On Giving Up Theology

MAJORTRUMPS.XII.TheHermitI tend to continually compare my idealized inner picture of the world as I feel it should be with the reality I perceive around me. As a result, I am usually disappointed, because physical reality has its own rules and patterns that often do not square with my idealized inner picture. In an attempt to discover and understand these rules and patterns, I have spent most of my life exploring different philosophies, religions, and lifestyles, hoping to find one that would feel like home.

The Good Boy

As a child, I thought by being “good” according to my familial value-set, I would be rewarded with the love, safety, and belonging that I craved. When that didn’t work, I asked my Dad to send me to a psychiatrist, because I felt something was wrong with me, and if I just fixed it, everything would be smooth sailing from then on. That didn’t work, either.

Bible College

My father died suddenly, and I had a psychological snapping experience: I converted to Fundamentalist Christianity. I found a community of Bible-believing Christians who were really trying to live their faith. I did my best to follow the rules, which entailed giving up sexuality, dressing conservatively, and accepting the doctrine that I was bad through and through, a sinner deserving of eternal punishment in Hell. I even went to Bible College at my pastor’s urging and with my family’s money. But in the end, I found that no matter how hard I tried, the Fundamentalist doctrinal system was not for me the doorway into the unconditional love I’d been craving. I would pray and pray and confess sinful thought after sinful thought, but I never felt the love of Christ we sang about in chapel.

Coming Out

After that, I got into looking for love big time. I lost weight and sought out other gay men. I figured as long as I stayed slim, placed enough personal ads, and had sexual encounters in which I put my partners’ sexual needs before my own, the Universe would reward me with a longterm lover. I did find a lover, Alex, and we were together for two years, working as psychics, before his sudden suicide put an end to our earthly relationship. But if truth be told, having a lover did not satisfy me either. Almost as soon as Alex and I had moved in together, I had started gaining weight again in an unconscious attempt to put a shell of protection around myself. Inside I was still convinced I was ugly, unloveable, weak, bad, and a failure at being a man. Furthermore, I had failed to save him, so I was a failure as a partner as well.

Opening To Channel

After my lover’s death, I tried to practice, and expand upon, the the spiritual system Alex had channeled. I began doing trancework myself, and gradually, as I got better at opening my heart and mind to spirit, I felt a measure of that peace I had been seeking as long as I stayed in trance. But you can’t stay in trance twenty-four hours a day and function in physical reality. When I wasn’t channeling, I still found myself miserable, lonely, and scared.

Twelve Steps

After bulking up to over 360 pounds, in 1998 I got into a Twelve Step program for compulsive overeaters. I followed that system’s rules and procedures, and worked the Twelve Steps, a series of introspective spiritual surrender exercises. Suddenly, I started for the first time sensing a Higher Power’s benign presence around me, and lost half my body weight in 2 years. So there I was, thin again, and guess what happened? Despite my spiritual progress in the program, I still felt ugly and unloveable inside. So I left my Twelve Step program, and, increasingly tormented by the fear that the Universe was just an unconscious meat machine with no Divine Love, no survival of consciousness after death of the body, and no inherent purpose, I started overeating again. I ended up regaining all but around 60 pounds of the weight I had lost.

Letting Love In

Last November, at 302 pounds, I finally gave up the idea that any single system of philosophy or psychiatry or theology or spirituality was going to save me from my internal pain. I realized, finally, on a deepest gut level, that I had been embracing systems in an attempt to gain some control over my life.  So one day I threw up my hands and said to Divine Love, “I give up my illusion of control over my life and death. I open my heart to You fully. I realize that all the love and safety I had been seeking in a constantly and inexorably changing physical reality is only found in You. Please fill me with Yourself.” Then I went about my normal business.

But a few weeks later, something unexpected happened. While leading a group of clients in a Heart Chakra meditation, I suddenly had the first of a series of spiritual experiences that left me breathless with a genuine, transformative awareness that Divine Love is real—and not only real, but unconditional, for It is complete in Itself and needs nothing from me, only seeking my good. And the Love felt familiar—it felt like home. I thought, “How could I have forgotten You’ve been there with me all this time and I never noticed?” It was that real. Again, the high did not last for more than a few months. But in the course of it I started a love relationship with another gay man. When the Divine Love high wore off, all my incest trauma crap came rushing up, and I was forced by my escalating terror to terminate the romantic aspects of my relationship with him. I thought, “How could I have been so stupid as to think my so-called Divine Love experiences were real? The atheist materialists must be right. Spiritual experiences are just brain farts with no inherent meaning.”

Love and Flesh

celloatSarajevoIt’s been several months since my breakup with my lover and my fresh cascade of self-disappointment. I’ve calmed down a bit, and have realized a few things. Just as I had tried for years to immerse myself in systems and communities so I would not feel ugly and lonely, I had been trying to stay in the high of my visions so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain that physical reality often triggers in me. I had become, in a sense, addicted to spiritual bliss. I was using spiritual bliss to numb my pain and keep me in a protective shell where nothing could touch me, exactly the way I had once used sugar. I was trying to use spiritual bliss to protect my heart chakra from pain.

I realize now that my visionary experience of Divine Love last fall was not a brain fart, or withdrawn because I am a sinner. I know that that Love still exists whether I feel it or not. And because It is Truth as well as Love, Love refuses to be used by me to close my heart to my own pain and the pain of others. Love knows that, ultimately, I am safe; and that, ultimately, I will learn to keep my heart open to It even when I feel lost and abandoned. And I do not have to learn in isolation. Divine Love is expressed not only in visions, but through people, animals, and Nature as well. Recognizing Divine Love in the world around me is now my stated goal, and my prayer.

How have you experienced Divine Love? I would like very much to hear your story. •

On Fear of the Dark

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I have always been afraid of the dark. When I was a boy in rural Connecticut, I used to lie awake at night, listening to our old house creak around me, watching shadows creep up the walls of my room and across the ceiling. I was afraid to go down into our cellar, where the washer, dryer, and Mother’s canned goods were kept, because there was a back room, seldom lit, that opened on a cavernous passageway so thick with darkness you could see no farther than a few yards into it.

If you have lived all your life in the city, you may not appreciate just how dark rural nights can be. Outdoors, night transformed our friendly open fields and woods into thick dense shadow, particularly when the moon was on the wane. Affable nocturnal cricket-chirp and brightly lathered starshine mitigated my outdoor night-fears somewhat, but I still feared the gaping open mouth of our barn, and watching horror movies on our black-and-white T.V. didn’t help matters. The shows that scared me were ludicrously tame by modern standards: Invaders From Mars, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, the British horror series Way Out, every episode of which ended in maniacal laughter. Nonetheless, afterwards, upstairs in my dark bed, I would clutch my stuffed animals and my mother’s rosary to me as though my life depended upon their protection.

Bathrooms, too, scared me at night, particularly bathrooms with the doors shut. So did bathtubs with the shower curtains drawn.

I know why, of course. In the dark, the familiar turns alien, just as when people the child depends upon for security and solace suddenly and without apparent warning show unexpectedly strange, severe, or malignant sides to their personalities. My alcoholic, emotionally disturbed mother’s sudden personality-shifts, my older brother Manfred’s sudden, sneering, verbal and physical attacks from nowhere, my parents’ unpredictable fights, all these terrors I projected onto the Enemy Out There Somewhere, unforeseeable in the dark.

I am 63 years old now, and I wish I could say I am no longer fearful of shadows. After all, I have spent a good part of my adulthood examining my own shadow material, as the psychologists call it, and I have had moments where visions of Divine Love have made all shadows flee away. But still they return. And one thing I know: I must learn to make friends with the dark if I am to someday face my inevitable death with equanimity. For as much as I preach that death is the doorway into Light, my inner child fears otherwise. And we ignore our inner children to our peril.

— Copyright 2014 Rand B. Lee.

 

 

A Message From “The Family”: On Hope

ImageWhen a child is born into physical reality, from a psychological perspective it has no hope or despair, for it is aware only of the present moment and the universe of itself.  When a child “hopes for” something, it is not hope that one speaks of, but desire: craving, wish, longing, which all humans possess from inception. If it were not so–if the human infant did not feel and communicate its cravings–it might well die before its caregivers, or those around it, noticed it needed anything. The same is true of dogs and cats and other domestic animals. At birth they live in the present, and their internal lives are characterized by desire: for the warmth of the body of the caregiver; for the milk the caregiver provides, or other sustenance; and for the chance to exercise, play, and learn from their environment and peers.

Hope and despair become conscious emotions or experiences when the child reaches the age when its brain is sufficiently developed for it to be aware of the passage of time, and when it is able to distinguish between self and others. This may take place [by] the age of 8 in many cases. This is why little children were able to play even in concentration camps. Fatigue, exhaustion, and terror were all available to them, but not despair as such, although they could become afraid and depressed at the despair of the adults around them.

We mention these things because to understand hope one must understand  that hope, like despair, arise when one achieves the maturity to sense boundaries to gratification and also the possibility of a positive or negative outcome in time. God, for instance, does not hope, because God is outside of time, and is complete in Itself, of Whom It considers you a particle. God knows that Love is Its nature in all parts of Itself, including you; and that on the divine level,  Love is never defeated or denied. Therefore It need have no anxiety about the future or regret about the past. Amor vincit omnia: love conquers all resistance eventually. Eventually, everyone who has turned its back upon Love will be wooed back into Its arms (we speak figuratively of course).

What, then, is hope, and how does one attain and maintain an attitude of hope when one is beleaguered by unpleasant or discouraging circumstances?

On the Wheel of Creation, Mr Rand and Mr Alex’s template for manifestation in physical reality, hope is allied with belief. To increase belief (in positive outcome, in the eventual victory of Love over all resistance to It) one must look across the center of the Wheel, across the hub called Harmony of Desire, to the spoke opposite that of belief: the support spoke. Put simply, if you lack hope, it is because you lack a sense of support for your longed for condition or goal. To increase hope, therefore, it is necessary to increase one’s sense of support.

How does one do this, particularly when one is discouraged or depressed? . . . By seeking out those who share similar beliefs to your own: similar values, similar cultural backgrounds, similar mindsets, similar thought processes, similar interests and experiences. As support grows, so does belief that positive outcome is possible.

A basic principle in physical reality is that it is extremely difficult to find hope without interaction with other sentient beings. In short, it is very very difficult to climb out of despair alone, or in isolation (though not impossible if one has already developed a rich sense of Divine Love and a habit for dialoguing with It). Twelve Step recovery programs work in part because they offer addicted individuals the hope that, if they work the introspective and self-revelatory meditative exercises expressed in the Twelve Steps, and find a sponsor and attend regular meetings with others like themselves, they will find relief from addiction. For it is a fact that despair can become an addiction: a habituated pattern of emotional response to life that is driven not necessarily by present difficulties, dramatic though they may be, but by the brain having become so drenched in force, threat, and blame in the past that it cannot right the chemical imbalances created by such drenching.

WheelofCreationTo lift one’s brain out of despair-drenching, one must begin by accepting that one is trapped in despair with a desire to learn from the experience. Then one must begin asking questions: How did I get into my present situation? What actions or inactions did I perform, and what strategies did I use, to create or fall prey to my present difficulties? By coming to grips with the physical and psychological processes that led to the choices that have led to one’s force-threat-blame experiences, one then must begin inquiring into whether there are deeper forces at work—spiritual, intellectual, or evaluative patterns that are feeding into one’s despair. If one asks and keeps on asking for enlightenment on this issue, one will certainly be rewarded with an answer or answers. And the answer or answers discovered will contain within them clues as to how one may escape from, or work with, the present difficulty that has led one to give up hope.

When light begins to dawn, and one begins to see the reasons physical and spiritual behind one’s difficulties, one must then commit oneself to finding the path of Love through one’s difficulties. How can I learn to love myself given the choices I have made? How can I learn to love my enemies to the extent to which they will allow and without violating myself in the process? Taking these questions to one’s Greater Self, and to one’s support systems (friends, family, doctors, counselors, teachers and so forth), one will eventually come up with a plan of action the sole purpose of which is to find the most direct route to giving myself the solace, information, help and resources [I need] to change [my] difficult circumstance into one that is more life-affirming. For some persons (and some circumstances), science yields clues to the most direct route to harmony. For others, philosophy or religion; and for still others, the taking of practical physical action to find support for the next step in one’s strategy for self-rescue; or a combination of the utilizations of all these tools.

And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled 17 January 2014, 5:20pm MT, by Rand Lee. All rights reserved. Edited 23 January 2014.