On Seeking Safe Haven

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I’ve spent most of my sixty-five years of life looking for a person, doctrine,  or organization that I could build my life around. I started out looking to my parents to fulfill this role. I found early on that I could depend upon my father to provide us with shelter, clothing, food, and the luxuries of upper middle class Anglo life, but that he was largely unavailable emotionally and could not protect me from my abusive older brother. My mother I found I could depend upon to provide me with delicious meals, delightful books, affection, and consolation, except when her alcoholism and borderline personality disorder symptoms turned her manipulative, vindictive, and sexually abusive.

For years I felt torn between the two of them, and my ambivalence took an odd turn.

Mother put pressure on me to choose her over my father, which—let’s be frank—it wasn’t hard to do, given his loud, gritted-teeth complaints, self-isolation, and demands for absolute obedience. But I liked the fact that he was a writer, and I think I sensed his self-loathing, and I identified with him more than I liked to admit at the time. Now in the bedroom they shared, my father slept on the left side of the bed, my mother on the right. So at night I felt torn. If I slept on the left side of my bed, would I be symbolically choosing my father over my mother? If I slept on the right side of my bed, would I be symbolically choosing my mother over my father? So I compromised: I taught myself to sleep flat on my back, a habit I tend to follow to this day.

Once I entered adolescence, I more or less gave up trying to find refuge in my parents’ world and I sought refuge in my private dream world of comic books, science fiction, fantasy, mythology, and chaste fantasies of joining Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men, or being adopted as innocent school mascot by my brother Anthony’s Air Force Academy classmates. When I became aware of my homosexuality, I began fantasizing about finding a Mister Right, the perfect man who, in exchange for my exclusive devotion and access to my body, would console, protect, and give shape and direction to the rest of my life.

The problem was that, owing to incest trauma, I felt sex was dirty—not just homosexuality, but all sex. I got this feeling from my mother. So I decided that I did not want to be sexual at all. After my father’s sudden death in early 1971, I sought out the sexuality-free surrogate family I’d always fantasized about: I became a celibate Fundamentalist Christian for seven years.

The people with whom I worshiped were good people, genuinely trying to live by Jesus’s teachings of love and forgiveness. Although my self-betrayal ate away at me, the love and acceptance they showed me had a healing effect on me. They gave me a refuge from the storm of my life. But in the end I left the church, and Fundamentalism, in large part because I felt I had been putting on an act. Though I was indeed celibate for most of the seven years I was with them, I now know the difference between celibacy, born of lifestyle conviction, and sexual anorexia born of abuse trauma. And I was not the only one who left. Several years ago I discovered that the pastor of the last church I attended had been gay, and had committed suicide because he had not been able to reconcile his faith with his physicality.

All this took place many decades ago. Today, at 65 years old, five feet seven inches tall, and 290 pounds, I am far from healed; I like to joke that I have more issues than National Geographic. But I have a renewed faith in Divine Love, from Whose womb I was born and to Whose womb I shall return, and for Whom my homosexuality is a natural species variation, not a monstrosity or a curse worthy of damnation. And I have been fortunate in meeting numerous fellow travelers, straight, gay, in between, and undecided, whose kindness has consistently reached out to me in dark times.

So if you are tempted to give up who you are to get love, don’t give in to that temptation. Start asking for help, and keep on asking until you start getting it. It can and does get better, but only if you refuse to let your abusers win. •

A Love Letter To Alex, On the Anniversary of His Suicide

Dear  Alex,

Today, January 27th, is the anniversary of the day I found you dead on your bed in 1988. My elderly cat has been sick, and though I love him dearly and will miss him terribly when it is his time to pass, my weeping was so intense today, and my feelings of guilt and shame so pronounced, that I knew what I was feeling had to be about earlier losses, too. Hence this letter.

It’s not the only letter I’ve written to you, by any means; for years I struggled with the persistent notion that I could have saved you from your suicide; that somehow you had killed yourself because I had failed as a partner and lover. Now, so many years, therapies, 12 Step programs, and heart-openings later, I know that your story was not my story. Had I opened the door that night at 10pm when I returned from work to find the light on under your door, I might have delayed your death, for the coroner told me you had died around midnight that night. But in the end, if death is what you wished for (and your ex-wife told me over the phone you had attempted it before, during your marriage to her), you would have found a way to hasten it. After all, a month before you died you warned me what was going to happen.

We were in the car going somewhere, you driving, me in the front passenger seat. You said, “I had a funny dream last night. I dreamed we were in a hospital room. I was lying in bed in a coma, and you were sitting on the chair next to the bed. And I knew that you were all right with my condition, because I’d told you many times that the place where I go when I do deep trance is so beautiful that some day I may not want to come back.” Maybe it was that dream (if it was a dream and not your way of hinting what was to come) that prompted me on some level to realize our time together remaining would be curtailed, for it was in mid-January that I sprung on you that surprise birthday party, where all our friends gathered, and we played a game, and you had cake, and laughed, and said, “No one has ever had a birthday party for me before.” Less than two weeks later you were dead.

My inner child has always been terrified of death. Death, in fact, is my Life Theme, the greatest truth this incarnation of mine has been learning to accept, assimilate, and adapt to. Maybe that’s one reason I was attracted to metaphysics after my rationalist upbringing and my ensuing 7 years as a Fundamentalist Christian—I sought to find evidence that the body is not all of us; that physical death is not the death of something deeper and more core in us; and that somehow Tarot, trancework, channeling and so forth would console me in ways that conventional religion failed to do. And it has helped. After my little brother Jeff, you were the greatest spiritual inspiration in my life. Your deep-trance channelings, which I (suspiciously at first, then more and more credulously) helped you attain with my guided meditations, changed my life completely. My entire spiritual world view has evolved from the talks you gave in your spirit-persona of  “Alexandra”, and I’m not the only one you helped by any means.

I can still recall clearly the sense of peace and nurture that flowed through your Alexandra persona to me and everyone else who attended our meetings in Key West, Florida, Ireland, and later Santa Fe, New Mexico, where you died. And I can recall vividly that the morning I found you, the moment I put my hand on your doorknob at 10am to rouse you for a meeting with a client we had scheduled for 11, I knew you were dead. I opened the door, saw you on the bed, and felt you and Alexandra—not the same person, but two personas—”floating” near the ceiling, witnessing me. I’ve had spiritual experiences since then, several in which I caught a glimpse of that Heaven of Light and Sound which made you so blissful whenever you tranced. But the experience I had that morning was my Lightning-Struck Tower.

Thank you for all you gave me. Thank you for my sense of your continuing presence in my life. I have loved other men since I met you, but you remain uniquely precious.

P.S. Please watch over my cat, and help me release him to the arms of Love when it comes his time to rise. •

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Visions of Divine Love: An Audio Talk

Spent last Sunday morning giving a little talk at the Celebration, a spiritual congregation in Santa Fe. I told them about some spiritual experiences that I had last fall. Those of you who are interested in this sort of thing might enjoy giving my talk a listen. Of course, being a Pisces, I got choked up with emotion several times.

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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.

To Blame

ImageTo Blame is the fourth least creative level of consciousness after To Control Absolutely, To Force, and To Threaten. As To Threaten focuses the soul’s attention on the future, thus inhibiting balanced creative action in the face of fear, so To Blame traps the soul in the past. Persons focused on the consciousness level of To Blame cannot stop hating, and therefore can never be free of those forces that have hurt them.

To Blame consciousness not only traps those focused within it, forcing them to relive over and over again the hurts of the past; it also erodes, slowly but surely, their sense of proportion and responsibility, until the original hurt and its perpetrators loom larger and larger in the consciousness until they become a sufferer’s Higher Power. To Blame consciousness also erodes one’s sense of responsibility, tempting the soul to attribute all its travails to the persons and incidents who have harmed it, therefore robbing the soul of its power to make positive choices.

Does this mean that we must crush our anger over wrongs done us and throw ourselves with gritted teeth into the arms of forgiveness? Of course not. The only way to forgiveness is through anger: acknowledging it; using it to help us take positive steps to extricate ourselves from harmful situations and people; and when we feel safe enough to do so, slowly beginning to permit ourselves to soften around our anger and the memories that gave rise to it. Eventually the hurts become part of the landscape of the inner self, like the soft eroded hills of the Appalachians, which once, eons ago, were massive and forbidding.

The flip side of To Blame is To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve. Unjust guilt feelings and the shame that accompanies them can drive people to suicide. Abused children and spouses frequently blame themselves for their abusers’ actions; rape sufferers have often been accused of “asking for it” because they were dressed in a sexually appealing way when they were violated. Religious groups regularly target specific fringe populations as particularly hateful to God. And when members of such fringe populations internalize that hatred, accepting that censure, terrible things can happen.

My former pastor, a kind and brilliant man who ran the Evangelical Presbyterian Church I once belonged to, committed suicide because he was homosexual. He was not a child molester. He had not hidden his attraction to men from the board of elders who oversaw his stewardship of the church, and had vowed a celibate life. He had continued to pastor his congregation with wisdom and prudence, and was known in the larger community for his work in comforting dying AIDS patients. But in the end, his acceptance of our religious group’s censure of homosexual desire killed him.

To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame are the four least creative consciousness levels. And they are not static; once the consciousness starts to collapse, it tends to keep going. People who blame others tend to be easily threatened. Fearful people tend to turn to force to protect themselves. And violent people engender violent societies in which individual freedoms are eventually abrogated entirely.

How does one stop the collapse of one’s consciousness into less and less creative levels? How does one lift oneself out of To Control or To Be Controlled, To Force or To Be Forced, To Threaten or To Be Threatened, To Blame or To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve?

NEXT: To Accept With Intent To Learn.

Warnings From the Shadow

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Many years ago a client informed me that I had given her an inaccurate psychic reading. The reason, she said, was that a malevolent extraterrestrial had clouded my perceptions, causing the reading to fail.

Even if one believes, as I do, that psychic abilities and a spiritual reality exist, there are a lot of less dramatic reasons why a psychic might screw up a reading. Wanting to please a client too much is usually mine. But I also have a horror of misleading people, so naturally this phone call disturbed me.

What disturbed me even more was my client’s allegation that invisible aliens can control human minds. This has become a popular doctrine in the New Age community worldwide. ET influence has been offered as an explanation for illness, fatigue, accidents, depression, relationship difficulties and prosperity setbacks. Self-proclaimed ET representatives offer community, identity, excitement, peace and spiritual rescue to those willing to embrace the truth of the UFO underground.

All of this is an uncomfortable mirror of things I was taught when I was a Fundamentalist Christian in the seventies. In those days it was Satan and his demons that I was taught to beware rather than manipulative ETs, and the identity offered me was that of membership in the ranks of those saved by grace from the Last Judgment.

Both doctrines offer the same seduction. Both view the world “out there” as essentially malignant, and view the world inside us as invaded by evil. Both doctrines offer me the promise that someone outside myself can heal me, whether it be a Messiah or a “de-corder” removing my “ET implants.” Both doctrines promise to save me from the pain of being merely human by giving me a new, cleaner, more spiritual, higher identity as one of the reborn or one of the starborn. And both doctrines relieve me of the responsibility for facing the rage and sadness rooted in my childhood which, unreleased and unresolved, is the true cause of my dysfunctions.

It’s all reminiscent of what sociologists call millennial fever. We are still in the first years of the new millennium. A thousand years ago in Europe, on the eve of the year 1001 in the Christian calendar, paranoid doctrines increasingly proliferated. In those days, the invisible enemies were considered Jews, heretics, and demons. Jews, it was alleged, went about poisoning wells at night; heretics sought to seduce the theologically uneducated; demons crouched on one’s bed under the moon and tempted the flesh to rebel against the Creator. The world, the preachers back then said, was coming to an end. Evidence for this was the rebelliousness of youth and society’s increasing immorality, ecclesiastic corruption, and the proliferation of war, disease, and natural disaster. Watch the skies, people were told, for the Lord would soon appear in His glory to rescue the world from End Time horrors.

Now it is polluters, feminists, gay people, pro-choicers, immigrant “entitlement-takers”, crack dealers and bad ETs we are taught to fear in the night. Now it is good ETs we are taught to search the sky for. But both doctrines are fueled by the same unconscious, unresolved traumas.

Maybe it’s because I am an incest and PTSD survivor in recovery that I resist so strongly the notion that invisible ETs can take over my mind. But I don’t think so. I stand by the truth that intuition, reason, and emotional experience have proven to me: that it is I who cast the shadows that seem to pursue me.

Waiting for Messiah: C. S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength”

When I was a Fundamentalist Christian, thirty years ago, one of my favorite Christian authors was C. S. Lewis. Lewis was an Oxford theologian best known nowadays for his children’s books set in the magical land of Narnia. But he wrote an adult science fiction trilogy, too, centering around a spacefaring Messianic figure named Ransom.

Ransom’s name suggests the character of Jesus Christ, who in Christian theology, through His sufferings on the cross, ‘ransomed’ believers condemned to eternal torment in Hell for their sins.
Scientifically speaking, Lewis’s trilogy — Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength — makes for somewhat dated reading today for its view of Venus and Mars as nakedly habitable. But as vivid depictions, in a fantasy setting, of the Christian doctrines of spiritual evil and redemption, and how spiritual evil at the corporate level results in the destruction of both the environment and individual resistance to dehumanization and violence — these books show more than a few moments of genius.

The last book in the trilogy, That Hideous Strength, is for me the most powerful. It follows the struggles of a young British married couple — he an atheist and she a feminist intellectual — as they are torn by conflicting loyalties: he to the hellish corporation for which he works, a demonically led and energized group that is attempting to defile and vampirize for itself the last sacred place in England; she to Ransom and his followers, who are leading the fight against her husband’s employers and the hideous strength of the Enemy of humanity that uses, abuses, and works through them.

There are things I dislike heartily about this book: that the only gay character is a demonic, sadistic Lesbian who enjoys torturing and sexually abusing the persons she is told to interrogate; and that the wife’s feminism is portrayed as spiritual short-sightedness masking rejection of her true God-given destiny as womb for the next Messiah. But nobody, except perhaps George Orwell in 1984, does a better job than Lewis of portraying the spiritual sickness at the heart of Fascist corporations and government.

I bring all this up because I have felt for some time that there is a spiritual sickness at the heart of the Washington, D.C. power culture that the last several Republican regimes have epitomized. I feel very strongly that the mass consciousness, out of fear, called into being an oligarchy of sociopaths whose only idea of right and wrong has been what feels right or wrong for them personally, no matter the consequences to the rest of us.

And just as, in That Hideous Strength, the evil corporation’s veneer of civilization drops away when confronted to reveal the hideous visage of pure unrestrained appetite lurking beneath, so did Republican pretense of reasonableness and candor fall away during these last weeks before the election, showing a glimpse of the hideous amorality and desperate, irrational vindictiveness that had come to control and work through them.

I am not the only person to make the connection between That Hideous Strength and the last two Republican administrations. When I googled That Hideous Strength I found a Fundamentalist “End Times” website that equates Bush with the Beast of Revelations. When I was a Christian I, too, longed for the Beast to show up so that history could end, and Christ return to usher in an age of peace. But I no longer believe that there is a Beast, any more than I believe that there is a Messiah. In fact, I feel that yearning for a Messiah to rescue us could be the worst thing humanity can do given the problems facing us.

I am no longer a Christian. And I do not believe that Barack Obama, for whom I voted twice, is the Messiah. He is just a man, and even if he means half of what he has promised he will possess no magic wand to wave over the mess this country is in. It took years and several administrations for us to get sucked into the mire, and it will take years and several administrations at least to get us out.

But the mass consciousness is not rational. It operates on the most primitive level of Thought Reality, a child’s level. And just as it called into being a Father and a Son — Bush Senior and Junior — so it is capable of calling into being a third member of its Trinity. I hope not. For if Obama was called to power by a mass consciousness yearning for salvation from the masters it called into being previously, then there can only be one ultimate fate for him. And I am tired of good people dying for what is right.

What this world needs more than a sacrificial lamb is women and men committed to living in a balanced, compassionate manner — living for what is right rather than dying for it. So let’s not give the mass consciousness a reason to kill another Messiah for our inspiration. Let’s just roll up our sleeves and do what we can, where we are, with all our limitations, to make our tiny corner of the world a more compassionate place. Angels and demons and UFO aliens aside, that’s what the New Age is really all about, and I think that Ransom would agree.