A Message From “The Family”: On Eating Disorders

Mister Rand has long suffered from what is termed an “eating disorder,” in his case the compulsion to eat more than his body requires especially of carbohydrates, sugars, and fat-laden proteins. As a result, he has developed a deformity of the torso that weighs him down and  prevents him, he thinks, from finding love and acceptance from others whose opinions he cherishes.

Eating disorders are, as we see it, at core, disorders of the heart chakra, and they can come in many forms, such as compulsive overeating and vomiting; compulsive undereating and self-starvation; and compulsive exercising and dieting. To bring these disorders into balance, it is necessary for the sufferer to identify the core need, which is love; and to develop strategies for opening the heart both to Divine Love and to human love as well.

In the Twelve Step group “Overeaters Anonymous,” there is a series of contemplative exercises designed to accomplish just the sort of heart opening to which we refer. At root, they involve:

(1) admission of powerlessness over the addictive urge when it strikes;

(2) acknowledging that Divine Love exists and is eager to relieve any and all self-harm compulsions if that is what the sufferer truly wishes;

(3) a commitment by the sufferer to placing one’s will and life into the loving care of the Divine Healer on a daily basis;

(4) listing all the ways  one’s pain and loneliness have manifested in waking life;

(5) breaking silence by sharing this list with another human being;

(6) agreeing, one day at a time, to permitting the Divine Healer complete access to one’s innermost core being, for the purpose of adjusting one’s attitudes and actions so that they reflect our beauty rather than our pain;

(7) performing a ritual in which one formally invites Divine Healer access to one’s core;

(8) making a list of any persons we have harmed, and becoming willing to make amends to them all;

(9) making amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others;

(10) working daily to keep one’s heart open to the Divine Healer’s correction when one acts towards others out of a consciousness level of force, threat, and blame rather than the consciousness levels of  acceptance with intent to learn, understanding, giving, loving, and knowing that one is intrinsically whole;

(11) communing consciously with the Divine Healer on a daily basis, so that we may receive the daily power and blessings that Divine Love wishes to pour upon us; and

(12) offering oneself as a channel of Divine Love to other sufferers on a daily basis as opportunities arise.

It is vital to recognize that the process of recovering from eating disorders cannot take place in isolation: one must become so sick of being sick that one is willing to ask for help, despite one’s shame and inner accusers. This is why Mister Rand attends a Twelve Step meeting designed for compulsive overeaters; he has found, over time, his fear of being seen and harmed by others has diminished considerably owing to the consistent, nonintrusive love shown him by other members of the group.

Furthermore, any healing of the heart results in increased awareness of feelings, inevitably including feelings one does not wish to feel, such as shame, fear, resentment, anger, and other responses to the illusion that one is starving emotionally. A daily choice must be made to allow these feelings to come to consciousness, and to use various tools, such as writing and sharing verbally with others one can trust, for the purpose of acknowledging these feelings and releasing them on a daily basis into the love of the Divine Healer. For it is the Divine Healer alone Who can repair the damaged heart chakra; bring peace, love, and resilience to the emotional body; and silence the voice of the inner accuser who calls Mister Rand a failure and a troll.

And we thank you for sharing.•

For further information about Twelve Step programs for compulsive eaters, check out the website http://www.oa.org.

 

 

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. •

A Message From ‘The Family’: On Giving Thanks

ImageGratitude, Mister Rand informs us, is a muscle he has yet to build up hugely. He says that when he hears slogans in his Twelve Step meetings such as, I need an attitude of gratitude, he says with a groan, Another platitude! Why, he asks, does one need an attitude of gratitude? What is an attitude of gratitude, anyway? And why is gratitude—thankfulness, appreciation,  thanksgiving—why are these spiritual disciplines [so important that they are] to be wrestled with until one achieves mastery over them? For that is how Mister Rand thinks of them.

In answer we would say we do not see it in this way.

Consider this, Mister Rand: suppose we were to say to a leaf, Be grateful for the sun, or the sun will stop shining on you. Would you not accuse us of absurdity or villainy or both? Even the mechanist views the sun as a power that shines regardless of the attitudes that any given leaf may bear toward it, if indeed a leaf can have an attitude in the human emotional sense at all. And so we say it is wicked and illogical to suggest that because one is not grateful to God or Goddess or the Universe or the Invisible Sky Friend or the Divine Pizza of Delectability or whatever one wishes to call the source of all life and love at the core of everything and everyone, that that Greater Self or Higher Power or God or Goddess or Divine Spark or deity or immoveable Object-and-Subject requires or weighs or needs or even desires such thanks as a condition of Its willingness to help said one? For we do not see God as required, needing, desiring, or even it occurring to God that HeSheItTheyCoOne might even be missing praise, thanks, gratitude, or love from the Creation, for God by Its very nature is complete within Itself and is entirely Love in all parts of Itself, desiring and thinking of nothing save how It may delight in the beings born from It and help them to fulfill their natures as uniquenesses.

In brief, Mister Rand, an attitude of gratitude is not a proviso you must fulfill before God will bless you. It has nothing to do with getting or not getting, as though one might hold one’s mouth a certain way and Love would flow to one. The attitude of gratitude is the natural result that occurs when one realizes how deeply, greatly, thoroughly, unceasingly, unconditionally, and intelligently the Greater Self loves one already. “Well, then,” says Mister Rand, “I will not bother with gratitude or thanks at all. I will just say, God give me this, God give me that, and to Hell with thanks.” (He wishes us to communicate that he does not really say these things, we are simply using him as an Everyman, as a terrible example of dumbfoolery, in a figurative sense as it were.) And we would reply, Go right ahead. It will not matter to God one jot or tittle. It will not grieve Her one bit, save in that She grieves that you are not large enough in the heart to receive all the blessings that She has for you.

For that is what thankfulness and gratitude enjoinders are at their core meant to convey when issuing forth from a spiritual force or tradition or teaching. They are meant to say, You do not let God do one billionth trillionth quadrillionth of the truthful loving things for you that God wishes to do, and the reason we know this is the case is because you do not feel thankful and grateful. For thankfulness and gratitude do not arise from the belief that having these attitudes will get you more blessings. Nor do they arise from the belief that having these attitudes will keep divine displeasure or punishment away from your door. “Gratitude” so-called is not thankfulness at all; it is flattery, born of fear—born of the consciousness level we call To Be Threatened.

Have you ever turned a corner and suddenly seen someone or something so beautiful, or heard a strain of music so entrancing, or had a thought so crystalline in its perfection, that you were stopped short in your tracks with the joy and wonder of it? Did you pause to say to yourself, “Oh, that is beautiful, entrancing, perfect, and wonderful. I will make myself feel joy and wonder toward it so that it will give me more of itself”? No you do not say this. The joy and wonder that stops [you] short in your tracks springs unbidden from deep within you. It is what one feels when one is shown a glimpse of one’s Divine core nature—one’s Greater Self.

Holy people, saints, boddhisatvas, whatever you wish to call those you deem enlightened or spiritually “advanced”— these persons are characterized by thankfulness and gratitude not because they tried to make themselves feel that way so that their Deity would bless them. They are thankful and grateful because their eyes have been opened to the beauty and wonder and love and light that lie around us all at every given moment. Such beings are in a constant state of delighted surprise. That state of spontaneous delighted surprise is what is meant by “Give thanks to God.”

true_strength_is_nurturing“But I do not feel grateful to God” some may say. “God let me be abused. God lets typhoons destroy villages. God lets people be raped and animals tortured,” and so forth. And these are true and terrible observations to which the only appropriate response is mourning. Of course if one is suffering from such terrible experiences one is not likely to be able to hold on to a vision of the light and love at the core of everything. Of course one is blinded by pain and fear. That is why God, Deity, Mother, Abba, the One is not angry or displeased or disappointed by those who curse HerHimItThemOne in their suffering. For the Greater Self knows that in physical reality and thought reality—where suffering is available as a byproduct of the illusion of separateness that enables beings to feel like individuals, thus granting them the pleasures of unique creativity, of personalness—maintaining a vision of the big picture, of the true nature of reality, is difficult in the extreme when one’s body and mind are lacerated with the effects of Force, Threat, and Blame.

And if the Greater Self, God, Goddess, Sky Cushion knows this it is because It is within you. It is you. It shares your nature as much as you share Its, for the whole is contained within each part, just as each part is contained within the whole. So to Mister Rand we say, do not worry yourself about being grateful or giving thanks all the time. God does not need your praise to feel good about Himself. God is not insecure. God does not possess low self-esteem. God does not require counseling.

God is Love in all parts of Godself, and thinks nothing of Godself but only of God’s creation, and how to turn your attention and your heart and your body back into a harmonious relationship with that Love and Light which It is the summation of and of which you are an expression.

And we thank you for sharing.

Channeled 9:41 pm Thursday 28 November 2013