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 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The World Between Walls

Boundaries are everywhere. Not only do you find them in buildings, streets, and computers, but every cell has a wall, you have skin, and every bug has an exoskeleton. Thanks to these walls, there is an "inside" and an "outside." But what would the world be without these walls? There would no photosynthesis to absorb light; there would only be light. There would be no animals that drink water; there would only be water. Without walls, there would no "place" at all. In order for there to be place, you need a "here," and you can only have a "here" when you divide it from a "there" by a boundary. Apart from walls, there is only "here-there," a reality where both imply and exist in each other. There is only a "between."

Insides and outsides aren't real in themselves. You couldn't eat anything or see anything if this division were absolute. Your eyes are places where inside and outside meet and the "between" gets revealed. This is true of every part of your body that opens to the outside world. Just like you need a wall of skin, you need holes in that wall. And the walls of life correspond to the between. My skin follows the flow of my blood vessels, and my blood vessels follow the flow of my blood. The eye "traces" the reality of light itself. Since they depend on a current that exist on "both sides" of inside and outside, all organisms are merely elaborations of the "between" that existed before it did.

As such, life is what happens when walls follow the between. Moreover, this means that I am not just my physical body. Sight isn't just the physical eye; sight is the between of light that happens through the eye. So too with me: I am not my body but the between that happens through it. And as there has always been light, even if there was no eye to see it, so I have always existed in some way, even before my body did. Just like an apple tree produces fruit, I am the "fruit" of the world's between. This between is a sea, where currents have sub-currents and sub-currents have sub-sub-currents. It is normally invisible. In fact, this between-world can only become visible when there it makes use of already existing walls to elaborate itself. Before you could exist, there needed to be people, and before people could exist, there needed to be animals and, before that, life itself. But as a between yourself, you've always been latent in world's between. You've been building your body over billions of years.

Thus the pre-existence didn't happen in another world at all. It is this world, only regarded as to the between that hasn’t yet expressed itself in visible walls. So too with the spiritual world: it is a world of the between, the inside-dash-outside that has always existed and will always exist. And within all of this, divinity is the between itself. It is the current all other currents express. The world is its revelation in the same way that the eye is the revelation of light. So are you.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why the World is Waking Up

The world is changing. And not just in the way you think -- even with the horror that's happening in the world politically, there is something beautiful bubbling up to the surface. This beautiful thing is bright, warm, and big. And it is becoming more and more apparent for those with eyes to see.

It's true that the world looks hopeless right now. But that's the darkness trying to distract you. It wants you to become hopeless and discouraged. That would make it stronger. But the light is rising, and nothing can stop it.

And I have some evidence that this is the case. About two years ago I consulted an inner figure named Aurora in active imagination. Active imagination is where I enter a state akin to daydreaming and converse with the figures who emerge and write everything down. I usually just talk to Aurora about my own life, but in this particular session, she became a kind of oracle, predicting the future. And the things she said have come true. For instance, when I asked her:

"What of gay people in the church?"

She responded with this:

A: Those you love will lose their heads over this. The problem of gays in the church will lead to an act of rebellion, of voices crying out from the ground toward forgiveness in the light and reminiscence in the day. You'll see this change come to pass when voices begin to whisper from high places to begin an act of slaughter to the innocent, to re-ignite the flame that caused so much burning hate.

This was in January of 2015, so of course I had no idea that next November the Church would adopt a new policy about the children of gay parents in the Church, which many people did perceive as a "slaughter to the innocent" and which did "re-ignite the flame that caused so much burning hate." When I looked at these prophecies again the following year, I was astounded. She predicted this exactly. So I decided to look at what else she said was going to happen. And I became overawed at what I saw with new eyes.

While I'm not allowed to share everything that was in those prophecies, I can share these prophecies that she made about the future still to come. She spoke of "a flash of intense fiery brilliance," which will "teem at the edges for a while until it grows calm in its resentment toward the light of day." Asking for when it would happen, she said this:

A: It will occur in the even-time, when all things fade into blackness and auroral dimness.
C: What will happen after this dawn?
A: Things will change. The night will become strange, and the desks you work at will become dim and empty. The world will wake itself up to the dance, and all things will come out to play.

And after I asked her about this night that would occur prior to the emergence of the brilliant light she said this:

A: The night is already here, Christian. It is upon us and blackening fast. You will know that dawn is about to break when the emblems of the source come out to meet you in the light of day. Those emblems will herald the new day.

And while I wasn't going to share more, I feel prompted to share this that she said right after, when I asked her about resurrection:

A: The resurrection will occur in blackness and in tongues of words. It will reunite the lost and forgotten with the words that will bring them out into the light. The words will show us the way home to love, peace, and joy.

There are hidden meanings galore in these words. They have hidden implications that I'm still teasing out. But she is clearly saying that this night we're experiencing -- with Donald Trump and international terror and the death of facts -- is actually an "auroral dimness" that will lead to dawn. This dawn will break when the world breaks into a sea of symbols, when meanings pop out of the woodwork and the world comes alive with the life that was always there behind the scenes, waiting for the veils between the worlds to become thin enough for it to communicate to us. This is the resurrection: when everything dead gains life, where the worlds become transparent to each other. When this happens, more and more of us won't care about the foolishness of our concerns. Donald Trump will get more and more absurd, and the world will make less and less sense. But this is the light of higher worlds breaking apart ours like a root underneath a sidewalk. Eventually, the worlds will follow each other's contours, and those who recognize this fact will dance to a different tune, leaving their desks to become "dim and empty." And this change will happen very soon.

For me, "the emblems of the source coming out to meet me in the light of day" are in the thick of their heyday. Everything speaks to me; what Carl Jung called "synchronicities" are happening more and more often. Unlikely serendipitiese happen every day; far more than they ever have. People message me with the same thought I've just had. In every movie and every play I see, there is a hidden meaning in it that speaks to me of my own life. Dr. Strange speaks of how to dance with injury and disappointment on any scale. La La Land speaks of the world overcoming rigidity by meeting "every collision with a kiss." Pleasant Grove High School's Secret Garden speaks of the hidden life coming out of death. The world is entering into conversation with itself, and I am thrust in the middle of that conversation because I am willing to hear. And not just me. My friends have also been having these strange revelations, one of them a vehement ex-Mormon who's rediscovering his spirituality in the most unexpected yet wonderful way. At a performance of Mary Poppins at BYU, something spoke to him in it about his life, which neither the actors nor the writers knew about. He saw a light pop up in the darkness; he saw the world waking up.

So I urge you, reader: listen to the light waking up in the world around you. There are conversations beginning to become louder. They speak to you in random coincidences, the words you overhear in a song, the thoughts that pop into head. Soon the world will begin dancing. Make sure you're one of them who hears the tune.