Do You Believe In Fairies? Clap Your Hands

Spoiler Alert: Last night, on Netflix, I watched a British film called “Hippopotamus”. The main character and narrator is a  late middle aged British critic whose sardonic skepticism is equaled only by his sense of personal failure and self-loathing. In the film, he is called to an aristocratic country home to investigate rumors that a younger son there—the critic’s godson—has developed supernatural healing abilities. A man, a horse, and several women have been reported as cured of life-threatening illnesses when the boy laid hands upon them.

“Hippopotamus” is well scripted and well acted. The main character’s acerbic wit both appeals and appalls. But the ending is predictable. The critic—a former poet plagued with writer’s block for decades—unmasks the “healings” as a con on the part of the boy: one of the women dies, and the others’ symptoms return, except for the horse’s, who turns out to have been suffering from nothing worse than a hangover brought on by lapping up an alcoholic beverage accidentally dumped into its water bucket by the critic.

There is a happy ending of sorts: the boy admits to the con; is reconciled with his father, whom the con had been designed to impress; the critic’s writer’s block dissolves; and he starts making poems again. But the underlying assumptions of the film are what I’ve come to expect from modern secular media: there is no God; “miracles” are simply chance occurrences explicable by natural law; and anyone who believes in God, the supernatural, faith, or life after death is a self-deluded lamebrain.

True confession time: The movie depressed me. Against all experience and true expectation, I had deep down hoped that the main character would at least have been left with some doubts about the certitude of his materialism. When the hope was dashed, my ancient doubts concerning the true nature of my own mystical and psychic experiences rose up chattering. This is nothing new—my mind has always been a house divided, rationalist on one side, mystic on the other—and when such dark moods descend on me, I feel like a charlatan who has wasted his life living in a dream world.

Oddly enough, when I go into trance, or throw the cards for a client, or am in the presence of others who have had mystical experiences, my doubts recede, and the quiet joy of knowing that Divine Love is real, and that we are all,  ultimately, safe, returns.  But when I am alone in my flat, at night, it is more difficult to recapture that startling sense of peace I experience in the day.

This dualism is in part inherited: My father was an agnostic and purported rationalist; my mother, a high church Episcopalian who taught me from an early age “If I should die before I wake, I pray my Lord my soul to take.” I always felt torn between them, to the point where, as a child, I taught myself to sleep on my back rather than on my left or right side, because Daddy slept on the left side of the bed he shared with Mommy, and Mommy slept on the right side, and I felt if I chose right or left I would be siding with one parent against the other.

Tonight, as I lay in bed suffocating beneath the dread that the materialists are right, and that my mystic experiences are nothing more than brain farts, I could understand how some people believe in demon oppression or soulsucking negative thoughtform attacks—because I felt attacked, not by demons, but by the overwhelmingly pessimistic materialism of modern secular intellectual culture. And the thought came to me: You don’t have to give in to these doubts. You have a choice, based upon your experience, to believe in spirit guides, nature spirits, ghosts, reincarnation, soul travel, ESP, Tarot, channeling, and other manifestations of nonlinear consciousness, or not to believe in them. Which choice makes your life run more smoothly while not violating either your reason or your intuition? Choose now.

My lifelong difficulty reconciling my father’s agnosticism with my mother’s emotional religiosity was predicted, many years ago, when I was a sophomore at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. I developed a crush on a bisexual upperclassman who dabbled in the occult, inspired by the characters in John Fowles’ The Magus. One day, while in a pot-fueled trance, he predicted that I would spend my life standing on the crossroads showing the way for others to follow, while never taking that path myself.

Tonight I say: I choose to believe that life is more than a molecular dance, wondrous though that dance may be. Tonight I choose to believe that Spirit is real, and that my experiences of It are glimpses of a truth underlying, upholding, and surrounding the truths of physical reality. To put it another way, words deliberately chosen to irritate the the sophisticated atheist who lives inside me: tonight I choose to believe in fairies. And if you choose to believe in them, too? Why, do what Peter Pan invited us to do when Tinker Bell lay at death’s door. If you believe in fairies, clap your hands. •

 

A Message From “The Family”: On Atheism

celloatSarajevoMister Rand is often disturbed when he encounters advertisements or Internet posts from and about persons espousing atheism as a rational, more balanced approach to understanding and coping with life than theism, religiosity, mysticism, or theomancy. He is disturbed because deep down he himself does not entirely believe that he can be lucky enough for his channelings of unconditional love and light to be accurate and valid. Particularly since his mystical experiences feel so undramatic to him—familiar, almost ordinary in their safeness and familiarity—and never accompanied by UFO sightings, beams of mysterious light breaking through ceilings, angels with outstretched wings, and so forth.

But true mysticism is not always expressed via the melodramatic  memes one encounters in television and film. True mysticism is less likely to be a riotous adventure of alien abduction and much more likely to be turning a corner in one’s day and discoverin g that one is suddenly seeing everything afresh, as though one were awakening from a dream.

Beliefs are not the same things as experiences. One can experience the mystical without believing in it; similarly, one can believe in something without experiencing it. The keynote of whether a belief is core or a superficial adoption lies in whether one takes that belief and builds a world for oneself to inhabit out of it.

Atheism is currently fashionable, particularly among certain classes of intelligentsia in the USA where Mister Rand dwells. As a belief structure, atheism dates back thousands of years in Western civilization, and like religious beliefs, atheism often arises from (1) trauma, (2) acculturation, (3) home rearing, and/or (4) gender role identification.

Traumatic atheism, like traumatic religiosity, arises from unbearable psychological wounds such as those suffered by rape, war, accident, and bereavement victims. Traumatic atheism, however, often can be traced to an individual’s abuse in childhood or another vulnerable life period at the hands of overtly religious persons or institutions. Hence, for the traumatic atheist, atheism can be experienced as a liberation from the manacles of “terror theology”—religiosity rooted in Force, Threat, and Blame, that seeks to expunge the individual self and soul in order to make the self more easily controllable by the religious hierarchy. Where traumatic atheism does not arise from religious abuse, but from unbearable pain due to violence and loss, it can provide liberation from the torment of a sufferer’s wondering whether their suffering is a “punishment” by Deity for some deed or character flaw in a given or former lifetime. Traumatic atheism can also be an expression of rage against a deity one secretly still believes in, the atheist “punishing” that deity (or one’s parents, or one’s pastor) by refusing to worship the deity one has been taught to venerate. In all these cases, therefore, atheism serves the same purpose as other belief systems: protection or liberation of the self from the unbearable weight of pain.

Opportunistic or social atheism is our term for atheism arising from an individual’s desire to fit in with a desireable social group, usually a group that confers upon its members or adherents social, intellectual, [monetary] or political status not afforded to individuals who are theists or religious. Fad atheism, like fad religion, depends upon group pressure for its continuation; when the individual outgrows the need for group authentication, fad atheism—like fad religion—often fades.

Environmental atheism, like environmental religiosity, is atheism arising from family or bonding-group indoctrination. It is cultural in origin, with powerful emotional triggers and anchorings. For such atheists, theism can seem like a betrayal of intensely intimate familial and cultural values and kinship ties.

Gender-based atheism arises, usually amongst boys and men, when they are exposed to the notion that religiosity is somehow effeminizing, something that “real” men do not believe in—the province of moral, intellectual, or sexual “weaklings.” The statement, “Religion is the opium of the people” is [in our view] an expression largely of gender [role] based atheism.

Then there is a kind of atheism that arises from a genuine, heartfelt examination of one’s observations of the world and experiences therein. This kind of atheism, which we may term “true” atheism, is a true reflection of the internal process whereby an individual seeks to make emotional, intellectual, and philosophical sense of a frequently violent, apparently heartless, and often random and impersonal world. Just as “true” religiosity may be said to arise from an openhearted examination of evidences for universal consciousness, “true” atheism may represent a “high” and transfiguring awakening within the individual to a broader sense of reality. As such, true atheism can be a powerful tool for healing, acceptance, resourcefulness, and balance within the individual. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled by Rand B. Lee on 7 September 2015 6:40 AM MT.

Why Do We Suffer?

eyeless_girlVarious explanations have been offered down through the ages to explain the suffering experienced by so many in physical reality. In some traditions, there are good gods and evil gods, constantly vying for supremacy over their Creation. In Fundamentalist Christian tradition, it’s humans’ fault that pain and hardship exists in the world, which was cursed because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience at the dawn of time; catastrophe is frequently seen in this tradition as God’s punishment for unrepentant human sin. In traditions where reincarnation is espoused, pain and suffering is often explained as the logical outcome of misdeeds done by the sufferer in past lives.

In atheist materialist tradition, physical reality is a mindless mechanism unaware of and unconcerned with the suffering of its creatures. Stephen Fry, noted British actor, writer, and outspoken atheist, recently said in an interview that in light of all the horrors that exist in this world (such as certain insects that can burrow into childrens’ eyes), a compassionate loving God could not possibly exist. The argument is simple and compelling: as God, the deity is presumably omnipotent and omnipresent; as a loving God, the deity is presumably concerned with the suffering of others. Logically, then, if God created insects that burrow into children’s eyes, God is either not loving, or It does not exist.

The visions I experienced in the fall of 2013 showed me unmistakably that a multiversal Consciousness (which many call “God”) does exist, and that Its nature is love and light. These visionary experiences I have since learned resemble those of many religious and non-religious individuals down through history and across all cultures. The symbols vary from person to person and culture to culture, but the gist is the same: that we are each of us known, accepted, and supported by a universal consciousness that is personal without being individual, and that is utterly familiar without being comprehensible. [For a compelling examination of mystical experience from the viewpoint of a nonmaterialist neuroscientist, see The Spiritual Brain by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary (New York: HarperOne, ISBN 978-0-06-162598-5, paperback $14.99), available through Amazon.com.]

My visions have given me hope that ultimately, whatever happens to my body, the core of me is eternally loved and safe. But my visions did not give me any theology with which to understand why life in physical reality involves so much suffering, or why “God” appears to do nothing about this.

The Kinds of Suffering

Not all my suffering arises from the same vectors or conditions. I’ve broken down the stuff that causes me the most pain into several categories, organized according to the forces and actions involved in the suffering I experience.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from the Actions of Natural Forces: My severe juniper pollen allergy, worse this winter than ever before in living memory; my genetic predispositions towards osteoarthritis, depression, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes; the aches and pains that come from the natural aging of my body; my spinal damage due to a mild case of polio as a child in the Fifties; the physical distances between things and people; the deaths of loved ones from AIDS, alcoholism, and heart attack.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from the Actions of Others: My ongoing PTSD, the result of my upbringing in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic pedophile mother, an angry chronically depressed father, and a sadistic, mentally ill older brother; the economic and sociopolitical forces operative nationally and in New Mexico that make access to employment and medical care difficult for low-income people like me; my struggle for self-acceptance as a gay man in a homophobic culture; Santa Fe’s socioeconomic stratification; the high cost of education; the suicide of my lover Stuart.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from My Own Actions or Inactions: My years of resistance to acknowledging, and seeking help for, my incest background and eating disorder; my poverty, which partially results from my having made unwise education choices as a young man; my loneliness, the result of self-imposed social isolation; my perfectionism; my attempts at controlling a physical reality that is naturally in a constant state of change; my lifelong tendency to resist exercise;  my lifelong practice of eating foods that harm me; the harms I have done to others; the depression that comes from my insistence upon listening to radio news and reading newspaper accounts of the world’s pain; my resistance to acknowledging the good things in my life because I’m so pissed off by the bad things; my resistance to asking for help from God and others.

I recognize that I have not experienced horrors and brutalities that so many of the world’s peoples experience on a daily basis. Nonetheless, suffering is suffering. What kind of help can I expect the “God” of my visions to give me in dealing with the sufferings of everyday life? To what extent can the “God” of my visions directly affect or mitigate the hardships spacetime affords me? And how can I best access this help? We’ll look at this issue in the next blog.

Next: Accessing Divine Help In Spacetime.

 

 

 

 

 

A Message from “The Family”: On Faith and Doubt

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Mister Rand is frequently plagued with concerns that the truths he has clung to for consolation and support he will find, in a shattering moment of terror on his deathbed, to all have been founded upon falsehoods. He is not alone in this fear. Many individuals, when apprised of their forthcoming deaths, return to the religions of their childhoods; or, alternatively, trumpet their atheism, comforting themselves with the certainty that the death of the body is an extinguishment (rather than a damnation or rebirth, as others claim). Mister Rand has always wished to look Death in the eye when that angel finally comes for him, because Mister Rand has feared Death all his life. And so what do these matters tell us about faith and doubt?

Faith and doubt, as we see it, are tools selected unconsciously or consciously by the human soul in order to create certain experiences while in physical reality. For example, when he was a boy, Mister Rand unconsciously elected to side with his agnostic father regarding religion and the divine, because his mother, an alcoholic and pedophile, was a believing Christian according to her lights. Mister Rand wished his father to approve of him, and he wished to detach himself from his mother, particularly as he grew older and her anger towards males became more apparent in her attitudes and actions towards him. But once Mister Rand’s father died, Mister Rand’s need for a context in which to know himself and live his life led Mister Rand to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior on a beach in New Jersey, as a result of a young man preaching to him from a pamphlet called “The Four Spiritual Laws.”

Returning to the town where he was attending college, Mister Rand got involved with a church where he was welcomed by many, and this gave him a sense of having a family again. He cast himself fully into the practices and doctrines of the church group, even to the point of trying to convince family and friends of the truth of the Christianity he espoused. And yet part of him did not like the sacrifices Mister Rand felt he had to make in order to continue to be accepted by the Christians with whom he was involved; that is to say, his homosexuality, which, as he recovered slowly from the trauma associated with the death of his agnostic father, exerted more and more of a tug upon his bodymind. And so, when he had healed from the greater part of the death trauma around his father, and when Mister Rand had gained the inner strength to once more go out into the world on his own, he began to question some of the teachings of the group with which he was involved. Feeling his faith slipping away, in desperation he sought out an elder of the church and asked this man to mentor him; but the man was homophobic, having lost a wife to her coming out as a Lesbian; and only grudgingly told Mister Rand he would mentor him. And Mister Rand knew his days as a Christian were over.

So Mister Rand [again] embraced the agnosticism of his father. It was an effort to permit himself an expansion of his earthly experiences. Agnosticism, unlike atheism, does not claim certainty of the existence or nonexistence of God/dess; so to Mister Rand unconsciously agnosticism represented a freedom to explore matters of faith and reality and experience that he had not permitted himself before in his life thus far. This period of agnosticism came to an end when Mister Rand’s younger brother discovered the “Seth” channelings of the late Jane Roberts. There awakened in Mister Rand a curiosity to explore spiritual mysticism and the practices of divination known as the Tarot, for deep down he had continued to feel a yearning for certain guidance for his soul. He also wished to become looked up to by New Agers as a man of occult wisdom, for he felt like a failure whom no one could love or look up to, because he was not a famous writer like his father; had no life partner; and was not tall with big muscles, bravado, and/or tattoos like his older brother.

So Mister Rand became a Tarot reader, and found he had a talent for seeing connections when stimulated by querent questions and the images on the Tarot cards. And so his reputation as a Tarot reader spread slowly throughout the community where he lived with his mother and brother. Suddenly he met the man who for two years would become the most important figure in his life: Mister Alex, named Stuart Lucker. Together they became a psychic team, first in Key West, Florida, then in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And from Mister Alex’s channelings as “Alexandra” came several life systems that Mister Rand hungrily adopted, for they gave his life meaning without demanding that he hate his innermost nature, as Fundamentalist Christianity had done.

After Mister Alex’s death, Mister Rand continued to explore the Tarot, and later, trance work or “channeling” as well; and within his superconscious created the aggregate information source he calls “The Family,” a source within his Greater Self that enables him to see connections not easily perceptible to his conscious mind. This mindset he has more or less maintained ever since.

But Mister Rand has always been plagued by doubts that his New Age beliefs might be no truer than the Christian beliefs or agnosticism he had previously espoused. Part of the reason for this is that Mister Rand is incarnated as the Essence we call Judgment, in which dualism, and in particular dualistic thinking, is enthroned mightily: I believe/I believe not; I am man/I am woman; I am good/I am evil; God is Love in all parts of Godself/God is a consuming fire; reality has purpose, with Love at the core of it/reality has no purpose, and all physical reality’s denizens are merely accidental meat machines. Another reason for Mister Rand’s doubtings is that as he has grown in experience he has, deep within himself, sensed a truth larger even than the truths channeled by his lover Alex and later by himself; that is, truths of a different order entirely and beyond what “The Family” as he thinks of us can express and perceive. For we are a construct merely, a tool for the transmission of insight already held within Mister Rand’s Greater Self, and within the Greater Selves of Mister Rand’s clients who seek “The Family’s” advice. So, just as when he left agnosticism for Fundamentalism, Fundamentalism for agnosticism, and agnosticism for spiritualism, Mister Rand, unknown to himself, has a longing for experience that he does not feel his current form of belief can support or legitimize. And so part of him doubts the teachings of “Alexandra” that have sustained him for so long.

And so faith and doubt are tools, even more than they are expressions of psychological bent or orientation; tools which the Greater Self uses to assist Mister Rand in creating life experience for himself. What form Mister Rand’s new tools will take we cannot say, except that Love is at the core of it; for his recent visions of Love, utterly without doctrinal or theological system to accompany them, have exerted a major influence upon Mister Rand’s soul.

And so, if you struggle with doubt, ask yourself, “What experience has faith not given me that I may be needing to leave my former faith in order to enjoy?” And we thank you for sharing.

— May 10, 2014. Channeled by Rand B. Lee. All rights reserved.

Thoughts on Atheism

Recently I’ve been watching on YouTube old uploads of “Q.I.”, a delightful British comedy game show hosted by Stephen Fry. Although he is very polite about it, Fry — who is one of the U.K.’s most famous and popular figures and has come out publicly as gay, bipolar, and an ex-addict — makes clear that he is an atheist and believes that religion is nonsense.

There are as many different kinds of atheists as there are religious people, and for many of the same reasons. Some atheists are raised by parents who were atheists, and religion simply never entered into the formation of their world view. Some atheists are reacting against childhood abuse by religious relatives or groups. Some atheists become so due to severe emotional or physical traumas; they have lived in Hell, and having emerged from it (at least partially), their bitterness has overwhelmed them, or their hope in the ultimate meaning and benevolence of reality has been extinguished.

Some atheists seem to be reacting against the extreme behaviors of certain Fundamentalist religious groups, both in this country and abroad. Some atheists were once believers, but became atheists when, often after long effort and diligence, did not achieve the emotional and spiritual satisfaction for which they had longed from their religious group(s) of their choice. And some atheists appear to declare themselves as such not because they have thought and felt deeply about human ethics, history, and personal pain, but because atheism is currently fashionable among the intelligentsia.

But there are atheists who become so because, in all sincerity, they have seen no evidence in science or history that an unseen spiritual world exists. They believe that all evidences of spiritual interaction with the physically measurable can be better and more simply explained by coincidence, biology, misinterpretation, or fraud. I find that such atheists are seldom contemptuous of or hostile towards believers, and I can respect them because of this.

If you go back over the above gloss of atheism and its causes, you may notice that precisely the same arguments can serve to illumine the motives and experience of self-proclaimed religious people. Some believers are believers because they were raised that way. Some become believers after years of seeking. Some become believers in response to living in Hell, whether the Hell of childhood abuse, war, or addiction. Some become believers because they have had numinous experiences that they simply cannot explain away as delusional. Such believers are seldom contemptuous of or hostile towards atheists, and I can respect them because of this.

Many of us, however, fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes. Sometimes I am certain of the love and protection of the unseen, and my fear of death as extinguishment recedes. Sometimes I am certain that everyone and everything in physical reality are essentially meaningless and accidental, and my fear of death as extinguishment reduces me to sobbing paralysis. And sometimes I simply don’t know. So I call myself a spiritualist agnostic. A skeptical psychic, if you will.

One thing I am certain of: atheists and believers treating one another as enemies comes from places of fear, and fear clouds judgment, making communication impossible. There are no opposite camps, however comforting it may be for me to think so sometimes.