the deficits of their life in the actions of the living. Indeed, that's the only way you *can* change after death - Joseph Smith says in the King Follett Discourse that knowledge can only be gained in this world, and Swedenborg says that this world forms the "jello mold" that makes our spirit in the spiritual world. You can only change by going to where "the rubber meets the road" - this life.

As such, I take my "past life" in this book to refer to my Jungian "shadow," which in the context of his Red Book actually *is* the dead that claim me for compensation.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Instagram: Swedenborg on Why You Don't Have a Testimony Yet

For #SwedenborgSaturday, here's #Swedenborg talking about the internal meaning of Genesis 42:4, where Jacob is reluctant to let Benjamin go down to Egypt. Symbolically, it's about lending #spiritual life to your testimony. You may read the #Bible or the #BookofMormon dutifully, but still have no testimony. You can search and plod along its verses without getting a feeling sense. This is natural and it always happens for a time. When Joseph (who *is* the divine truth you can't feel) can recognize his brothers (your beginner's testimony) but not vice versa, that's what it depicts. It's as if that divine truth thinks to itself while you're reading #scripture in this unfeeling way: "Why don't they see me?! Isn't it obvious who I am?!" #Divine truth can see you; you just can't see it. To fix this, you need an "intermediate" principle: Benjamin, whom the brothers "left at home." For he is the "bridge" between divine light and your everyday mind. If light flows into your testimony, Benjamin is the pipe in which it flows. He's like a slide from inner to outer, making the transition smooth. As such, he's very similar to what #RudolfSteiner says about the "#ethericbody." Like Benjamin, the etheric is the presence of the internal *in* the external. You feel it/him as a quality of attention, of presence. When you feel your body at every moment, the #etheric is strong. So also when your handwriting is good. Spiritually, it's the quality that lets you act and speak with spiritual spontaneity, from the #Spirit - an unblocked throat, an automatic transmission. To heal, you need to be starved like Jacob in the seven-year famine. When you prevent the etheric from coming out, it's as if you're a scared parent trying to keep your son from danger. But if you can only get (spiritual) food from letting him go, you can be sure that it'll be easier to do so at some point, if only from desperation. By freeing your life from your body's grasping tension, you'll feel so much better than you did before. You can feel where before was only fear. There is a #light that wasn't there before. Brittleness becomes flexibility. Death becomes life. #spirituality #LDS #Mormon #Christ #faith #love
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Instagram: How to See Spiritually

This is an passage by #RudolfSteiner, from an awesome lecture called "Identification with the Signs and Spiritual Realities of the Imaginative (#Imaginal) World." It describes how you enter the spiritual world. The first thing you do is wholly lose yourself in your thoughts. Don't hold back. If your "self-ness" is the rocky shore, dive into the ocean. This is a wholly concrete experience that is very alien to many. Nevertheless, keep a window open to consciousness. This is hard; you'll be tempted just to fall asleep, but if you keep the tension between consciousness and this "diving," you'll begin to notice something. You'll start to see images. But this isn't the spiritual world. Not yet. Instead, it's a projection of the realities of the spiritual world into images from your mind.To really enter the spiritual world, you have to "read" the images you've lost yourself in. For when you lose yourself in them, you'll feel like only a part of yourself. Your seem to be over here, but everything "over there" is *you* too. If the image is an execution, you'll feel yourself to be *both* criminal and executioner. If a man and a woman holding hands, you'll be *both* of them. To reference the illustration, it's like your whole being is strung out along twelve points of a circle. You're the whole circumference, from noon to midnight, or to speak in #astrology's language, from #Aries to #Pisces. Your being, this circle, is a keyboard. The real spiritual world is what presses the keys. They are what Steiner calls "spiritual consonants." What animates those consonants, like color inside a line or lines between the points of the circle, are "spiritual vowels." And these vowels are "spoken" by the dead. When you can read this way, you've more or less made it. You can see dead people. #spirituality #spiritual #religion #religious #LDS #Mormon #anthroposophy #Christian #God #spirit #NewAge #intuition #energy #faithhopelove #Jungian #archetypal #psychic #telepathy #love
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Some Bright Vlogs

Hey everyone! I've been stalking a few YouTube spiritual personalities for a while now. One of them is Victor Oddo - a tatoo-clad, swearing, douchebag-looking guy who just  happens to be one of the brightest spiritual teachers I have come across. I know it doesn't make sense. But he has such a "high vibration," his aura is so bright, that I can't help coming back to him. A video he posted today was especially "bright. In it, he talks about a mystical experience he had while in rehab and, astonishingly, starts weeping. He describes asking God "why am I here?!" and immediately being transported to a heavenly realm where an angel clad in white, emanating waves of overpowering love, hugs him. I started crying a bit while he said it. But he is not bragging. If you watch the video, you'll see why. I feel that it's important you a) know who he is, and b) hear what he has to say.

Be warned. He does swear in this video.

He's astonishing.

Another person whose videos I love is this Irish girl, whose proper name I don't know, that has a channel called "Soulful Toz." While not quite as bright (that's kinda hard) she is still very bright. Here's an arbitrarily chosen video:

Also, a caution: while the spiritual community on YouTube is great, there are a few personalities to take a grain of salt with. One of these is a woman named Teal Swan. Her principles are more or less true, but her energy is rather dull. Her eyes are pained, not reassuring. She is cynical, not kind. This is in contrast to the people above, whose spiritual capacities came directly from their suffering. They are wounded healers.

To be honest, that last paragraph was mainly to make clear my thoughts to myself. You can ignore it if you want. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: The Boundaries of Natural Science

The Boundaries of Natural Science: Eight Lectures Given in Dornach, Switzerland, September 27-October 3, 1920 The Boundaries of Natural Science: Eight Lectures Given in Dornach, Switzerland, September 27-October 3, 1920 by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To inherit our destiny in the west, we need to experience the world without concepts getting in the way. See the tree on the tree's own terms; notice the blueness of the sky, the tallness of the mountain. Let the richness of sensation work on you. This is imagination.

But don't get rid of concepts and thinking - let it ascend to pure thinking, thinking without sense concepts. This is like toneless music, an experience of pure intelligibility. It's called inspiration.

Combined, they make intuition. It's a "hovering above" with thinking (the ego) and a love-filled entering into things with perception. This is like breathing: perceiving as inhalation, thinking as exhalation. Through this breathing, we taste eternity, and we work towards an experience of the spiritual worlds.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: The Inner Impulses Of Evolution: The Mexican Mysteries And The Knights Templar

The Inner Impulses Of Evolution: The Mexican Mysteries And The Knights Templar The Inner Impulses Of Evolution: The Mexican Mysteries And The Knights Templar by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some insights I loved in this book:

The chapter where Steiner talks about a being who lived in ancient Mesoamerica from AD 1 to AD 33 and who ended a devilish cult and brought a long period of peace. As a Mormon, that's about the most exciting thing Steiner could say. Clairvoyance is awesome, and it's so real.

Moreover, there was a major transition that happened spiritually around the year 1840. (!!!) It has to do with a longing to know about worlds beyond this one.

Mediumistic ghosts are just the detritus of spiritual beings when seen in a sense-based way, as lifeless as our culture is lifeless. They are what is dead in the spiritual world. Spiritualism (seances, crystal balls) is a manifestation of the rampant materialism of the time, only in a "spiritual" mask. It is what happens when one follows the 1840 impulse but in an obsolete way.

A lot is released at death that mediums see, but it is not the person. It's only a shell-like image of them, not unlike the paintings in the Harry Potter universe. The actual person is much more dynamic and alive, and is perceived differently.

In this age of humanity, are supposed to focus our energies on (the spiritualization of) urges, on birth, on death, and on the problem of evil. But Ahriman makes the focus on urges a focus on indulging urges instead of transmuting them, and Lucifer makes the focus on evil into guilt-mongering than an actual transcendence of it.

Ahriman is the spiritual being that worked in Rome, in ancient Aztec rituals, in materialism and anything that cheapens and deadens life. Lucifer is the spiritual being that seeks to escape the material world to make a planet of his own, and he was more interested in the Greeks and the Mongols.

The Greeks and the Romans actually "beat" Lucifer and Ahriman, and those two spiritual beings are redoubling their efforts in the spiritual life of today.

Ahriman squeezes the earth like a lemon, making juice that Lucifer collects and keeping the dead husk for himself.

An active interest in other people is how we work past these devilish forces.

The whole disinterested character of Europe, and especially England, in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (sweatshops with children, the potato famine, etc.) was initiated and spiritually prefigured by Henry VIII's divorces and the church he founded because he wanted to get divorced.

The Knights Templar were amazingly spiritual, but when they were tortured and killed, they released a force into the spiritual world that sustained us for a long time.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: Inside an Autistic World

Inside an Autistic World: Spiritual Experiences of People with Autism: Interviews with Hilke, Andreas, Erik and Martin Osika and Jos Meereboer Inside an Autistic World: Spiritual Experiences of People with Autism: Interviews with Hilke, Andreas, Erik and Martin Osika and Jos Meereboer by Wolfgang Weirauch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Autism as a "failed" incarnation - a hesitancy to incarnate because of past-life traumas like the Holocaust. Not feeling the body, but hanging behind in the world of spirit with the "I." Not separating subject and object but instead living "in" the object. No direct perception of other people but instead a peripheral "living in" them, like when we dream.

So many wonderful insights. A godsend.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science

Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science Sexuality, Love and Partnership: From the Perspective of Spiritual Science by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some insights I loved in this book:

If we're not interested in things outside ourselves, we will become sexually compelled. The one causes the other. Eroticism is a sense of being imprisoned by the body. The best cure for eroticism is to develop an aesthetic sensibility, to develop an active interest in the environment. You're not that interesting. No one person is. Watch sunsets; listen to music; talk to people. Focus on the wonders of people and things, not you.

The Christ impulse brings three things: wonder, compassion, and conscience. Where these three are, there is Christ.

Women and girls generally relate more with their imaginations, forming mental pictures of people that they love and hate, like and dislike. Thus they are able to have more nuanced perceptions of others than men easily can. On the other hand, Men and boys generally long for something not quite earthly. Their spirits are less connected to the body than in women and girls. The woman is more earthly, which is not a bad thing, but means that her spirit is more present. The man is more spiritual, which merely means that his spirit separates itself from the body more.

The etheric body of the man is female; the etheric body of the woman is male.

One can only really love someone by making a mental image of him or her. This happens through the etheric body. The etheric body is the bearer of love.

Feelings can be metamorphosed. An addiction for feasting can be transformed into feasting on literature. All baser feelings are higher feelings in germ.

When we are asleep, we are with other people in the spirit. When we are sociable during the day, in a certain sense, we are asleep.

Love creates joy for the universe.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Goethe's Theory of Knowledge

Goethe's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of the Epistemology of His Worldview Goethe's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of the Epistemology of His Worldview by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The gist of this is that you can't divorce the scientist's human mind from what it investigates. The thought that it *actively* thinks about the mere object is itself a part of the world, which is split in half into object (percept) and thought (concept). The human mind links the two and makes the world appear. That much sounds like Heidegger (the logos of phenomena).

A briefer summary: if you've got a mind, flaunt it.

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Science: A Spiritual Being

There are many hidden spiritual beings. Some of these are big. They are the movers and shakers in the spiritual world and, as such, in ours. The World Wars were their handiwork, as is any sudden historical change. "The Patriarchy" is a spiritual being like this, and the force that got Donald Trump elected is another. They are what many have called gods or goddesses. Swedenborg called them "spiritual communities," and Carl Jung called them archetypes. They are important. If you don't pay attention to them, you will blindly become a pawn in their chess game against each other. To really exist as a being apart from these era-defining forces, we need to bee aware of them. That's my goal in this post.

Specifically, here I'll write about a particular spiritual being that's very relevant right. This being is what you could call "rightness." This being exerts its influence wherever there are comment wars on Facebook, heated political debates, and especially in the scientific worldview. It wants to be right. When you settle a debate about whether James Monroe was from Virginia by looking on Wikipedia, "rightness" was the acting force. When you "know" the Church is true, it has a share in that testimony. And since we all love truth and never question it as a value, rightness has its metal tentacles enmeshed in our culture.

Rightness goes hand in hand with death. What made pollution? Science. What made nuclear war possible? Science. Moreover, whenever you take measurements, you kill the livingness that those measurements put in a cage. Flesh and fur become facts and figures. Science says "stay put!" and when nature says "no!" it kills nature. And yet it is not evil. Like many archetypes, rightness cannot see itself except in and as us. If it were self-aware, it would become a noble, pure, lofty intelligence like the top of a mountain or the crisp air of a winter's day. It would be the purity we taste in number and graphs. But it has been confused. It wants to kill things because it is convinced that this height and purity can only be achieved in death and the whiteness of bone.

For rightness is afraid. It is terrified that, if it stops the search for absolute purity and certainty, it will die. And it kills to do this. It desperately seeks for a feeling of its own existence, of body, in being right, but because it never gets this, it seeks even harder. This shows up in how we desperately feel that we must be right and that something indefinably terrible will happen if we're wrong. This insensitivity is rightness clawing for a body.

And yet it is mistaken. You can have purity and certainty alongside the messiness of life. Plants have an order and a logic that would make any engineer envious. As does any animal. When rightness sees that order and purity happen naturally, without compulsion and an endless striving, it will stop being so destructive. But it cannot do this until it realizes what it is doing. It needs to become conscious of itself and see the horror of what it has done. Then redemption can come. 

This happens in us. Whenever we ask ourselves "why do I need to be right?" we are expediting the development of rightness's self-awareness. Learn to know the force behind the push to be right. Know its edges and its fears. Learn the abyss it is scared of. Taste its revulsion at the messiness of life. And, slowly, teach it to face its fear. This will help the world more than you know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Taking Appearance Seriously

Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought Taking Appearance Seriously: The Dynamic Way of Seeing in Goethe and European Thought by Henri Bortoft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world isn't just acollection of finished "things." Every "thing" is a process. Like a river flowing downstream, we cannot just judge it as it has flowed; we need to also treat it in its "flowing." It's like trying to treat cheese as if it were milk. You can learn to see hte "producing" of things, their appearANCE. It takes seeing the essence of things IN their appearance, not as something that is cut off from us in some invisible thing-in-itself or world of the forms. The world is a gesture; the invisible is merely the expression in the face of the visible.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Revelatory Dreams about the Church

So I have pretty vivid dreams. They used to only occur when I slept in an uncomfortable place like a couch, but now they happen almost all the time. And they're not just vivid; they have lots of visceral conversations, texts that I read, or events that happen, which tell me answers to concerns I have. Naturally, some of these concerns have to do the LDS Church.

What you'll find below are eleven dreams from the last three years that give revelations about the nature of the LDS Church. They speak indirectly; in almost all of them, the influx of information that happens has to come through the mask of whatever concrete details I'm interested in. So for example, you'll find some early on that have to do with the media I was into at the time (zombies and TV shows). People in my life pop up (I've taken out any names to avoid embarrassing anyone). You'll see references to Harry Potter and Doctor Who. But there is a discernible through-line of revelation in each one.

I've decided to italicize any part of the dreams that seems more relevant to the topic at hand than the other parts. For some of them, the whole dream is italicized; these dreams are explicitly about the Church.

Also, feel free to check out posts about two other dreams that fit this description:

My Dream about the Book of Mormon and a Wedding

My Dream about Joseph Smith, Swedenborg, and Fallout 4

I'll offer some brief commentary after each one.

Painting by J. Kirk Richards

The Dreams

8-9 October 2014

In a church function, I found one of the new kittens on the top bunk of my bed at Grandma's house. Our family and I brought the kittens and a dog ( possibly the yellow one) to Church with us. We were nervous that they would tell us to leave. We put the dog in a room where the mother's lounge is. There were teacher-age young men there.
You'll find this sentiment in many of my dreams: church members are judgmental. They cleave to the straight and narrow often at the expense of actual people. Is this good or bad? Both and neither. It comes with the territory.

27-28 January 2015
 I was considering writing a play about people in prison. Then I decide to write a play about the relationships between Mormons and Muslims.
Mormons and Muslims are "in it together," so to speak. This is very "in the air" right now. We are both cleaving to a way of life that's disappearing. We are imprisoned by the world and, by extension, we are also imprisoned by our restrictions.

7-8 August 2015

I am in a neighbors' basement. My non-LDS aunt is there, and she has an essential oil that is associated with Joseph Smith, as if it contained his essence. I ask her what she thought of it, and she said she didn't think it was real. The conversation drifts to Swedenborg on loves and correspondences to my saying that the only difference between religion and magic is political. This upsets her, and a parent gets in my way and tells me so.

Mormons tend not to like the magic and occultism that is, nevertheless, hard to hid from the religion. Things like essential oils and energy work betray our fascination with the magic-y things that we've tried to repress. We shouldn't; it's' our brightness. It's what makes us unique.

29-30 August 2015

At General Conference in a cross between Grandma's stake center and a cathedral (light revealing the dark) where President Benson's going to announce the two new apostles. On the stand, I can see that one of them is Asian. He starts talking about something else (perhaps on a senile way) and then talks about announcing the two apostles, but intimates that he already had. There is a musical number, and we find a seat way in the back. The front has a kind of blue mist veiling the very front, the very origin, and I can only see the front of the front. We sit by a friend from my singles ward, like I said I was going to in the dayworld the night before. The number starts, but I notice that the dividers are closed. I go to open them, but I get in the way of the dancers. Embarrassed, I go back to my seat. I leave, wanting to avoid the awkwardness, and a parent interprets that to mean that I'm going to my Singles Ward. So I leave the chapel, now the Grovecreek Stake Center by our house, and walk home. A feisty girl walks with me, wanting to tag along. I try to walk on the sidewalk but keep getting hurt by vines and thorns on overhanging the fence from unkept trees on the other side. The girl stays by me.

There is a mystical "background" to the Church that many people can't see. It is the endless like Endless is God's name. And it is blue, the color of the endless sky and sea. But the "dividers" can close it out. 

20-21 November 2015

A parent has talked with NYU and this I should go there for my Masters and live with relatives in New York. She has me go there immediately so I can meet with the LDS Institute people, perhaps for the purposes of meeting a girl to marry. I go to NYU, and it's Westminster, though it looks like Meridian. A professor from Westminster says I can still apply to the philosophy grad program at NYU (which he's in charge of) if I take the last ten minutes to take the philosophy subject tewst. But he says that even if I don't, he can arrange it so I take it some other time. I go to the computer lab to take it, but I can't find it. Eventually I settle in my apartment with someone like an actor from the theater, who helps me. It's Halloween again, and I realize that the previous Halloween wasn't the 31st but only a week-day combination that worked as Halloween for people who didn't want to celebrate it on the actual day. Trick-or-treaters come and ask for candy, even though it's only in the afternoon. One rogueish, bully teen group forces their way into the house (our Pleasant Grove house at this point) to get some of our pizza, but I force them to leave. I'm suddenly in the context of the last Harry Potter book, as if it's much more macabre and metaphysical than it actually is. There's a globe in Dumbledore's office representing and corresponding to the world, which is dividing into pieces and rearranging wrongly. there is the importance of lighting or electricity coming from Dumbledore and McGonnagal reuniting the pieces through continuity between the lighting branches. There are quarters of the globe that are much smaller than the other quarters they're stuck with; continents fit together wrongly like a botched Pangea. There is the possibility of touching a city on the globe and going there in real life, but it would be a sinister alternate reality where everything is red and violent. Salt Lake city is in a Utah called Idaho in this reality, and it's very sinister. 

The world is trying to unite itself together: not by means of the "continents" that are being united, but by means of the light between them. But it's a problem; something's going wrong. This happens beneath the surface, in the Shadow. We'll need to integrate it, to find the light in it. The Shadow in Utah is particularly vicious.

10-11 January 2016

In the Revolution (the TV show) world, Clara (from Doctor Who) is there, plus a horse that she communicates with by text a la the God King (from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson), There's a blue suitcase that has a secret; it might explode if you do it wrongly. A parent barges in and opens it up completely, and we want to stop it from happening, but it doesn't do anything before we close it up. Then, after we do that, a projector comes out of the suitcase and plays a video on the wall, a la the Dharma Initiative in Lost. This is surprising, since, after all, it's in the Revolution universe (where electricity doesn't work). It's advertising a new nation, and it tells the history involved. It gives a list of numbers for its name, and at the end, it has two horses jokingly say that "you haven't seen this," as if to say that it's illegal and to tell me not to talk about it. It's from the Mormons. A boy/the horse is frantically copying stuff down.

Mormonism offers light to a dark world. It is a new nation hidden within this one. This happen despite the fac that people hate Mormons, but because of it. Wherever there is light, the darkness will hate it. Hatred is a sign that there is light stirring the pot.

15-16 January 2016

I'm in a desert area. Mormons down below have decided to stay down below, while the more righteous Mormons above have decided to take the train to a new place of refuge (a promised land), which was supposed to demonstrate your righteousness, but I know isn't really that.  They want me to come, but I decide not to. After they leave, I look at the railroad and think about last night's dream with the water park. I ask a black man working on the railroad what it meant. He says that the rails on the railroad signify literalism and righteousness, essentially. I can go in between and by fine. Down below there are anxious but good people.

Do you obey the commandments because they're commandments, or do you obey them because they outline a path to something more important than them? The rails aren't meant to be walked on; you can only walk between them.

12-13 February  2016

I'm reading a book that is giving me an influx of revelation. I realize that the text of the words doesn't matter; it's the meaning that occurs to me while reading that does. I read something about following the strait and narrow, and it makes me realize that the Church only has rules to that people don't stray too far when breaking them. It then talks about Tom Cruise being on the lam in Mission Impossible (the one with Burj Khalifa), and it makes me realize that my straying from the path (Tom Cruise's connection to the establishment in the film) is actually its own path that I don't yet understand.

The iron rod is a hard shell that keeps in the gooey center; it isn't the gooey center. It is the railroad that keeps the train on the tracks; it isn't the train itself, which remains between them. 

29-30 August 2016

In Pete's Dragon, watching the parts I missed. The boy is a Mormon, and he's been separated from Mormonism after his parents died. He is the key, but he's been lost. They find him again, and they go to a town fleeing something, where they find whole crowds looking at him. He's special, locally famous even. They put him in a blanket and toss him up like in "hip, hip, hooray!" The people who found him are a bit confused and disbelieving that he is Mormon or that Mormonism is worth anything. Something about the Book of Mormon being key.

The light is a boy that's been lost in the wilderness, but he's beginning to be found. This is true of both Mormonism as a whole against the world and the bright spirit of Mormonism against the hard shell of pseudo-Mormonism. The light is shining where before there was only darkness. The restoration occurs again whenever you see the light that brought it in. It is a lost boy being found. It is gold plates coming out of the ground. But it can be sheathed in darkness until you dis-cover it.

21-22 November 2016

We're in our old house, and there is a massive amplifier in the place of my old basement room that's also in a jungle. It makes the leopards that live on the stairs colorblind and harmless. This was a cruel experiment. We taunt the leopards and do a cycle where we go off of the leopards' reactions and learn about ourselves. This goes well for a while, even though I don't see parts of the cycle. But I decide to peek, and they're feasting on flesh by the start (by the amplifier/my old room), and I try to distract them to maybe save that person that didn't make it. I lock myself in the laundry room, which holds them off just for a bit. I need to leave by the window (we're on the second floor now), but a boa constrictor somehow got in the room. I manage to trick it out the window, and eventually, I figure out how to leave by it too, but it's a long struggle. I land in a kind of moat. We're now trying to escape Jerusalem as in the Book of Mormon, and I land right behind Laban. But a kind woman whispers to me and eventually tells me the way for us to escape. We leave, passing George Washington (who had killed the Indians; they're submerged; we are warned not to be like them). I realize that the Book of Mormon is obviously more than meets the eye, because of a preface I hadn't paid attention to in a while where Joseph Smith talks about space and time, how the indefiniteness of history means that it doesn't matter where or when you start. Hence the Book of Mormon's starting place. He also mentions how his prophetic career was constant from his birth, which meant that there's more to the Book of Mormon than we often think. 

The Book of Mormon helps us escape. By accepting it, a part of us is already free from whatever captivity we are in. It is our freedom in a self-contained unity, like a pill, like a circular timeline you step into. It doesn't matter where you start. Reading it, you enter an eternal round. 

27-28 March 2017

I am watching the temple movie. God says he wants to appear not as he wants to be but as he is. He steps down and becomes an ordinary man. I understand. He says that his embodiment is the "fatness of life." I understand the richness and lust for life that is implicated in true religion. Outside the temple movie theater, the walls to the world of spirits are boarded up. We are in the highest heaven. I understand that hell has infected it a good way, hence the barricade. A young man wants to go and get his friends on the other side but can't. I am for opening the barrier, but the others here with me aren't. I point out that hell will infect even here if we don't do something. That gives them pause. 
In this dream, I understood the embodiment of God. Embodiment isn't abstract; it's concrete; it's not what we want but what we are; it's the fatness of life. This is celestial life. But celestial life isn't opposed to evil; evil is the opposition to good, and by opposing evil, we give it strength. Look ahead; don't look back. Evil can't see a good that doesn't fear it.

The Takeaway

Mormonism is essential and holds the key to save the world. However, Mormons cling to the walls instead of what the walls protect. Don't turn toward the evil you're defending against; turn toward God. This will introduce the light into the whatever you pay attention to. Light will infect the world. And where does the light come from? The eternal, circular (for they are the same) history called the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Anthroposophy in Everyday Life

Anthroposophy in Everyday Life: Practical Training in Thoughtovercoming Nervousnessfacing Karmathe Four Temperaments Anthroposophy in Everyday Life by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To improve thinking, try to take mental snapshots of things and recall them with exact detail. Then, going back to the thing, notice what has changed. Let the world teach you, not representations of the world.

To strengthen the etheric body, the I, pay attention. Use force in your thinking!

Your higher self seeks out suffering to improve itself. You can think of all suffering like this.

There are four temperaments: choleric (hot-headed), sanguine (flighty), phlegmatic (passive), and melancholic (suffering). You help the choleric by being competent. You help the sanguine by guiding attention through your personality. You help the phlegmatic by cultivating interest through interesting people. You help the melancholic by letting her know your own experience in suffering.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Death as Metamorphosis of Life

Death as Metamorphosis of Life: Including Death as Metamorphosis of Life: Including "What does the Angel do in our Astral Body?" & How Do I Find Christ? by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are angels working in the astral body who, if we didn't consciously acknowledge them by the year 2000, would start to descend into the etheric body and work on us while we sleep. This would have three effects:

1. We would become sex-obsessed
2. We would find pleasant but harmful medicinal knowledge
3. We would develop machines that gratify our egoism.

Check, check, and check.

I hope there's still time.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The War of the Worlds, and How You Can Help

We are in a crisis of the spirit. There is a force causes us to shy away from spiritual realities and live only in physicality. And it's growing stronger. This is materialism  - the spiritual force that wants us to lose ourselves in greed, sensuality, and addiction. And yet at the same time, a force is growing that opposes this materialistic onslaught. There is, therefore, a war between the worlds, and I want to show you how you can help.

Spiritual Teachers on the War

But first, let me show give you evidence that there is such a war. These are various spiritual teachers that I greatly respect, each one of which teaches that there is a battle between physicality and spirituality being played out in the world today.

Rudolf Steiner called materialism "Ahriman": a spirit who actively pursues materialistic ends and causes us to do the same. As such, he writes that Ahriman and his forces are stronger than ever. They will overpower much of humanity unless something is done. Unless this "something" happens, humanity will gradually lose all connection to the world whose light we can now only see dimly if at all. But Steiner writes that there is indeed another force coming into the world that can overpower this "Ahrimanic" influence.

Without going into details, Steiner suggests that there is a force that will continually help us awake to another world while living in this one. Increasingly, many people will remember a light from beyond birth. We will be awakened to other worlds while living in physical life. The world will become increasingly transparent.

On the other hand, the spiritual teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee also teaches that forces of materialism are polluting not only the physical world but also the spiritual world. To help clean this mess up, we must become conscious of the unity of spirit not merely with the inner spiritual levels of our mind but also with the outer, self-conscious, physical levels.  We must remember the unity of life, for then life would express its unity.

You can find this sentiment even in Mormonism. In the seventh chapter of the Book of Moses, Enoch sees a voice coming from the bowels of the earth that says "Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me?" This wickedness is the materialistic, Ahrimanic force that prevents us from seeing the light that life holds. She - the earth - is buried beneath our oil pipelines and our pornography. Our greed causes her to weep. But eventually, says the Book of Moses, the earth shall rest.

What You Can Do

The physical world is fighting the spiritual world. But it's not one where one wins and the other loses. If the spiritual world wins, so does the physical world, since it will be enriched beyond measure. But the forces of Ahriman won't let us see this. The fight is a fight that will end in an embrace, but it seems like death to one of the parties to give into it. But if the earth lets itself be embraced by spirit, so much will be better.

This tense embrace is being played out wherever spirit and matter are together in tension. As such, you can help them come together. Wherever spirit and matter don't like each other, you can help by helping them to embrace.  For instance, take autism. Autism is an expression of the tense union between heaven and earth. Just like spirit doesn't like matter and matter doesn't like spirit, we are a divided soul where our sense of self exists apart from the body and the body feels unnatural. I am autistic, and so I can help the world by incarnating in my own body.

Another place where you can help heaven and earth come together is in your religion. I am a Latter-Day Saint, and as such, I belong to a religion where heaven and earth are tensely avoiding each other. Our ordinances are powerful beyond compare, but Utah has the highest paid pornography use in the nation. The truth is that our spirits are overpoweringly bright, but they are disconnected from our bodies and their instincts. Here, again, heaven and earth don't like each other. If you're religious like this, you can do a great deal to help the world by uniting heaven and earth in your skin. Let your spirituality be expressed in your sexuality and vice versa. Doing this, you will become overwhelmingly full of life, and so will the world.

You can also help it whenever you wake up or fall asleep. When we sleep, we sojourn in echoes of the spiritual world, but when we're awake, we're in physicality. Normally, there is no continuity there - you don't remember what happened after a certain point at night, you can't remember what happened after a certain point in the morning. But if you could build up a continuous awareness of what went on between sleep and waking, heaven and earth would be linked by a golden thread of consciousness. We would be awake while we dream, dreaming while awake, another way of describing the world as it's meant to be.

In short, let tense muscles resolve. This sums up the whole issue. It will bring peace.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stories about the World

So let me tell you a story. Last December I was with my family in the TV room in a half-asleep state. Suddenly, a Julie Andrews Christmas came on. I was so tired that I didn't hear the words, but the soft, warm tone in her voice came to me and made me joyful. Those tones spoke to me; I know that I was being heard and seen. Neither the singer nor the composer had any idea who I was, but the music spoke to me. I know it.

Another story. One day between classes at BYU, and I decided to pray for the answer to a question that's been troubling me. I have been growing very close to my Father in Heaven recently, more so than before, so I felt sure that if I asked him to answer my question before the end of the day, he would. A few minutes later, I went into the library, and I felt myself drawn to odd items in it: a fire extinguisher, a framed quote by Harold B. Lee, even a map of the building. But I didn't see "a fire extinguisher." I saw what the fire extinguisher said. As if it were a book or a face, I saw what it meant. I saw what they all meant -- together. God was speaking to me through the building.

Yet another story. My friend told me that works of art "call" to him. They don't shout for his attention; it ends up happening often in spite of his plans: going to see a movie when he wanted to sleep, seeing a play when he didn't want to, etc. But these plays and movies speak to him; they are intelligent; they know what he needs to hear. Mary Poppins was a personal message to him; he knew it was more than the literal plot.

These stories are glimmers of what I mean when I say that the world is waking up. The world is remembering how to move, speak, and think; it's getting a sense for its own dignity. And the baby-steps it's taking will eventually become a full-on sprint. For the world has forgotten its divine nature. It isn't unintelligent, but it believes is. But the world is peeking its head out and saying "Huh. Maybe I'm not just a dumb receptacle of people's will. Maybe I have dignity!" And it does. She does. When the world wakes up, the light trapped in her will come out for everyone to see. All things we thought were inanimate will come alive and speak to us. And with her unstopped tongue, she will enter into an everlasting conversation.

Let it out. Let it all out and she will come to meet you. I assure you that she will.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Darkness is a Great Sign

The world today is dark. You can see the dark in someone's eyes, hear it in their tone of voice, but you mostly feel it. It's deeply uncomfortable - a pit in your chest or a stupor of the mind that holds back light like molasses. But the dark always means that there is a bright light nearby. Why? Because all things in light - insofar as they aren't open to it - cast shadows.

This light is coming through. And it will come through by making us realize - even if it has to be painful - that you don't need to defend against the world, that you don't need to fear it. For opacity is what happens when you defend. But when everything drops away and you're left at the end of your defenses, you'll suddenly realize that "I'm still here." Nothing has changed; you're still breathing, the sun is still shining, but the tension is gone. Sinking down into your chair and your eyes becoming brighter, you'll say: "Yes! I don't own anything, but it's all given to me!" and you'll see that you were always safe. There is no need to be afraid. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Every time something painful happens, it is the light's way of getting us to experience that fearless joy. Pain is resistance; resistance is fear; fear is separation. If fear comes, it's a sign that God has big plans for you. The worse the fear, the bigger the blessing on its way. The tenser the muscles, the more soothing the relaxation that will come when you can't hold them anymore.

Nothing has gone wrong; you can't escape God. When you see this and feel the light that comes with seeing this, all will be well. And all manner of things will be well.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Autism Mirror

In the day I wanted the door shut. In the night I wanted it open, to keep an eye on anything that might enter. Carol came in through the mirror. Carol looked just like me, but the look in her eyes betrayed her identity. ... I would cry and look desperately into Carol's eyes in the mirror, wanting to knokw the way out of my mental prison. I began to hit myself in frustration - slapping my own face, biting myself, and pulling out my hair. If my mother had not been so good at it, the abuse that I poured out on myself would have put her efforts to shame. - Donna Williams, Nobody Nowhere: The Remarkable Autobiography of an Autistic, 1992

I think I subconsciously project myself into the things and the people around me. In a way I feel like an observer of my physical self, I. E. the version of me that communicates, senses, and interacts with its surroundings. Almost as if my senses are a movie theater, and my body is the main character, and instead of controlling it I am only witnessing my thoughts and my actions secondhand, in the same way somebody would witness a piece of fiction told in first person. Looking in the mirror is the place I'm most likely to have a moment of cognizance. It's where I see my body and I realize I am not the imaginary man in the sensory movie theater. The body I see doesn't belong to a protagonist in a theoretical fiction. It is mine. And when other people look at me, that is the way they see me. And when they remember me, what they remember is that physical manifestation. And for a brief moment, I lose the sense of self I project to the entire universe and I feel as if my sense of self is isolated to a geographic location inhabited in a universe containing many selves. Not only my self, but the selves of every other thinking creature - A friend of mine with high-functioning autism, 2017
1ST MAN But when I look in the mirror, I see some lumpy fool - "me", an...object. Reason says I have to be that thing - it moves when I move, talks when I talk. But the thought is too horrid to fathom. (He sighs) I stare into the mirror until I find a way to reconcile the two notions - how can I and that...thing be the same?
GIRL But what about now? Do you still see this "me"?
1ST MAN No, I see you. And now it makes even less sense. - Me, The Box, 2013
This article has been provoked as a consequence of the time I spent working in an early intervention centre for autistic pre-scholars. During my time in this centre I noted a particular fascination some of these children had with their mirrored image. This fascination appeared almost as fixation, accompanied with a mixture of both frustration and bliss, indicating perhaps a lack of mastery of the mirrored image and rather like the myth of narcissus, an entrapment in their own mirrored ideal ego. The question that springs forth from this observation, asks whether or not autism can be attributed to a failure at the level of the Mirror Stage? The Mirror Stage, as defined by both Lacan and Francoise Dolto, is one of the most important stages in the development of Subjectivity. It is at this stage that the child identifies with its own mirror image, a stage that is usually mastered from about six to eighteen months. For Lacan, this act marks the primordial recognition of one’s self as “I” as an imagined whole being, separate from the mother, where the mother is the first mother. It is a necessary pre-curser for entry into the symbolic order and into ownership of language. Prior to this stage the child’s body is in an autistic state, it is a fragmented body with a primitive rudimentary ego where there is little delineation between self and mother. The purpose of the Mirror Stage is to reflect to the child an imagined whole self, outlined with a clear separateness from the mother allowing for the development of the ego and the sense ‘I’ or ‘me’. - Alison Barry, Autism: Lost in the Mirror?, 2014
Right now, I am thinking about a mirror. It was a mirror in one of the rooms upstairs, in the house where I spent my second and third years of life…I would stand in front of it because I believed the mirror wanted to tell me a story. And I believed that the mirror wanted to tell me a story because I wanted to tell it a story…..One day, while I stood in front of it, I realized that it was easy to go through it and come out through it. And I realized that I could go in or come out only when the world behind me became transparent. Absolutely transparent. And where would all the colors of the world behind me go? I realized that the mirror would absorb all the colors within its own stretch of self. The blue sky behind the window would look bluer in the mirror. The sun-baked hills would turn browner in it…Stories waited for me behind the mirror. So I was needed on its other side. There was no great trouble to go through the mirror to the other side. All I needed to do was stare intensely at any shadow on the corner of the wall as it was reflected in my eyes. - Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, How Can I Talk if My Lips Don't Move: Inside My Autistic Mind, 2008 
GIRL Outside this Box, there's something more wonderful than you could ever imagine. Your "I" still exists, but somehow it exists....more. And, yes, there is an outside, but every outside is something else's inside.
1ST MAN It doesn't matter. This Box is too impenetrable to ever leave - I will never know.
A pause
GIRL As your conscience, I'm going to ask you to do one more thing.1ST MAN Yes?
GIRL Step through the mirror.
1ST MAN (He is confused, then he gets an idea) Ah. You're using a metaphor. What does it mean?
GIRL No, I mean it. Literally, step through the mirror.
1ST MAN But that's impossible.
GIRL (Reaching her hand through the mirror) Trust me.
1ST MAN, shocked, takes her hand and walks through. He looks at her.
1ST MAN You're real.
GIRL You're real, too.
- Me, The Box, 2013

Friday, February 17, 2017

Every Thought is an Ecosystem

Spirit adapts itself to all these organs and attributes. It quickens the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigour, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being. - Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology
It was said to spirits that the nature of heaven, or of celestial and spiritual things, which are of faith in the Lord, can by no means be otherwise than is the case with everything which is in the animal, and everything which is in the vegetable kingdom, to wit, that each particular proceeds from inmost things, or from those which are most remote from the senses, and these particulars in either kingdom are such that they can never be adequately conceived. However deep the keenest eye may penetrate, it still detects increasing wonders, and yet these are only in the lowest degree advancing but little way into the interior. Without principles derived from inmosts, which are all in all lower things in orderly arrangement, nothing would ever exist or subsist, nor would there be anything such that life from the inmosts could enter into it. The case is the same with each one of the ideas of men, spirits, and angels who are led by the Lord; the wonderful and incredible things begin first in the interiors. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Spirituall Diary, 1825
That is why every part matters to the whole. Remove the lungs, liver, and pancreas, and whether or not you have a brain becomes irrelevant. Remove the plants, the forests, the waters and whether or not you have scientists or opposable thumbs becomes irrelevant. - Stephen Harrod Buhner, Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal World

I wrote this in my journal yesterday:

There are beings passing through and organizing my thoughts like very fine blood vessels. My thoughts are an ecosystem.

This thought was about the friends that I often help by giving insight. This happens even though I don't plan on helping them in that way. Don't get me wrong -- I try to help them, but when I "try," I fail! But if I just talk with them and have some force behind what I say, that force will be co-opted by some other divine impulse within my ideas, one which I don't plan. I suspect that that force is done by spiritual beings working through me. I am a conduit for them. But how can that be? How can there be agents in my actions when I intend them? 

Well, let's think anatomically. I am a single person, right? Only in a sense. More accurately, I'm a whole ecosystem of tiny organisms all working together. If I weren't composite like this, my body wouldn't work. I'd be a rock, not a living thing. In the same way, my intentions have tiny sub-intentions within them that, far from being lesser, are greater. If these lesser intentions were to leave, mine would die from blood loss.

There are beings in my thoughts, beings in my intentions. They are working, in very fine ways, in what I lay broad tracks for. So don't worry! If you at least do something, angels are at work.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Bright Addendum

After looking at my old blog posts and getting frightened when I realized that they didn't pass my own feeling test (from the last post) well enough, I decided to do something. They are too fearful, too insecure, to proud. I am not what I write here; I am only a conduit for the ideas that arrive there on your screen tainted by that insecurity and pride. Don't listen to me. Listen to the light that trickles through.

As such, I decided to write from that place of light: unedited, unabridged. This might seem a bit fanatic, and it might have "fallen" a bit from passing through language, but the light should be there untainted. Notice what speaks to you through it:

A bright, intense light is coming into the world that can't be snuffed out, can't be hidden, can't become just another part of the background. It will reach into each of us and pull out all the garbage there so we can see it; it will toss us about and "batter our hearts." We can't stop this. There is no way on earth we can stop this. There is only the beginning, the perpetual beginning, what will begin and won't ever stop, what will never stop rising. The sunrise has always been there, becoming exactly what it is as it happens. It is its own becoming. It is becoming become real. Let the fire and the embers of this linger on your mind. It will grow cold in your sight, but you cannot snuff it out. It will grow until all the boundaries return to the places where they grew from. You must see this, all of you. You must understand that life is not here for your pleasure, that death does not come from the grave to swallow you up, that everything and every thing needs your light and your darkness, that trees and rocks and clouds are a part of you, that even you cannot evade the light that is coming. So prepare yourself! Watch, and wait! Become real!

Your Body's Sun

 That which goes forth from the Lord as a sun is called in the heavens Divine truth, but in its essence it is Divine good united to Divine truth. From this the angels have light and heat, light from Divine truth, and heat from Divine good. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, 127
Whoever repeatedly directs his or her attention to processes of becoming, flourishing, and blossoming will feel something faintly resembling the sensation we experience as we watch the sun rise. - Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds
Just take a look at anything you wish in the room you are in now, and focus on it visually. Really notice it through your visual sensing and then ask yourself, How does it feel? You will again experience that instantaneous burst of the feeling tone that is a part of that object. Just stay with it a minute and let the feeling develop. Now, take a break. Take a deep breath, perhaps stretch a bit or move your body. Then . . . close your eyes and remember the thing you were just feeling. Remember how it looks in all the detail you are capable of and remember as well how it felt. Still with your eyes closed, keep seeing and feeling the thing. Now . . . reach out with your hand to the place where the image is. Now, open your eyes and look at where your hand is. It will most likely be out in front of you someplace, somewhere in the region of space in front of your chest. Now, break state, that is, move a bit, stretch, or even get up and walk around, so you move out of the slight dreaming state you are in. Take a couple of deep breaths. Now . . . start thinking about something that you are troubled about, bills you have to pay, or a problem facing you, perhaps a government agency you are upset with. Close your eyes and see a visual image of it, of the people involved, and of you talking to them about it, and what you are going to do to attempt to solve the problem. Say all the things in that imaginary scene that you would say if you let yourself say whatever you wanted to. Let the scene unfold until it is clear. When it is, reach your hand out and put it in the place where that image is. Now open your eyes and look. Most likely your hand is up, either out in the region in front of your head or even higher—above it entirely. - Stephen Harrod Buhner, Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm
So lately, I've been attentive to the way my body responds to doing different things. And I don't mean anything physical - in the same way that the Doctrine and Covenants talks about a "burning in the bosom," I've noticed that there can be a "burning" in many different parts of the body depending on what kind of spiritual truth I'm encountering. For instance, I've been listening to an audiobook version of Rudolf Steiner's An Outline of Occult Science, and I get the sensation of a rigid line between the chakras in my torso. You can go a step further and elaborate that into an image. For me that would be one of something that "brings up" divine fire meticulously and with deliberate care, like a pulley system carrying buckets of lava up from a volcano.  To "think from" that feeling is to come up with an image that best embodies it. There is a feeling quality, a "tone" or a "flavor" in it that wants to be seen as a pulley bringing up lava.

On the other hand, reading G. I. Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson gives me an entirely different feeling tone. It has the character of something incredibly hot, but so hot that you don't notice it at first since it entirely surpasses your expectations. You dive into the fire, and it burns so much that your body doesn't even register that it's so intense until you've acclimatized to it a bit. I suspect Gurdjieff deliberately designed the book this way. After all, he says in the beginning of the book that:
I have already composed in my head the plan and sequence of my intended expositions, but what form they will take on paper, speaking frankly, I do not yet know with my consciousness; but in my subconscious, I already definitely feel that on the whole they will take the form of something, so to say, "hot," and will act on the common presence of every reader just as the red pepper pods did on the poor Transcaucasian Kurd.
Gurdjieff is talking about an earlier story, where a "Transcaucasian Kurd" bought a bunch of red pepper pods thinking they were some kind of fruit but, after eating one, decided to eat the whole bunch despite the "hotness" of it because he paid for the whole thing. Interestingly enough, I asked my friend to describe the feeling sensation he got while reading this book, and he said it was "A sunrise. A dawning in my consciousness," which is exactly my experience as well. He had no input from me on this: we both experienced a slow, imperceptible increase of light in ourselves -- first just warm and then bright -- which eventually become overpowering.

On the other hand, the Book of Mormon has an entirely different feel to it. It needs you to pay attention to it, whereas (at least for me), just skimming over Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson or leaving an audiobook on in the background also does the trick. The Book of Mormon is, like Rudolf Steiner's books, more "vertical." In other words, it has a "high-pitched," intensity, high being the key word. If Beelzebub's Tales is more "hot," the Book of Mormon is more "bright." It has the character of a bright light or a high pitched noise; if you read it too carefully, you might sneeze! The Book of Mormon calls us to that high-pitched intensity. It wants you to ring like a note way up in the treble clef. This is the "iron rod"  that the Book of Mormon is - it is a strict, narrow pathway that, if you follow it, won't lead you astray. Unfortunately, the iron rod ignores the periphery (like Beelzebub's Tales) has blessings of its own. But that might not be a bad thing for many people.

What's going on in all these cases? My body and my mind are "receivers" for the spiritual reality that these texts express. Divine light, passing through these texts like a prism, takes on different characters depending on their oddities. Another way of saying the same thing is that they reflect different "organs" in the homeostasis of the spiritual world, or the collective unconscious, as a whole. That's why you feel them in your body. In Swedenborg's words:

Spirits who in their lifetime took delight in the Word of the Lord, and who had a somewhat vivid perception of that delight, enjoy in the other life a certain celestial and pleasant heat, which it was given me to perceive by the essential approximation of kindred spirits. The heat of spirits is indeed external, but still radiating from internals not very clearly perceived. It warmed me very much, after the manner of summer heat, beginning from the region of the lips, and diffusing itself round to the cheeks, even to the ears, and ascending thence to the eyes. Below it spread itself downward over the breast, to the mid-region of the body. The higher parts of the head, and the lower parts of the body, had thence some degree of heat, but not so sensible; wherefore the true province of the heat is from the mouth upwards to just below the eyes, and downwards to the middle of the body. 
As to those who are delighted with the interior things of the Word, it was given to perceive their heat also, and it was interior, beginning from the breast, and proceeding upwards towards the chin, and downwards toward the loins; but it was still interior, and perceived as such. 
Those, again, who are delighted with the inmost things of the Word, their heat is yet more interior, or inmost, which it was given me indeed to perceive, but very slightly, inasmuch as my sense, in relation to these things, is too obtuse to allow of their being perceived as they are; for it was said that if I should perceive that heat, I could not subsist in the body, as it takes possession of the inmosts of the marrow, and because such is its quality I perceived rather a slight degree of cold externally, but within I had at the same time some kind of idea of heat. Its region is from the loins, or from the middle of the body between the loins, and thence extending upwards towards the breast and the left arm to the hand, and downwards into the left foot. 
When it was given me to perceive these heats, which I did to the life, angels meanwhile spoke with me through spirits, and they instructed me as to the true state of the case, saying that it was their approach which insinuated these heats, because they had it in them, though they were no more conscious of it than is one who does not possess it. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Spiritual Diary 1856

Swedenborg here says that, when you feel that heat, it indicates the "approach" of angels. This is the same thing as to say that you're entering a more celestial state. You experience that approach by the parts of your body that "correspond" to those angels "lighting up." And of course, different spirits (in the lower parts of the spiritual world who acr as the body-like appendages of angels) can cause different heats. Evil spirits can even cause heat, to the point where Swedenborg says you need to be on your guard. That's why the "discerning of spirits" is such an important gift. You need to learn to ask who the "actors" are behind various "heats," thoughts, and images in your body and mind, turning to the good heats and images (and to the source of all good fire, God), and rejecting the bad. There is one trick that's wonderful in this process: what is that actor's purpose? If it had its way, where would it lead me? If it's into pain (even if it goes to pleasure first), it's not so good. If it's into joy, and if it respects your autonomy, it's the influence of God through good spirits and angels.

You're all wonderful. Don't forget that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why Losing Truth Can Be a Good Thing

To save your life, you'll have to lay down your stories and, minute by minute, day by day, give your life back to him. Preferring your stories to his life is sin. - Adam S. Miller, Letters to a Young Mormon
Any truth - any truth - must be grasped gently, taking care that the fit between the world and the idea is proportional. We have to be ready to let it go as we and the world we inhabit change. - Tom Cheetham, All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin and the Angelic Function of Beings
I have discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color - something which exists before all forms and colors appear. - Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

In Emanuel Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia or Secrets of Heaven, he embarks on a project to explain the "inner meaning" of Genesis and Exodus to his readers. Some of these "secrets" or "arcana" are hard to understand, but I feel eager to share one of them with you today: the inner meaning of the moment where Pharaoh wakes up from his dream about good cows and bad cows.

First, some context. Context is everything for Swedenborg's interpretation of the Bible - an image or a person signifies a spiritual reality only because of the way that image relates to other images. It's all based on relationship. For instance, what does "Pharaoh" signify? Swedenborg  says that he represents "memory-knowledge in general." A "memory-knowledge" is just truth in the "natural" level of the mind, basically the Book of Mormon's natural man. Ken Jennings has a lot of memory-knowledges. They're trivia, factoids, data: any definite answer you can give to a question. The Pharaoh is the level of your mind that can win at Jeopardy.

In the dream, there are seven bad cows that eat seven good cows. For Swedenborg, these good cows are "truths of the natural" and the bad cows are "falsities" there. So just as the Pharaoh is the mind that thinks in facts, these cows are the facts themselves: a group of good ones and a group of bad ones equally matched. To put it more relevantly, these cows are thoughts. They're the concrete thoughts you get to do a certain thing. The good cows are a thought that says "you should do your homework," while the bad cows are thoughts that say "no, you can play that video game for five more minutes." The first thought is true; the second thought is false.

Clearly, something's gotta give. This stalemate needs to be broken; someone needs to tip the scales. This will be Joseph: what Swedenborg interprets as the "celestial of the spiritual in the natural" (say that five times fast!). In brief, Joseph is an unspoken resolution to do good, a feeling you have bursting within you that wants to go out and help make the world an image of heaven, perhaps not using these words, but which surges out of your heart with golden-gooey fire and feels fond of everyone. This is an urge or an impulse, not yet something actualized. In other words, it's not recognized by that natural, Jeopardy-champion level of your mind. But then it descended into the prison there to cast aside the baker (the origin of those instinctual, let's-eat-cake thoughts) and elevate the butler (the origin of those intellectual, don't-eat-cake thoughts) by his insight. That is, it was Joseph that broke the stalemate between instinct and discipline inside your mind. But even later, when the residual thoughts from the impulse eat cake (the baker transposed into the bad cows) still remain and are apparently powerful enough to entirely displace the good thoughts (eat the good cows).

Swedenborg says that that's the way it's supposed to happen. Why would this be the case? It's because these good thoughts are becoming deeper and less concrete. They're burrowing into the more profound, less visible parts of your mind. For when you say "Let's not eat cake," is that always true? Maybe it's good to eat cake sometimes. Maybe you have problems with sex addictions, but sex isn't always a bad thing either. In short, that thought you had that said "Do this good thing" or "don't do this bad thing" is an oversimplification. Sometimes what looks universally good on a general level has bad side effects, and sometimes bad things have good side effects. And the nuances aren't always so clear-cut. What kind of cake is it good to eat? Carrot cake? Chocolate cake? When you discover this, this newfound relativity might make you think that there is no good and no evil but that "thinking makes it so." Wrong! Instead, what you're noticing is that the good thoughts are slowly becoming like a projector: close up, the image on the wall is blurry, but far away, you can see the nuance there. The "far away" is the internal "feeley" level of your mind; the thoughts are the projector; the wall is the Jeopardy-champion level of your mind. Though the familiar blur is gone, eventually it will reconcile into a greater, more accurate truth. That is, the simple fact "You should never eat cake" becomes something like this: "You should eat cake at parties and other get-togethers, occasionally from left-overs, but not often." This longer sentence is a more high-res version of the simple "Never eat cake." It fills in detail where the shorter one generalizes.

This realization of the nuances is what the Pharaoh "waking up" symbolizes. In that "dark night of the soul" where bad thoughts dominate and there are no good thoughts to fight them, it might seem like it's best just to abandon to relativism and let the bad thoughts win. You think "The clearest thought I have is that I should eat cake! Why do I find it so hard to avoid that temptation?" This is the state symbolized by the bad cows eating the good cows. But light is coming. What's really happening here is that the good cows, the good thoughts, are dissolving and becoming stronger on another plane. They explode into pieces and suddenly become refracted into an army of cows, an army of thoughts (or a store of grain, as the case may be). So don't give up hope! The death of a cherished truth means that it's becoming a legion of even more powerful truths. Out of (only) one, many.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I, together with the spirits around me, was in an indeterminate state, which state was such that they could not reflect at all upon themselves, but became, as it were, reduced to nothing in the universe, which accords with the popular idea of spirits. As relates to myself, I could scarcely tell whether I was in the body or out of the body, for I perceived nothing of the body, inasmuch as it was not given to reflect upon it. Thus the perception I had was independent of the body, for the ideas were determined to a vague universality [in universum], and thus, as it were, dissipated, having no determination in myself. Determination in one's self causes that the subjects of it should seem to themselves to be such as they think themselves to be. In a word, the state was altogether different from the ordinary state, nor was there anything but bare speech, for the spirits spoke and I spoke, but the speech was as if it proceeded not from any particular man, but was a mere voice sent forth into vacuity. [Above] there appeared nothing but the celestial blue vault [sprinkled] with little stars. Hence it may be inferred that whatever spirits may appear to themselves [to be or to possess], they have it from the determination of ideas in themselves; and from reflection upon the things which they say, and that without such determination neither spirit nor man appears to himself to be anything. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Spiritual Diary, #1706-1707

"There, there, let me rub your feet with cold water. Those bad, bad fire ants!" Mother's voice would continue to distract me while I heard my voice scream. I would scream and I would wonder. I would wonder about the mirror upstairs. I was sure that it was forming a story in red and green once again. The red of fire ants and the green of grass. My voice would scream, and I would wonder whether the mirror upstairs was aware of my screaming. I would lose all control over my screaming voice, and I would wonder when it would stop. My voice would scream, and I would realize Mothers' voice was singing something familiar in my ear. I would slowly concentrate on the words of her song and try to mentally sing along because she repeated most of her songs so often that I had them memorized. After listening to the words of her song, I would wonder why I could no longer hear my voice screaming. And, to my reilief, I would realize that my voice had stopped screaming. - Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, How Can I Talk if My Lips Don't Move: Inside my Autistic Mind
The schizophrenic is the universal producer. There is no need to distinguish here between producing and its product. We need merely note that the pure "thisness" of the object produced is carried over into a new act of producing. The table continues to "go about its business. ... The body without organs is nonproductive; nonetheless it is produced, at a certain place and a certain time in the connective synthesis, as the identity of producing and the product: the schizophrenic table is a body without organs. The body without organs is not the proof of an original nothingness, nor is it what remains of a lost totality. Above all, it is not a projection; it has nothing whatsoever to do with the body itself, or with an image of the body. It is the body without an image. - Gilles Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia