Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Toward the Light

The very name of Daena brings together several aspects that should not be fragmented or opposed to oneanother, but should be recaptured in the unity of her "Person." Etymologically (Avestan "day", Sanskrit "dhi"), she is the visionary soul or the visionary organ of the soul, the light it throws and which makes it possible to see, and at the same time the light that is seen, the celestial figure that comes face to face with the soul at the dawn of its eternity. Daena is the vision of the celestial world as it is lived, that is, as religion and professed faith, and for that very reason it is the essential individuality, the transcendent celestial "I." By the conjunction of these two aspects or ideas in her person, she proclaims that realization unfailingly corresponds to faith. In this sense, because she is the archetype, the guardian Angel who guides and inspires the life of the believer, she is also his judge, she who reveals to him the degree to which his earthly existence has satisfied the most personal law of his being in the living expression of it. When the soul in amazement asks "Who are you?" the maiden, more resplendent than any beauty ever glimpsed in the terrestrial world, moves toward the entrance of the Chinvat Bridge and answers: "I am you own Daena,"  which means: I am in person the faith you have professed and she who inspired it in you, I am she for whom you answered and she who guided you, who comforted you and who now judges you, for I am in person the Image set before you since the birth of your being and the Image which, finally, you yourself desired. - Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth

Man is a gateway, through which you pass from the outer world of God, daimons, and souls into the inner world, out of the greater world into the smaller world. Small and inane is man, already he is behind you, and once again you find yourselves in endless space, in the smaller or inner infinity.At immeasurable distance a lonely star stands in the zenith.This is the one God of this one man, this is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity.In this world, man is Abraxas, the creator and destroyer of his own world.This star is the God and the goal of man.This is his one guiding God.In him man goes to his rest.Toward him goes the long journey of the soul after death, in him everything that man withdraws from the greater world shines resplendently.To this one God man shall pray.Prayer increases the light of the star.It throws a bridge across death.It prepares a life for the smaller world, and assuages the hopeless desires of the greater.When the greater world turns cold, the star shines.Nothing stands between man and his one God, so  long as man can turn away his eyes from the flaming spectacle of Abraxas.Man here, God there.Weakness and nothingness here, eternally creative power there.Here nothing but darkness and clammy cold.There total sun. - Carl Jung's Red Book
When the pupil has got so far as to have an experience of Intuition, then in addition to having knowledge of the pictures that belong to the world of soul and spirit, and being able to read from the Hidden Script how these pictures are interrelated, he also comes to know the Beings through whose co-operation the world to which man belongs has been called into existence. Then too he learns to know himself in his own archetypal form as a soul-and-spirit being in the world of soul and spirit. He has wrestled his way through to a perception of his Higher Self, and now sees clearly what he has still to achieve in order to gain control over his Double, the “Guardian of the Threshold” who stands there before him, continually calling upon him to work on further at his development. This “Greater Guardian of the Threshold” now becomes for him the Ideal, the Example that he will do his utmost to follow. Having once come to this resolve, the pupil will be enabled to recognize who it is that is there before him as the “Greater Guardian of the Threshold.” For now this Greater Guardian changes for the eyes of the pupil into the figure of Christ, whose nature and whose part in the evolution of Earth have been explained in the earlier chapters of this book. Through this experience the pupil is initiated into the sublime Mystery that is connected with the name of Christ. Christ shows himself to him as the great human Prototype and Example, united with the Earth's true evolution. - Rudolf Steiner, An Outline of Esoteric Science
Returning now to man's life between death and a new birth, after the earliest period which I have already described to you, our study brings us to a world where dwell the Beings of the Second Hierarchy, the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, and instead of earthly existence we have a Sun-existence. For even when we pass beyond the region of the stars, the sun still radiates, though not in the physical sense; and it continues to radiate as we live through the time between death and a new birth. Whereas here on earth the sun shines down upon us with its physical influences, in the life between death and a new birth the sun shines upwards to us; that is to say, we are borne and sustained by the Beings of the sun, by Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes. But in the world wherein we are then living, the natural laws which obtain in earthly life have no meaning at all, for everything is governed by spiritual laws, laws of soul-and-spirit. In that world there is no need for grass to grow; no cow needs grass to eat; for neither cows nor grass exist. Everything is spiritual. And within this Spirit-realm we can bring to realisation the intentions in the soul which cannot be realised in the earthly realm, so little realised that in extreme cases the good can lead to unhappiness and the evil to happiness. Everything in the realm of the sun finds fulfilment and expression according to its inner worth, its intrinsic nature, and it is therefore impossible for the good not to take effect in proportion to its power of goodness and the evil in proportion to its power of evil. — There is a very special reason why this is so. — From the Sun-existence which enshrines the Second Hierarchy, the Exusiai, Dynamis, Kyriotetes, a kindly, gracious welcome is extended to all the good intentions and purposes that were harboured in our life of soul on earth. This could also be expressed by saying that whatever has lived in a man's soul with any nuance of goodness is received in this Sun-existence with graciousness, but the evil is utterly rejected; it cannot enter. - Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships Vol. II, Lecture X
As it is from the Divine love that is in and from him that the Lord appears in heaven like a sun, so all in the heavens are turned constantly to him—those in the celestial kingdom to him as a sun and those in the spiritual kingdom to him as a moon. But those that are in hell turn themselves to an opposite darkness and dense darkness, that is, they turn backwards, away from the Lord; and for the reason that all in the hells are in love of self and the world, thus antagonistic to the Lord.Those who turn themselves to the dense darkness that is in the place where this world’s sun is are in the hells behind, and are called genii; while those that turn themselves to the darkness that is in the place of the moon are in the hells more in front, and are called spirits. This is why those in the hells are said to be in darkness, and those in the heavens in light, “darkness” signifying falsity from evil, and “light” truth from good. They so turn themselves because all in the other life look toward what rules in their interiors, thus to their loves; and with angels and spirits the interiors determine the face; and in the spiritual world quarters are not fixed, as in the natural world, but are determined by the face. In respect to his spirit man turns himself in like manner as a spirit does, backwards from the Lord if he is in love of self and the world, and toward the Lord if he is in love to the Lord and the neighbor. But of this man is ignorant, because he is in the natural world where quarters are determined by the rising and setting of the sun. But as this cannot be easily comprehended by men it will be elucidated hereafter when quarters, space, and time in heaven are treated of. Because the Lord is the sun of heaven and everything that is from him looks to him, he is also the common center, the source of all direction and determination. So, too, all things beneath are in his presence and under his auspices, both in the heavens and on the earths. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell 123-124
Death is a possibility-of-Being which Dasein itself has to take over in every case. With death, Dasein stands before itself in its ownmost possibility-for-Being. ... If Dasein stands before itself as this possibility, it has been fully assigned to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. When it stands before itself in this way, all its relations to any other Dasein have been undone. This ownmost non-relational possibility is at the same time the uttermost one. - Martin Heidegger, Being and Time
The experience of the ego death, marking the transition between BPM III and BPM IV (two levels of experience cataloged by Grof of those on psychedelic drugs), is usually dramatic and catastrophic. We might be bombarded with images from the past and present and in evaluating them we may feel that we haven ever done anything right and that we are absolute failures. We are convinced that we are pitiful and powerless and that nothing we might think or do would change our desperate situation. Our entire world seems to collapse and we lose all meaningful reference points in our lives - personal accomplishments, loved ones, support systems, hopes, and dreams all seem for naught. The route to freedom from the despair and helplessness we feel is through surrender - the very thing our egos are fighting. The experience of total personal surrender is a necessary prerequisite for connecting with a transpersonal source. Recovering alcoholics and addicts know this place as the moment where one admits complete powerlessness and discovers the Higher Power.After we have hit bottom, we are suddenly struck by visions of blinding white or golden light of supernatural radiance and beauty. There is a feeling of space expanding around us, and we are filled to overflowing with a sense of liberation, redemption, salvation, and forgiveness. We feel purged as if we have just been released from all heaviness in our lives - guilt, aggression, anxiety, and other forms of difficult emotions seem to all away. We may feel overwhelming love for our fellow humans, deep appreciation for the warmth of human contact, solidarity with all life, and a sense of oneness with nature and the universe. The arrogance and defensiveness tend to fade away as we discover the power of humility, perhaps prompting us to be of service to others. Exaggerated ambition, as well as cravings for material wealth, status, and power, suddenly seem childish, absurd, and useless. - Stanislav Grof, The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How they Shape our Lives

Monday, July 24, 2017


AMBIGUITY WARNING: "Ego" is used in potentially two different senses here. Rudolf Steiner's "ego" is more like the Jungian "Self" than the Jungian "ego."

Merging and separateness are both necessary for "immersion." Merging alone has more a palliative than a healing impact, resembling more an isolated experience than a life-changing encounter. Some traditions recognize the positive potential in merged states. Visualization and meditation on certain saints or deities encourage fused identification as a way to attain the object of meditation. This sort of fusion "practice" occurs as the image emerges from consciousness and may help activate the instinctual energies of the image as part of the process of gaining insight. Still, as Jessica Benjamin points out, "The capacity to enter into states in which distinctness and union are reconciled underlies the most intense experiences of adult erotic life." how can we learn to recognize the difference between a restful, delightful fusion and an immersion that births the daimonic image? The difference is subtle. The distinction, I believe, turns on where we find the sense of "I." Has the "I" entered into the experience of the images (fusion), is it part of our own presence (immersion), or is it located in the "third" entity - that of the relationship itself (union or transcendence)? Although, ultimately, each person needs to develop the art of differentiating these states of mind through a feel for such encounters, I offer a few further suggestions for recognizing the difference.
The experience of fusion resembles the relation of a small child to her mother. The mother subsumes the child. "I" am lost in her larger presence, which we may undergo positively (an engulfing divinity), or negatively (a harrowing tormentor) or some combination of the two. The sense of self or ego remains weak, not well formed enough to survive a dissolution in the arms of this larger consciousness. Danger signals flash. Signs that fusion is operative in inner or outer relationship include an obsessive hunger for the Other, a clinging, or desperation, and a tendency to rush into relationship. These signs alternate with panicked flight, withdrawal, and distancing to avoid the seductive engulfment. Often we will need a "hit" of the adored person or a meditative practice to feel okay. Compulsivity sets the tone. Internally, the daimon tends to appear and reappear unchanged, with obsessive force. Finally, while the sensations of union may be blissful, the sense of an alchemical bodily alteration through the contact does not occur, nor does the sense of a third presence form, the presence of the relationship itself.At the first stage in the process of union, as we build a more realistic self-image through insight, some tendencies toward fusion may need to be curtailed until ego-strength builds. However, we easily overemphasize the threat of merging. A related danger presents just as great a difficulty. The insistent warnings against merging (voiced in therapeutic settings), in combination with our collective history of rejecting the dark instinctual, instill such a deep distrust of the unifying urgings of the imaginal that we unknowingly may continue to block the daimon's eroticism, or impulse to merge. Again, what was appropriate at one stage to keep a weak ego from fragmenting or blowing itself up, has now become a defense, hiding a deeper fear of alteration of self that the pending union threatens to bring. When insight needs to be integrated, our failure to surrender to the daimon's embrace blocks the contact we so badly need: the contact with the deep strength, vision, love, and creativity residing in the image.On the other hand, once the instinctual energies have been freed and the mature daimonic image appears, mere fusion with the image stands in the way of true union. Immersion with the energies of the daimonic image can collapse into fusion if it occurs before consciousness has developed sufficiently to bear the erotic tension between a separate identity and union. The entire atmosphere is one hallmark of sustaining the self-sense in face of the numinous other. Once the ego trusts enough to released into larger consciousness, however, immersion brings us into contact with the instinctual roots of the image without relinquishing our own ground. Such culminating unions are rare, often coming after long dark periods. Such an inner union occurs between "equals," as between two lovers in sexual embrace. A tone of surrender surrounds the encounter, and subtle alchemical changes appear to result for both partners. In imaginal realms, the daimon appears to change, too, through its union with the body.The line between immersion in the image and union is then more theoretical than real. Once we enter into union with the image, the image often begins to shape shift. Classically (but not necessarily), the image gains more human features through the union. We are filled with the liquid presence of the daimon, and the sense of "I" now rests in the "third," a palpable presence born of the union that can feel like a god or goddess - a spiritual force (the Holy Ghost?)  - forming a triangular relationship with the body-self and the daimonic Other. This radical shift opens the doors to visionary awareness. - Sandra Lee Dennis, Embrace of the Daimon

What is the cause of such conditions? They are the result of our need not only to experience the life of the soul discarnately but also to bring this experience of the discarnate soul down into the physical body. We must allow it to immerse itself consciously. Just as that which I have described to you in the course of these lectures gradually extricates itself from the body between birth and the change of teeth, so also that which is experienced externally, which we could call experience of the astral, immerses itself again in the physical organism between the change of teeth and puberty. And what takes place in puberty is nothing other than this immersion between approximately the seventh and fourteenth years. The independent soul-spirit that man has developed must immerse itself in the body again, and what then emerges as physical love, as sexual desire, is nothing other than the result of this immersion I have described to you. One must come to understand this immersion clearly. Whoever wishes to gain a true understanding of the basis of consciousness must be able to effect this in a fully conscious, healthy way, using such methods as I shall describe here later. That is to say, he must learn to immerse himself in the physical body. Then he attains an initial experience of what manifests itself as an Imaginative representation of the inner realm. Here a faculty of formal representation framed for an external, three-dimensional world of plastic forms is insufficient. To perform this inner activity one needs a mobile faculty of formal representation: one must be able to overcome gradually everything spatial in Imagination and to immerse oneself in the representation of something intensive, something that radiates activity. In short, one must immerse oneself in such a way that in descending one can still clearly differentiate between oneself and one's body. Whatever inheres in the subject cannot be known. If one can keep what one experiences outside from immersing unconsciously in the physical body, one descends into the physical body and experiences in descending the essence of this body up to the level of consciousness in Imagination, in pictures.Whoever fails to keep these pictures separate, however, and allows them to slip into the physical body, confronting the physical body not as an object but as something subjective, brings the sensation of space down into the physical body with him The astral thereby coalesces with the physical to a greater degree than should be allowed. The experience of the external world coalesces with man's inner life, and because he makes subjective what should have remained objective, he can no longer experience space normally. Fear of empty space, fear of lonely places, fear of the astrality diffused through space, of Storms, perhaps even of the moon and Stars, rise up within one. One lives too deeply within oneself. Thus it is necessary that all exercises leading to the life of Imagination protect one against descending too deeply into the body. One must immerse oneself in the body in such a way that the ego remains outside. One may not take the ego out into the world of Imagination in the way that one must carry the ego out into the world of Inspiration. Although one worked toward Imagination through a process of symbolization, through pictorial representation, in Imagination itself all pictures created by mere fantasy disappear. Now objective pictures emerge instead. Only that which actually lives within the human form ceases to confront one as an object. One loses the outward human form and there emerges a diversity of living forms from the human etheric. One now sees not the unified human form but the profusion of animal forms that interpenetrate and merge to create the human form. One comes to know in an inward way what lives within the realms of plants and minerals. One learns this through introspection. One learns what can never be learned through atomism and molecularism: one learns what actually lives within the realms of plants and minerals. And how is it that we avoid bringing the ego down into the physical body when we strive for Imagination? Only by developing the power of love more nobly than in normal life, where love is led by the powers of the bodily senses. Only by acquiring the selfless power of love, freedom from egotism not only regarding the realm of humanity but also regarding the realm of nature. Only by allowing all that leads to Imagination to be borne by love, by merging this power of love with every object of cognition that we seek in this manner.Again we have divergent tendencies: the healthy tendency to extend the power of love into Imagination or the pathological tendency to expose ourselves to fear of what is outside. We experience what lies outside with our ego and then, without restraining our ego, bear it down into the body, giving rise to agoraphobia, claustrophobia, and astraphobia. Yet we enjoy the prospect of an extremely high mode of cognition if we can develop in a healthy way what threatens humanity in its pathological form and would lead it into barbarism. ... These two faculties, however, those of Inspiration and Imagination, can join together. The one can coalesce with the other, but it must happen in full consciousness and by comprehending the cosmos in love. Then there arises a third faculty, a confluence of Imagination and Inspiration in true, spiritual Intuition. Then we rise up to that which allows us to recognize the external material world to be a spiritual world, the inner realm of the soul and spirit with its material foundations as a continuous whole; we rise up to that which grants us knowledge of the expansion of human existence beyond earthly life, as I have described it to you here in other lectures. One comes thus on the one side to know the realms of plants, animals, and minerals in their inmost essences, in their spiritual content, through Inspiration. By coming to know the human organs through Imagination one creates the basis for a true organology, and by uniting in Intuition what one has learned about plants, animals, and minerals with what Imagination reveals concerning the human organs, one attains a true therapy, a science of medication that knows in a real sense how to apply the external to the internal. The true doctor must understand medications cosmologically; he must understand the human organs anthropologically, or actually anthroposophically. He must come to grasp the external world through Inspiration, the inner world through Imagination, and he must achieve a therapy based upon real Intuition. - Rudolf Steiner, The Boundaries of Natural Science

If a child has not had the feeling for beauty awakened in him, has not been educated to see the world from an aesthetic point of view, then that boy or girl will at this age of life tend to become sensual, perhaps even erotic. There is no better way of restraining eroticism than by a healthy development of the aesthetic sense, a feeling for what is noble and beautiful in nature. When you lead children to feel the beauty and the glory of sunrise and sunset, to be sensitive to the beauty of flowers and to the majesty of thunder and lightning, when, in short, you develop in them the aesthetic sense, you are doing far more for them than if you were to give them the sex education which it has now become customary to give children at the earliest age and which is often carried to absurd lengths. A feeling for beauty, an aesthetic approach to the world - these are the things that restrain eroticism within its proper limits. As a child learn to perceive the world in all its beauty, he learns also to stand as a free being over against his body; he is not oppressed by it. And that is what eroticism is - to be oppressed and tormented by one's own body.Nor is it any less important that by this age the children should have developed certain moral and religious feelings. Such feelings always have a strengthening effect upon astral body and ego. These grow weak if there has been little development of moral and religious impulses. The child grows lethargic, as if physically paralyzed. And this will show itself particularly at the age with which we are dealing. Lack of moral and religious impulse will come to expression in irregularity in the sexual life.In all this preparation for the age of puberty we have to take into account also of the differences between boys and girls. For the girl, the moral and ethical impressions we give her should incline to the aesthetic. We must do our best to present the moral, the good and the religious side of life so as to make them attractive, so that the girl feels them to be beautiful. She should feel joy in the knowledge that the whole world is permeated with the supersensory; her imagination should be richly supplied with pictures that are expressive of the divine that feels the world, expressive also of the beauty that reveals itself in the human being when he is good.For the boy, on the other hand, it is the power that is at work in religion and morality that we must have more in mind. The girl needs to look at the religious and moral and see its beauty. With the body we have rather to stress the courage and the sense of power that radiate from them. We must not of course push this to extremes, imagining we are to train girls to become so aesthetic as to see everything in that light alone, and boys to become bullies, as they would if we were to excite their egotism by appealing on all occasions to a feeling of power. We do right to arouse in the body a sense of his own power, but it must be in association with things that are good and beautiful, and religious in the true sense.We have to be careful to avoid letting the girls become superficial, mere spurious devotees of beauty in the awkward years; and withe boys we must take care that they do not develop into young hooligans. These are the dangers that threaten from both sides, as it were. And we need to be fully conscious of them, even while the children are still in the younger classes. We should lead the girls to find pleasure in what is good in the world, and to feel the beauty of what belongs to true religion. To the boys we should make a rather different appeal. We should constantly be telling them: 'See, if you do this, your muscles will grow taut, and you will be a fine, strong lad!' It is in such ways that a boy can be roused to a sense of the presence of the divine within him. - Rudolf Steiner, A Modern Art of Education

The ego isn't a bad thing. If we didn't develop a strong ego, a strong sense of self, we shouldn't be able to relate to and engage with the extremely powerful and archetypal forces (both dark and light) of the unconscious. If we don't have a strongly developed sense of self (even though it is not, ultimately speaking, the true self), we will get overwhelmed and taken over by the powers of the unconscious such that we will compulsively act them out. We have to develop a sense of an egoic self in order to be able, when the time is right, to offer it to something greater than ourselves. In order to surrender, we must have something to let go of. The development of the ego is part of the growth and evolution of the Self, as if the Self realized it needed and thereby created the instrument of the ego in order to actualize itself. The birth and formation of the ego, however contrary to our nature it seems, is not an aberration, but rather, is the very vehicle through which our nature evolves into ever-newly emerging and creative forms. This is to say that the ego plays a key function in the divine plan of awakening. It is incredibly important to develop a sense of self, even though in the ultimate sense, any reference point for who we are needs to be seen through for the relative illusion that it is. This is analogous to becoming lucid in a dream and realizing that we are not the "dream ego" with which we've been identifying, which we recognize as simply being an assumed model, an unreflected-upon "stand-in" for who we really are. Though the construct of the ego has served us well, helping us to get to where we are, we needn't hold onto it after it has outlived its usefulness. An arbitrary construction, the ego is a convenience that can serve us in many different circumstances, helping us navigate situations in the world that require us to play different roles. When we understand the illusory nature of the ego, we can play whatever role the field is calling for us to step into, without overly identifying with or being caught by the role. We are then in the dream but not of the dream, bringing to mind Christ's words "to be in the world, but not of the world." - Paul Levy, Dispelling Wetiko

 In addition it should be realized that one community is never utterly and completely like another, nor one member within a community like any other member. Instead unanimous and harmonious variety of all exists, and these variations have been so ordered by the Lord that they strive towards one single end, which is attained through love and faith in Him. From this arises their unity. For the same reason one heaven and form of heavenly joy is never utterly and completely like another. Indeed variations in love and faith are what determine the nature of heaven and its joy. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 690

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Protective Web of Light

Continued practice enables the student to determine for himself the position of this etheric body. Hitherto this position depended upon external forces proceeding from the physical body. Through further development the student is able to turn his etheric body to all sides. This faculty is effected by currents moving approximately along both hands and centered in the two-petalled lotus in the region of the eyes. All this is made possible through the radiations from the larynx assuming round forms, of which a number flow to the two-petalled lotus and thence form undulating currents along the hands. As a further development, these currents branch out and ramify in the most delicate manner and become, as it were, a kind of web which then encompasses the entire etheric body as though with a network. Whereas hitherto the etheric body was not closed to the outer world, so that the life currents from the universal ocean of life flowed freely in and out, these currents now have to pass through this membrane. Thus the individual becomes sensitive to these external streams; they become perceptible to him. ... 
Now, the particles of the etheric body are in continual motion. Countless currents stream through it in every direction. By these currents, life itself is maintained and regulated. Every body that has life, including animals and plants, possesses an etheric body. Even in minerals traces of it can be observed. These currents and movements are, to begin with, independent of human will and consciousness, just as the action of the heart or stomach is beyond our jurisdiction, and this independence remains unaltered so long as we do not take our development in hand in the sense of acquiring supersensible faculties. For, at a certain stage, development consists precisely in adding to the unconscious currents and movements of the etheric body others that are consciously produced and controlled. 
When esoteric development has progressed so far that the lotus flowers begin to stir, much has already been achieved by the student which can result in the formation of certain quite definite currents and movements in his etheric body. The object of this development is the formation of a kind of center in the region of the physical heart, from which radiate currents and movements in the greatest possible variety of colors and forms. The center is in reality not a mere point, but a most complicated structure, a most wonderful organ. It glows and shimmers with every shade of color and displays forms of great symmetry, capable of rapid transformation. Other forms and streams of color radiate from this organ to the other parts of the body, and beyond it to the astral body, completely penetrating and illuminating it. The most important of these currents flow to the lotus flowers. They permeate each petal and regulate its revolutions; then streaming out at the points of the petals, they lose themselves in outer space. The higher the development of a person, the greater the circumference to which these rays extend.  - Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds

The subject at present is the sensory impressions subject to the will part of the mind, 'baskets on the head with holes in them' meaning that interior degrees existed without a termination anywhere at all in the middle. Therefore those sensory impressions, as follows from this, were cast aside and condemned. But some explanation must be given of what is meant by 'without a termination anywhere at all in the middle'. Interiorly the human being is divided into separate degrees, and each degree has its own termination that serves to separate it from the degree beneath it. This is so with every degree from the inmost one to the outermost. The interior rational constitutes the first degree, the degree in which celestial angels are, that is, where the inmost or third heaven is. The exterior rational makes up the second degree, the one in which spiritual angels are, that is, where the middle or second heaven is. The interior natural makes up the third degree, the one in which good spirits are, that is, where the last and lowest or first heaven is. And the exterior natural, the level of the senses, makes up the fourth degree, in which man is.  These degrees also exist within man, each degree completely distinct and separate. Consequently, if he leads a good life, he is interiorly a miniature heaven; that is, his interiors correspond to the three heavens. Also, if he has led a life of charity and love he can be taken after death all the way up to the third heaven. But if he is to be someone like this, each degree within him must be furnished with its own specific termination that makes it separate from the next one. When those degrees do have those terminations, making them distinct and separate from one another, each degree has a floor on which good flowing in from the Lord can rest and where it is received. Without such terminations acting as floors that good is not received but passes straight through, as if through a sieve or through 'a basket with holes in it', down to the sensory level. There, because it has not received any direction on the way, this good is turned into something foul, though it is seen as good by the recipients of it at that lowest level. That is to say, the good is turned into the kind of delight that belongs to a selfish and worldly love, and consequently into the kind of delight that belongs to hatred, revenge, cruelty, adultery, and avarice, or into sheer self-gratification and personal extravagance. This is what happens if the degrees of a person's will exist without a termination anywhere at all in the middle, that is, if 'they have holes in them'. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 5145
The axis of love spins at a very high frequency, and the Friends of God are dynamically attuned to this spinning. Through their spinning, a web of light and love is spun into the world. In this way, the axis of love creates a web throughout the world, throughout all the levels of creation. Through this web of light the world is sustained by a direct access to love that is not distorted by the patterns of illusion. Love is present throughout all of creation; it is the substance of every atom. Yet this substance of love does not know its own meaning or potential - it is not charged with divine consciousness. The Friends of God bring into the world a love fully charged with divine consciousness. Love that is charged with divine consciousness has the potential to awaken humanity to its real nature and purpose. The Friends of God are here in service to this work. They have the ability to infuse a quality of divine consciousness, sirr, into the web of light that nourishes humanity. They can also direct this web of light where it is needed. Spiritual traditions are used to help bring this knowing into life, into the hearts of those who seek Him. This is why "transmission" or "succession" (the direct connection from teacher to teacher) is so important, as it is through this lived link that the energy of divine consciousness, sirr, is given. Without this link the energy of sirr remains on the inner planes and does not penetrate through all the levels. Then an essential part of the process is not lived; a quality of divine awareness that belongs to the physical plane does not come alive. - Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Working with Oneness

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7

Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7 Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7 by Emanuel Swedenborg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joseph: The celestial of the spiritual (Divine Truth itself; the warm impetus you get when you aren't paying attention to do the right thing; promptings of the Spirit; the burning in the bosom)
Potiphar's Wife: Truth natural, not spiritual (What is true to the everyday mind; the letter of the commandments; "you should do x").

Potiphar's Wife stealing Joseph's shirt and accusing him: Doing something good because you should, which lets it conceal all sorts of selfishness. For example: when you post an uplifting status on Facebook but are more concerned with likes, or when you accept a home teaching assignment ostensibly to keep the commandments, but it doesn't hurt home teachee is a cute girl. In both cases, your natural mind (Potiphar's wife) wants to conjoin itself with goodness, to become a good person (Joseph), but in so doing it only ever gets his shirt (the ultimates of the celestial of the spiritual; how Divine Truth looks like as frozen by the natural mind, rendered in mechanical, 8-bit graphics), which inevitably leads to separation of good intent and ostensibly good deed; Joseph is without his shirt; Potiphar's wife is without Joseph. You're left feeling disappointed. For the Facebook example, "uplifting-ness" is Joseph, Potiphar's wife is your thought "doing uplifting things is good, so I will post something uplifting," and the shirt getting torn off is the thought "After checking my likes for the eighth time, I feel worse than I did before." In the home teaching example, Joseph is the divine reality of charity within a church, Potiphar's wife is the thought "home teaching is good, so I will home teach," and the resulting lack of spiritual fruit because you did it for the wrong reasons is the shirt getting torn off.

Pharaoh: The new natural man ("I really hate x sinful behavior;" "I'm done with it")
Baker: The will part of the exterior natural ("But x sin will feel so *good*!")
Butler: The intellectual part of the exterior natural ("I am not going to do x sin; it's not right.")

Pharaoh putting the butler and the baker in prison: The new natural realizing that the life of its senses (the butler corresponding to sight; the baker corresponding to taste and touch) is completely out of whack; "I can't help looking at porn."

Joseph interpreting the butler's dream favorably: The part of you that holds back the reigns, that sees the situation from above, will get under your control

The butler getting back on his station: That moment when you stop and think "do I really want to do this?" and then don't.

Joseph interpreting the baker's dream unfavorably: That part of you that completely immerses itself in booze and porn won't ever get completely better; it's part of the world; you just have to separate from it.

The baker getting executed: Completely putting yourself away from those situations where you get inebriated by touch and taste.

The seven years of plenty: A multiplication of truths (Moments like those when you read scripture and it resonates with love and goodness on even the lowest level of your being)
The seven years of famine: A seeming dearth of truths (Moments when you can't think any true thoughts and you're at the mercy of your self-doubts and compulsive thoughts); the moment when falsities seem to dominate even though you're doing everything right, but the reason being you're clinging to them for the wrong reasons; God saying "you can't have truth anymore until your thirst for it for its own sake"; the dark night of the soul.

Egyptians hungering for bread during the famine and Pharaoh showing them to Joseph, who gives them bread from the storehouses: That moment when you decide to do good things for good's own sake; what happpens when you're thoroughly sick of checking for likes on Facebook; when you stop doing spirituality for selfish reasons, however disguised; Huckleberry Finn saying "All right, I'll go to hell;" the resulting happiness

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On Men and Women (Swedenborg, Steiner, and Jung)

At present we will concern ourselves with the physical and etheric bodies. For herein lies the solution to the riddle of the sexes. The etheric body is only to a certain extent a picture of the physical body. In regard to the sexes things are different. In the man the etheric body is female and in the woman it is male. However strange it may seem, a deeper observation will disclose the following: Something of the opposite sex lies hidden in each person. It is no good however to look for all kinds of abnormal phenomena, rather one needs to pay attention to normal experiences. By confronting this fact, it is no longer possible in the strict sense to speak of man and woman, but rather of masculine and feminine qualities. Certain qualities in the woman work more outwardly while others are more inward. The woman has masculine qualities within herself and the man feminine qualities. For example a man becomes a warrior through the outer courage of his bodily nature, a woman possesses an inner courage, the courage of sacrifice and devotion. The man brings his creative activity to bear on external life. The woman works with devoted receptivity into the world. Countless phenomena of life will become clear to us if we think of human nature as the working together of two polar opposites. In the man the masculine pole works outwards and the feminine lives more inwardly, while in the woman the opposite holds true.Spiritual science however also shows us a deeper reason why a masculine quality is to be found in the woman and a feminine in the man. Spiritual science speaks of how human beings strive after ever greater perfection, through many lives. Our present life is always the result of a previous one. Thus as we proceed through many lives, we experience both male and female incarnations. What arises in this way may be expressed as the effect of those experiences gathered on both sides in earthly life.Whoever is able in this way to look more deeply into the male and female natures knows that the more intimate experiences of the two sexes are very different, and must be very different. Our entire earth existence is a collection of the most varied experiences. However, these experiences can only become comprehensive through their being acquired from the viewpoint of both sexes. Hence we can see that even if we only consider the human being with regard to the two lower members, we see in reality a being with two sides. So long as one merely looks at the physical body little can be understood. The spiritual lying behind must also be recognised. Through his masculine nature the inner femininity of the man appears, and through the woman's feminine nature her inner masculinity appears. Now one can grasp why it is that so many misjudgments have been made about this question; it depends on whether one looks at the inner, or the outer aspects. In considering only one side of the human being, one is subjected entirely to chance. If, for example, one researcher finds that the main quality of the woman is humility and another that it is an angry disposition, it simply means that both have observed only one side of the same being. Error must occur with this kind of approach. In order to recognise the full truth we must look at the whole human being. - Rudolf Steiner, Man and Woman in the Light of Spiritual Science

Because it is not known in what the masculine essentially consists, and in what the feminine, it shall here be told in a few words. The distinction essentially consists in the fact that in the male, the inmost is love and its clothing wisdom, or, what is the same thing, he is love veiled over with wisdom; and that in the female, the inmost is that wisdom of the male, and its clothing, the love therefrom. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Conjugial Love, 32
Woman is compensated by a masculine element and therefore her unconscious has, so to speak, a masculine imprint. This results in a considerable psychological difference between men and women, and accordingly I have called the projection-making factor in women the animus, which means mind or spirit. - Carl Jung, The Syzygy: Anima and Animus 
The conscious side of woman corresponds to the emotional side of man, not to his "mind." Mind makes up the soul, or better, the "animus" of woman, and just as the anima of a man consists of inferior relatedness, full of affect, so the animus of woman consists of inferior judgments, or better, opinions. - Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies
At dinner, I begin to see everyone at the table has an auric double of the opposite sex appearing in a diaphanous energy field behind them. These presences smile amusedly among themselves as the conversation heats up. - Sandra Lee Dennis, Embrace of the Daimon

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Faith is Important

THOSE WHO DO NOT ADMIT OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGES OF FAITH ARE KEPT SECURE FROM EVIL SPIRITS. [Certain] spirits complained that they could no longer be present, because as long as anyone remained [firm] in the knowledges of faith, he was not allowed to admit objections. They said therefore that they had no means of leading them, affirming also that it was through this medium that they seduced them; that by the force of a single objection all confirming truths, however numerous, were rendered of no effect; for man is so borne on by his cupidities, which produce phantasies, that they willingly admit objections, of which a single one then becomes stronger with them than a thousand confirmations. Wherefore that a man be true, or in true faith, he ought to be in the opposite state, so that one truth may prevail over a thousand or ten thousand objections; thus evil spirits will flee, for they cannot live in such a sphere. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Spiritual Experiences, 3164
Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually. - Alma 57:27
Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God. - Mormon 9:28

 It is evident from the foregoing that, through work in a higher world, the soul must withdraw from the body some of its activity ordinarily bestowed upon it with such care. It leaves the body to a certain extent self-dependent, and the body needs a substitute for what the soul had formerly done for it. If it does not obtain such a substitute, it comes in danger of mischief from hurtful forces, for one must in this regard be clear that man is continually subject to the influences of his surroundings. Actually he lives only through the influences of these surroundings. Among these, the kingdoms of visible nature first of all come under consideration. Man himself belongs to this visible nature. If there were no mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, nor other human beings around him, he could not live. If an individual could be imagined as cut off from the earth and lifted up into surrounding space, he would have to perish instantly as a physical being, just as the hand would wither if cut off from the body. Just as the illusion would be formidable if a human hand were to believe that it could exist without the body, so powerful would be the deception of a man who maintained that he could exist as a physical being without the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and without other men. — But besides the above-named kingdoms there are three others that generally escape the notice of man. These are the three elemental kingdoms. They stand, in a sense, below the mineral kingdom. There are beings who do not condense into the mineral condition, but who are none the less present and exert their influence upon man. (Further information concerning these elemental kingdoms will be found in my Cosmic Memory, and also in the remarks about them in my Theosophy.) Man is thus exposed to influences from kingdoms of nature that in a sense must be called invisible. Now, when the soul works upon the body, a considerable part of its activity consists in regulating the influences of the elemental kingdoms in such a way that they are beneficial to man. — The instant the soul withdraws part of its activity from the body, injurious powers from the elemental kingdoms may get hold of it. Herein lies a danger of higher development. Therefore care must be taken that, as soon as the soul is withdrawn from the body, the latter is in itself accessible only to good influences from the elemental world. If this be disregarded, the ordinary man deteriorates, to a certain extent, physically and also morally, in spite of having gained access to higher worlds. While the soul dwells in the higher regions, pernicious forces insinuate themselves into the dense physical body and the etheric body. This is the reason why certain bad qualities, which before the higher development had been held in check by the regulating power of the soul, may now come to the fore for want of caution. Men formerly of good moral nature may, under such circumstances, when they enter higher worlds, reveal all kinds of low inclinations, increased selfishness, untruthfulness, vindictiveness, wrath, and so forth. — No one alarmed by this fact need be deterred from rising to the higher worlds, but care must be taken to prevent the occurrence of such things. The lower nature of man must be fortified and made inaccessible to dangerous elemental influences. This can be brought about by the conscious cultivation of certain virtues. These virtues are set forth in the writings on spiritual development. Here is the reason why they must be carefully sought after. They are the following.First of all, the human being must, in a fully conscious manner, in all things, continually be intent upon the lasting, distinguish the imperishable from the transitory and turns his attention toward it. In all things and beings he can suppose or discern something that remains after the transitory appearance has faded away. If I see a plant, I can first observe it as it presents itself to the senses. No one should neglect to do this, for no one who has not first made himself thoroughly familiar with the perishable aspect will detect the eternal in things. Those who are continually afraid that to fix their attention on the spiritually imperishable will cause them to lose the freshness and naturalness of life do not really know what is being dealt with. But when I look at a plant in this way, it can become clear to me that there. is in it a lasting living impulse that will reappear in a new plant when the present plant has long since crumbled to dust. Such an orientation toward things must be adopted in the whole temper of life. — Then the heart must be fixed upon all that is valuable and genuine, which one must learn to esteem more highly than the fleeting and insignificant. In all feelings and actions, the value of any single thing must be held before the eyes in the context of the whole. — Thirdly, six qualities should be developed: control of the thought world, control of actions, endurance, impartiality, trust in the surrounding world, and inner equilibrium. Control of the thought world can be attained if one takes the trouble to combat that wandering will-o'-the-wisping of the thoughts and feelings that in ordinary human beings are constantly rising and falling. In everyday life man is not the master of his thoughts; he is driven by them. Naturally, it cannot be otherwise, for life drives man and as a practical person he must yield to this. In ordinary life there is no alternative. But if a higher world is to be approached, at least brief periods must be set aside in which one makes oneself ruler of one's thought and feeling world. Therein, in complete inner freedom one puts a thought in the center of one's soul, where otherwise ideas obtrude themselves upon one from without. Then one tries to keep away all intruding thoughts and feeling and to link with the first thought only what one wills to admit as suitable. Such an exercise works beneficially upon the soul and through it also upon the body. It brings the latter into such a harmonious condition that it withdraws itself from injurious influences despite the fact that the soul is not directly acting upon it. — Control of actions consists of a similar regulation of these through inner freedom. A good beginning is made when one sets oneself to do regularly something that it would not have occurred to us to do in ordinary life. For in the latter, man is indeed driven to his actions from without. But the smallest action undertaken on one's innermost initiative accomplishes more in the direction indicated than all the pressures of outer life. — Endurance consists in holding oneself at a distance from every whim that can be designated as a shift from “exulting to the highest heaven to grieving even unto death.” Man is driven to and fro among all kinds of moods. Pleasure makes him glad; pain depresses him. This has its justification. But he who seeks the path to higher knowledge must be able to mitigate joy and also grief. He must become stable. He must with moderation surrender to pleasurable impressions and also painful experiences; he must move with dignity through both. He must never be unmanned nor disconcerted. This does not produce lack of feeling, but it brings man to the steady center within the ebbing and flowing tide of life around him. He has himself always in hand.
Another important quality is the “yea saying” sense. This can be developed in one who in all things has an eye for the good, beautiful, and purposeful aspects of life, and not, primarily, for the blameworthy, ugly and contradictory. In Persian poetry there is a beautiful legend about Christ, which illustrates the meaning of this quality. A dead dog is lying on the road. Among the passersby is Christ. All the others turn away from the ugly sight; only Christ pauses and speaks admiringly of the animal's beautiful teeth. It is possible to look at things in this way, and he who earnestly seeks for it may find in all things, even the most repulsive, something worthy of acknowledgment. The fruitfulness in things is not in what is lacking in them, but in what they have. — Further, it is important to develop the quality of “impartiality.” Every human being has gone through his own experiences and has formed from them a fixed set of opinions according to which he directs his life. Just as conformity to experience is of course necessary, on the one hand, it is also important that he who would pass through spiritual development to higher knowledge should always keep an eye open for everything new and unfamiliar that confronts him. He will be as cautious as possible with judgments such as, “That is impossible,” “That cannot be.” Whatever opinion he may have formed from previous experiences, he will be ready at any moment, when he encounters something new, to admit a new opinion. All love of one's own opinion must vanish. — When the five above mentioned qualities have been acquired, a sixth then presents itself as a matter of course: Inner balance, the harmony of the spiritual forces. The human being must find within himself a spiritual center of gravity that gives him firmness and security in the face of all that would pull him hither and thither in life. The sharing in all surrounding life must not be shunned, and everything must be allowed to work upon one. Not flight from all the distracting activities of life is the correct course, but rather, the full devoted yielding to life, along with the sure, firm guarding of inner balance and harmony.
Lastly, the “will to freedom,” must come within the seeker's consideration. Whoever finds within himself the support and basis of all that he accomplishes already has this attribute. It is so hard to achieve because of the balance necessary between the opening of the senses to everything great and good and the simultaneous rejection of every compulsion. It is so easy to say that influence from without is incompatible with freedom. The essential thing is that the two should be reconciled within the soul. When someone tells me something and I accept it under the compulsion of his authority, I am not free. But I am no less unfree if I shut myself off from the good that I might receive in this way. For then worse elements in my own soul act as a compulsion upon me. Freedom means not only that I am free from the compulsion of an outside authority, but above all that I am not subservient to any prejudices, opinions, sensations and feelings of my own. The right way is not blind subjection to what is received, but to leave ourselves open to suggestion, receiving it impartially, so that we may freely acknowledge it. An outside authority should exert no more influence than to make one say, “I make myself free just by following the good in it — that is to say, by making it my own.” An authority based upon occult wisdom will not at all exert influence otherwise than in this way. It gives whatever it has to give, not in order itself to gain power over the recipient, but solely that through the gift the recipient may become richer and freer. -
Rudolf Steiner, The Knowledge of Higher Worlds

Monday, July 17, 2017

On Breathing and Thought

Then, proceeding further, you may begin to study in the human being something that is really much more difficult to observe, although it is generally thought to be easy — that is, to gain an understanding of how the human being takes breath, how he sets his rhythmic system in movement, and how the breath leads over into the blood circulation. This tremendously living play, which penetrates the whole body, is far more complicated than it is thought to be. The human being takes in the breath, the breath transforms itself into blood circulation, but on the other side the breath again passes over into the head and is related in a definite way to the whole activity of the brain. Thinking is simply a refined, delicate breathing. The blood circulation, again, passes over into the impulses of the movements of the limbs. - Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships 

But it must not be forgotten that man has a twofold respiration, one of the spirit and another of the body; and that the respiration of the spirit depends on the fibers from the brains, and the respiration of the body on the blood-vessels from the heart, and from the vena cava and aorta. It is evident, moreover, that thought produces respiration; it is evident, also, that affection, which is of love, produces thought, for thought without affection is precisely like respiration without a heart, a thing impossible. From this it is clear that affection, which is of love, conjoins itself to thought, which is of the understanding (as was said above), in like manner as the heart does in the lungs - Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom 412

Sunday, July 16, 2017

On the Third Eye

The influx of the Lord Himself into man is into his forehead, and from that into the whole face, because the forehead of man corresponds to love, and the face corresponds to all his interiors. The influx of spiritual angels into man is into his head every where, from the forehead and temples to the whole part that contains the cerebrum, because that region of the head corresponds to intelligence; but the influx of celestial angels is into that part of the head that contains the cerebellum, and is called the occiput, from the ears all around even to the neck, for that region corresponds to wisdom. All the speech of angels with man enters by these ways into his thought; and by this means I have perceived what angels they were that spoke with me. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell 251
 There was a time when the etheric head protruded way beyond the physical body. Even in Atlantean times, the forehead was a point where the etheric head stood far out beyond the physical head, as is still the case today with the horses and other animals. With horses the etheric head today still protrudes beyond the physical. In modern man this point in the etheric head has been brought under protection of the physical head and this gives him the capacity to develop those parts of the physical brain which enable him to call himself “I.” This organ, which enables man to call himself “I,” is connected with a definite process which took place during the Atlantean development of the earth. The occult teacher now instructs his pupil thus: direct your thoughts and concentrate them on this point! Then he gives him a mantra. In this way, a certain force in this part of the head is aroused which corresponds to a certain process in the macrocosm. In such a way a correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm is evoked. Through a similar concentration on the eye, the pupil acquires knowledge of the sun. One finds the entire spiritual organization of the macrocosm spiritually within one's own organs. ... All around us are parts of our self. This is represented, for example, in the myth of Dionysos. It is for this reason that the Rosicrucian training places such a great value upon an objective and quiet contemplation of the external world: If you wish to know yourself, behold yourself in the mirror of the outer world and its beings! What is in your soul shall speak to you far more clearly from the eyes of companions than if you harden yourself and sink into your own soul.  - Rudolf Steiner, Esoteric Development

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review: Karmic Relationships Vol 4

Karmic Relationships Vol 4: Esoteric Studies: 004 Karmic Relationships Vol 4: Esoteric Studies: 004 by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this book, the last lecture Rudolf Steiner ever gave is included. He wasn't able to finish it.

Springing from Powers of the Sun,
Radiant Spirit-powers, blessing all Worlds!
For Michael's garment of rays
Ye are predestined by Thought Divine.
He, the Christ-messenger, revealeth in you —
Bearing mankind aloft — the sacred Will of Worlds.
Ye, the radiant Beings of Aether-Worlds,
Bear the Christ-Word to Man.
Thus shall the Heralds of Christ appear
To the thirstily waiting souls,
To whom your Word of Light shines forth In cosmic age of Spirit-Man.
Ye, the disciples of Spirit-Knowledge,
Take Michael's Wisdom beckoning,
Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds Into your soul's aspiring, a c t i v e l y !

When the audiobook reader said these words, I felt as if I were conveyed forward in thought by a higher power than me. Light touched me, as if saying: "You know what to do. Do it now."

This world is dark. There is little light anywhere. This darkness encloses on me, on everyone, like a vice, pressing down on us, making us long for something we cannot have. We do not want to step forward, dance, sing, let our light so shine, so that light comes forward though the softness in that dance that Ahrimanic darkness would harden. But we deserve more than his lies.

I, for one, am done with Ahriman. Good riddance. I am done checking frantically on Instagram, narcissistically hoping for a garment that would clothe me and make me safe. I am done with neediness. I am done with fear. I am done with envious lust. Ahriman, I will not fear to sting you.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intimations on Autism

Without a kind of marriage, nothing ever exists or is produced. In the very organic forms of man, both composite and simple, and even in the most simple, there is a passive and an active, which, if they were not coupled as in a marriage, like that of man and wife, could not even be there, still less produce anything, and the case is the same throughout universal nature. These incessant marriages derive their source and origin from the heavenly marriage; and thereby there is impressed upon everything in universal nature, both animate and inanimate, an idea of the Lord's kingdom. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia 718

The love of recognizing objects, from the love of being circumspect and defending one's self, has the sense of touch, the pleasures whereof are titillations. That the love of conjoining one's self with one's consort, from the love of uniting good and truth, has the sense of touch is because that sense is common to all the senses and hence takes tribute from all. That this love brings all the above-mentioned senses into communion with itself and appropriates to itself their pleasures, is well known. That the sense of touch is dedicated to conjugial love and is the sense proper thereto, is evident from its every sport and from the exaltation of its refinements to the supremely exquisite. But the further pursuit of this subject is left to lovers. - Emanuel Swedenborg, Conjugial Love 210

"The Lord God said: it is not good for man to be alone." - Genesis 2:18

Autism is the separation of intention and form, of feeling from thought. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Happiness, sadness, pain, heartache, love, tears, joy - this is all there, but the body does not respond. Fire is inside, but it cannot inflame the body's form. The body is obstinate, unwilling to cooperate.

Why? It doesn't know how. There is no bridge, no intermediate principle (link) between the fire of intention and the heavy, plod-plod body that would carry out the intention. There is no water slide, only the precipice and the abyss below. There is no ease; only the abrupt transition from above to below. Everything is collision; nothing is ease-y. Everything is hard.

There is a consolation: the autistic person, if they know feeling, know it more purely than anyone else. Whereas the woman moving with smooth gestures and the man holding his head up with a well-defined presence may think they feel, they don't. For they have confused intention and form. They are one for the socially adept. If they have never been separate, how could they be seen as different? The autistic individual, with the locked-in obsession, the tense muscles, and the abrupt motions, may not move their hands like ripples on the water or walk with well-tuned rhythm, but they don't have to. The water and the rhythm are there, pure, in the spirit, untainted by bodily coating. Autism is spirit distilled from matter.

And yet there is a possibility for change. A remote one, a delicate one, but a glimmer that is nevertheless there: courting. The autistic spirit must court the non-responsive body. For what is it that happens in any developing relationship? The one must see his spirit in her spirit. See the courting couple! See the way the man leans on the table and how the woman, mirroring his gesture, unconsciously responds. See smiles light up between a group of people like a wildfire, no one aware of what he or she is doing. This is unconscious, but it is the same unconsciousness that the hand has when it picks up an object on the table. When we court, we become organs in a single body. Your body is a marriage, and every marriage is a body.

So too with the heart (the intention) and the head (the organ of form). For Joe Blow on the street, they are a happily married couple who have slept skin to skin for decades. For the toe-walking, stiff-gestured autistic, the two are apart. They fear and hate each other. For how could you trust thought when it distorts everything and pins everything down? How could you trust feeling when it has no place to be? And yet they are both mistaken. Thought embraces feeling; feeling gives warmth for thought. And despite the fear, despite the terrifying plod-plod of the form that is the body, despite the open abyss that is emotion, they can unite. And it is wonderful.

The beginning is sight. The spirit, the feeling, intending fire in the heart, must see the form of thought and body. They must simply look at each other. They stand in front of each other, tentative, unsure, afraid. But then they notice: we are not that different, you and I. Like in the scene in Disney's Tarzan which can only be described as bespeaking a deeply spiritual reality, feeling says "I have hands, but so do you." And they touch. And then the relief comes. And then the tears. The dam breaks. The hand reaches through the mirror. The eyes soften and let in the world.

And in that moment, the autistic person says this: "I am not alone. I never was. The warmth in me, hidden, distilled, pure, had forgotten the taste of touch where, through form, warmth discovers itself anew in another. And while this was not without value, it was exhausting, and I deserve rest. This rest is reincarnation through touch; resurrection through matching palms. I can have me and you at the same time. And this grace is only discovered where the oneness of warmth, of feeling, of intention, of verbitude (link) realizes that it can slip, warmly, comfortably, under the covers with definition, with body, with thought, with form, with nounitude. This light is possible. You can have it. And it is seeking you. Just let her reach out and touch her palms to yours.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: Karmic Relationships V.3

Karmic Relationships V.3 Karmic Relationships V.3 by Rudolf Steiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For Anthroposophy, there are seven archangels. Gabriel is one of them, and Michael is another. Each one has to do with certain qualities, and they trade off taking control every three hundred years.

Steiner says that in the three hundred years ending in 1870, Gabriel was in charge. He has to do with heredity, and so with that era nationality, race, and ethnicity were huge concerns. We are now in an age of Michael. Michael rules the principle of intelligence, and until the 9th century AD, all intelligence came directly from him. Intelligence didn't belong to human beings - we just received it. But since the 9th century, intelligence has descended to the individual level. It is *ours* now when it wasn't before. Where before we were mirrors, now we are lamps. No more do we treat learning as a gift from above; now everyone can post tweets and Facebook statuses about their opinion and assert it to be their own intelligence. For Michaelic intelligence has descended to earth, and that's really dangerous.

Why? Because with the personal-ization of intelligence, the possibility has arisen for us to be blind to the spiritual. Every Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett can be blind to spiritual realities and pronounce it common sense. This is the influence of Ahriman, an evil god who *is* materialism, whom Steiner describes as biting, cynical, and overwhelmingly intelligent. He wants to make all intelligence purely earthly, purely personal. And if the state of the world is anything to go by, he's doing really well.

But Michael has a plan. Ever since his intelligence started descending to individual earthly humans, he has assembled legions in the spiritual worlds to bring light again to earth. According to Steiner, Michael assembled a spiritual school of sorts in the 15th century, where he taught them the plan to go into the world and express divine intelligence again. This school was "acted out" in the spiritual world though imaginations at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. And becoming in 1870, it came to earth, and it got bigger and bigger until the end of the twentieth century (still in the future for Steiner). Among other things, it came to earth as Anthroposophy.

Anthroposophy is a manifestation of the Michaelite impulse to reclaim personal intelligence and subsume it under the cosmic intelligence he personfies. Where we are locked inside our skulls, Anthroposophy urges us to see intelligence *in* the world, out in the open, where neither walls nor skin color nor even skin separates us. It is the impulse of universality, where light cleaves unto light.

But not only Anthroposophy. If you recall, Mormonism started at that time. Mormonism longs to gather Israel, to seek out the hidden flecks of light everywhere, to help the captive daughter of Zion "arise from the dust." For this dust is Ahriman, and whenever Mormons redeem the dead, establish converts, minister to their wards, or otherwise gather Zion, they are freeing Michaelic light from it.

And more: Sufism, with definite trans-debominational tendencies, really exploded in Africa in the eighteenth century, and Swedenborg notably predicted that it would and that it was planned. Moreover, Swedenborg himself spoke of a great "Last Judgment" that occurred in the eighteenth century. And then of course there's any number of spiritual movements since then that long to gather and integrate light.

Steiner writes that those who are karmically predestined to help in this battle between Michael and Ahriman will know who they are because they are drawn to Anthroposophy. They will find it hard to cope with the world; their ego and astral body (the soul) will be disconnected from the etheric and physical bodies. They will seem maladapted. But this is a deception. For these souls have the capacity to be more decisive than others; their karma, and thus their happiness and well-being, depends on this sense of initiative and resolve. But they are afraid of being tainted by Ahrimanic powers by doing this, like a bee afraid of the sting recoiling to itself if it stings a threat. But no matter. If you are reading this, you are connected by threads of fate, however slight, to this Michaelic impulse. I suspect many of you will see yourselves here. If so, know that you are therefore called to a fight where you will help Michael reclaim the world from the devil of porn, selfies, and fast food. No longer hide in the shadows! Be bold, put down your phone. Go and do!

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Instagram: Jacob and Esau, or Ego and Instinct

For #SwedenborgSaturday, here's a quote by #Swedenborg where he's explaining what it means when Rebekah tells her son Jacob that Esau is coming to kill him. Jacob is "natural truth," the part of your mind that plans, thinks in words, knows facts. "Jacob" is what knows the scripture mastery verses word-for-word, what can win arguments by appealing to the manual. Finally, Esau is "natural good," the part of you that acts spontaneously, dances with a fury, and lets you speak in a testimony meeting without thinking about what you're going to say. Swedenborg says that natural good is supposed to have the priority over natural truth, just like Esau had the birthright. But just as Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright, natural truth always tricks its way to the top. Whenever you try to think your way through a situation (Jacob), don't trust your instincts (Esau), and put your foot in your mouth, Esau loses his birthright. Jacob is a thinker, but thinking should take the back seat to dancing, running, and hunting (like Esau does in the story). But Esau wants his revenge. Visceral, dense, hairy goodness wants to dethrone clean, clever, yuppie-ish truth. So he plots his revenge. That's what the passage in question means: "good" (Esau) has a continual purpose to "invert the priority" that truth (Jacob) has over it. Instinct can overthrow thought, the #Jungian #Shadow can swamp the ego, and it *will* unless you come to terms with it. The solution? Leah and Rachel, what Swedenborg call the affection of exterior and interior truth, respectively, but might more succinctly be called "adaptation." Of what? Of instinct to thought, of shadow to ego. You need to see the instinct you've rejected through the perspective of the thought that rejected it. "Wait, so sports *are* fun?" or "Oh, I actually *do* like being angry?" Etc. Only after these little "affections of truth" have taken place can the big union take place: of instinct with thought, where the shadow comes and falls upon the ego's neck, weeping with joy. #LDS #Mormon #spiritual #spirituality #spirit #Jung #CarlJung #ShadowWork #Bible #scripture #BookofMormon #faith #hope #love #faithhopelove #inspiratiom
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