What would you think if the representative of a particular spiritual path (not specifically your own spiritual path) who was an occasional visitor to your site, suddenly and out of the blue, sent you a letter of condemnation for departing from principles that you don’t necessarily subscribe to and who also appended a life style criticism based on zero information concerning your lifestyle?
My feeling was similar to what I would have experienced if someone from the Catholic Church sent me a ‘cease and desist’ letter (when I was not a Catholic) because I was at odds with certain protocols hammered out at The Council of Nicaea. It sounded to me that I was being named as a modern day Arius, with a recommendation that I also stop beating my wife.
This individual had made a comment, not long ago, that people who de-personalized what they consider to be the ultimate and absolute expression of God were going to Hell for the crime. What I immediately thought when I read this was that it doesn’t look good for the world’s millions of Buddhists and many other folk if he happens to be right. What I also thought is that this is just the sort of thing which ‘by the book Christians’ anticipate for everyone but themselves. It’s an odd condition that the proponents of most religions believe; those who do not believe as they do are going somewhere hot and uncomfortable for an extended stay.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t read more than a quarter of the letter. It wasn’t the implication of heresy and the departure from tenants carved in stone that got to me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a member of the organization to begin with that got to me. It was the little ‘dagger-edged’ lifestyle reference that was based on zero evidence of what, where and why. I should probably go back and read the letter in its entirety but I just can’t bring myself to.
People who presume to have a relationship with the divine and who have placed themselves in a position of interpreting the message in a particular tradition have an obligation to approach their work with wisdom and restraint. I have always felt that before one makes sweeping assumptions on something outside their presence and experience, it is always best to ask first and judge later. It’s also the height of arrogance to censure someone for a mere question of speech when that someone isn’t even a member of your organization.
The irony here is that, in most cases, I agree with the teachings and traditions of the one who sent me this letter. Most of my writings over the course of several years reflect this. It was this very thing that drew this person and some of his associates here in the first place. That hasn’t changed. If this person had had the courtesy to ask me, I could have explained the reason for the temporary appearance of this conundrum which they misunderstood.
My essays here are always within the area of 1500 words. I have no idea why this is. At some point, near the beginning of my work here, I decided to keep these things within the parameters of 2.5 pages in MS Word and that’s how it’s been. If I had to add disclaimers and explanations for everything said and not said, I might still be writing some of them. The intent is to leave a great deal of what is not said or explained to the mind of the readers to sort out on their own. I’m not here to present a party line or to encourage the reader to believe as I do. I’m here to provoke thought and reflection and to inspire whenever I can be successful at that through the grace of what inspires me.
The letter writer wondered if I had noticed that they hadn’t been around. This made me laugh and shake my head; people really do take themselves far too seriously. Interestingly, I note that this is often accompanied by certain cosmetic props which are a ‘tell’ for those paying attention. It’s that rock star virus. I notice it in most fields of enterprise. You might be doing almost anything but... you’re a rock star nonetheless. The protective humility that is de rigueur for anyone traveling on this road has been shut off so that the extra power can be transferred to the amplifiers and lights.
It would be remiss of me to write this thing and not clarify what- I can only imagine at this point- seems to be the point of contention for this person. Like I said, I can’t explain myself at each point along the way. However, the reader is always free to ask me (which should have been the case here) and I will explain. I might not know what I meant off-hand but I can always go back and look at it and see if I can get what I meant (grin).
Occasionally when I am talking about God, I am not talking about God the being but rather about the ‘force of God’ or some aspect in expression. I realize it’s probably a shortcoming of mine not to clearly illustrate or mention this at the time but I have great faith in the reader to ‘divine’ what I am about. Here is where I apparently opened a schism or a fissure in the formerly seamless Earth of scripture; scripture which, by the way, I did not take a blood oath to defend in its literal sense. We are more important than scripture (no doubt another heresy in the making). We are the reason for scripture in the first place.
When I think of God, I sometimes think of God the Father; sometimes as The Mother, sometimes as my lover but... most often as my friend. That is what it usually comes to because that is what it usually feels like. Jesus said something about this when he said that his disciples should not call him ‘master’ because a servant does not know what the master is about so ...it is better to call him, ‘friend’... or words to that effect. It’s pretty clear that I see God (even though no man can see God) as a living personality and I’ve never been successful as an impersonalist anyway. However, I do see certain functions, aspects and potencies of God as impersonal. This means they are applied across the board in an equal and impersonal manner to all; be you good or evil. The effect might vary depending on whether you are good or evil but the intent does not.
If... because of limitations on my part, I am less clear that you want me to be, just ask me. You will find I am inclined to explain myself, except on those occasions when I don’t know what I’m doing in the first place ...and I will likely express that if it is the case as well. This won’t apply to the tendency to be ‘all seeing and all knowing’ on your part, should that be the situation... but you won’t ask under those circumstances anyway; will you?
I’ve never once been arrested on the highway for anything. I’ve never been arrested for engaging in or possessing any substance, though I have been arrested for other permutations of the same, when the circumstances were engineered by the PTB. Either I am supernaturally lucky; supernaturally careful or not the person particular people assume me to be. This should put the lie to the impression that some might have where I occasionally wake up in my own excrement or am being hauled away from some outrageous public performance in which I lost control of my faculties.
Except for the presence of very few people, I have been alone for at least ten years now and am often completely alone for months at a time (such as now); though I’m never alone. I never see the friends I used to have and I hardly see anyone else either. On some rare occasions a reader may visit me. People here only know me through what I tell them and I promised myself when I started this that I would share information about my activities and state of mind because it was the honest thing to do, as opposed to wrapping myself in a cloak of personal obscurity and cultivating a fabricated image of legend and myth.
I don’t go on speaking tours or surround myself with people whose job it is to agree with me. The former has been offered more than once and the latter is available to anyone with a certain degree of showmanship and charisma. I mentioned the length of these pieces today for another reason because it is my intention to exceed that limitation today, even though I have to write twice this much, following this, for tomorrow’s radio show.
I try not to disparage the paths people have chosen for themselves. On occasions when I am critical of features connected to some paths, it is usually because of literalist or fundamentalist attitudes. In other lives, I have suffered from these things and many others have too. Sometimes, I am critical because the path might be admittedly satanic or Satanism camouflaged, such as Scientology, or certain occult organizations. I am not enamored of traditional religious practices but I can see where they are a comfort to people and can provide a framework for people on their way to encountering the inexplicable and unpredictable reality of God.
I know there are people who read here who object to my use of psychedelic substances on the infrequent occasions when I engage in them. I have given real consideration to whether it is desirable or useful for me to talk about it. What keeps coming back to me is that it would be dishonest not to. An enormous percentage of people who present or assume to represent spiritual and religious teachings, conceal aspects of their being and behavior because of what it might cost them in terms of reputation and economic gain. Sometimes it is something minor like a hairpiece or wearing dark sunglasses indoors. Sometimes it is not minor at all and we’ve heard about these things when they invariably come to light... sooner or later. Some pretty highly ranked teachers have slept with their followers and sometimes milked them dry of their resources and I don’t mean just their money.
I am, like ‘all’ of you, in possession of personal limitations and shortcomings. In certain instances, God intentionally gave me certain limitations. I’m aware of a couple of these such as playing my musical instruments; technical facility with any number of things etc. This has the effect of forcing me to rely on others though, for some time there have been no others to rely on (grin). He has made speaking foreign languages difficult while being able to understand them much better than I can speak them. He has kept me on a financial margin. He has also deliberately encouraged me to take certain substances on occasions, which I vividly remember. Anyone who thinks they understand God or think that God acts the same way all the time is fooling themselves. Anyone who believes they understand the deeper meanings of certain commandments; rules of behavior and what have you, is fooling themselves. Anyone who thinks they are wise is not. Anyone who reflexively assumes they are right is not. We just don’t know. We may do our best and intend our best but we don’t know. I know I don’t know and that is how I know you don’t either. When you are honest with yourself, some amount of things becomes far more apparent about yourself and others than it would have been if you were not.
My advice to all who read here is to take what is useful and leave go of the rest. I am partially realized. I am, by no means, fully realized. Sometimes we find the truth of something within what we say to each other. Sometimes what is missing in both of us is completed by our interaction in respect of the matter; whatever that might be.
I have been moving, through time, away from the use of certain chemicals. It is much rarer in my life than it has been in the past and the time will come when it is gone altogether. I never recommend that others do what I do in this regard, in fact, I have counseled against it more than once. Some of us have a shamanic gene. We suffer the negative side of being high far less than others and our intention for doing it is very often diametrically the opposite of the common motives.
What is the point of people, on different paths to the same goal, struggling against one another? What is the point of people, whose practices differ, demanding that the practices conform? God is not as much concerned with your rituals and routines nearly as much as he is concerned with the state of your heart. There’s a great deal to that idea of becoming as a little child. We should support each other in our efforts to find the divine, not demean, criticize or attempt to retard that effort. There is no question that I am in error on occasion in the way I go about what I do but... there is no error in my intention and I have no question about my sincerity in the matter.
If I disappoint or offend you at times, I have also disappointed and offended myself and I make it a point to correct that error the moment I see it. That is the best I can do. In some cases what may seem an error to others does not seem so to me due to whatever personal understanding I might have about some particular thing but... I am always open to change and constantly seeking the opportunity to do so. This isn’t something I get around to on a certain hour of a certain day. It’s going on all the time. It is my life. I don’t have anything else. I can hardly forget about it even for a little while. I am not allowed to.
I don’t know what else to say so, I will hope I have said enough. I will try harder but, for the moment, this is what you get because this is as far as I have come.
'I Need More Light' is track no. 4 of 11 on Visible's 2001 album 'God in Country'
Lyrics (pops up)
The New Shangri-La.