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Mythology Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Essential Function of Mythology and Religion

It’s to put the psyche in accord with nature. Once a hero begins an adventure he quickly learns he has to let go of his ego thinking and let the quest itself be his guide. In some adventures the hero is humbled (Odysseus, Parsifal, Job, Indra). In others he is completely eaten up or otherwise destroyed (Jonah, Jason). In all of these cases some kind of submission is required to an unintelligible, invisible force. That submission has to be utter (Actual death in the Christ story, and a complete willingness to die in the Buddha—at which moment his fulfillment is activated, and he achieves Nirvana). Yet all the while he is still striving for his goal. Though chaos may blow him all over the place for reasons that don’t seem fair, he somehow maintains his inner acceptance even in the face of the ultimate. And continues to try to move forward. The schizophrenic is the person who does the opposite: He won’t let fate wash over him, won’t let his consciousness transform, and keeps insisting on his ego’s program of control. He can’t accept the cards he is dealt and when the world around him won’t conform to his ego’s desire (which in truth like Jay Gatsby’s can never be fulfilled) he finally refuses to play the game. But that leaves him in a frozen state in which the intensity of suffering only increases until he feels he utterly cannot escape it and finally is left wailing on the ground.
So the hero is representative of a psyche that has learned to accept, submit to, and otherwise come into accord with nature, which is also analogous to his subconscious and as Jung put it, his “undiscovered self.”
Some heroes start out too proud and have to be humbled. Others start out too humble (Al-addin, many peasant types in the Grimm tales, Jack, etc.) And their adventure consists of realizing the diamond glowing inside. The lowly peasant boy, usually the third and youngest child, whom no one else respects either, turns out to be the only one in the kingdom with the courage to defeat the dragon and win the princess. Somehow his willingness to get in the game with the same type of straightforward intent, yet without expectation, and even more crucially without desperation, just like the Buddha’s acceptance under the Bo tree, and the Christ’s acceptance hanging ostensibly, metaphorically from that same tree, activated his superpowers, transformed his consciousness and that of the whole world around him.
Religion is simply when the act of being with these stories, symbols, and rituals, has the same effect on your psyche. The labyrinth is your socially conditioned mind and body. What’s trapped inside is your undiscovered self, your soul. Adriane’s flax thread is symbolic of religion and mythology itself, the song of the soul’s calling. One only has to follow it. The Great Way, as the koan says, has no gate.

Refusal of the call converts the adventure into its negative.

Joseph Campbell

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Philosophy Spiritual Uncategorized

On Ego: The Labyrinth Metaphor

The labyrinth in which the hero soul has become lost. That’s the place from which we are all starting. Did the ego build this labyrinth? Or is the labyrinth a metaphor for the ego itself? Those are interesting questions, but they aren’t nearly as interesting, practically speaking, as what the Wax String of Theseus stands for. The wax string is a metaphor for the thing that got the hero, Theseus, out of the labyrinth. Some qualities strike me about it:

  • It’s very smallness, thinness, almost invisible quality represents the fact that it is something representative of the spirit, soul, the psychology. It’s easily lost, like a feeling, but if held onto can lead you out.
  • That same narrowness represents single-mindedness of purpose, and an unbending intent. It also represents a psychological commitment. So that nothing distracts from it. It’s very narrow but very long, meaning that, commitment, ironically, leads to freedom, adventure, and, in short, the way out of misery.

Update: 03/11/15:

I’ve been reading a lot of Grimm’s Fairy-Tales in the last few weeks. This kind of material really feeds my soul, makes me happy. But I’ve only been “allowing” myself one or two stories a day. It strikes me that when you find something that really awakens your passion, why compartmentalize or limit yourself to it for one hour a day? My sense of this and similar experiences, is that, like the Wax String, you should hold on to them, not let them go, stay with them, all day and all night, at least until they lead you “out” of the Labyrinth. That’s my sense of “The Hero’s Adventure” and more specifically the metaphorical, or one possible metaphortical meaning of this element in this particular story. 

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Health & Fitness Lifestyle Philosophy

On Ego, What it Is, What it Does, and How to Cure It

“Because the conscious mind has to be in control, even though it doesn’t know anything.” – Dolores Cannon [Youtube Link]

I’ve heard Dolores say in other interviews that the Conscious Mind is the Ego. That makes the definition pretty simple. If that is the case then the cure would seem to be spending more time with the sub/unconscious parts of our psyches, paying it more respect, i.e., meditation, having the intent to remember and write down your dreams, and respecting the images and messages coming from that deep well. – Stephen

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. This post is definitely under construction. It may be so indefinitely. The main reason is: I have a strong sense that Ego is our main problem in life. Ego has hijacked our Consciousness, and it won’t let us be happy. It doesn’t want us to be happy.

But here’s the rub and the reason I created this post: I don’t know why, nor do I know exactly what it is, or how to get rid of it.

The few times in my life that I’ve really meditated, and carried on a sustained practice, it does seem like that exercise had a positive effect on reducing it, much like working out at the gym burns fat.

But somehow the Ego itself, being still in control, seems to stop me in my tracks from doing such things as meditating, anything that would threaten it’s existence. Since it has hijacked and controls the brain it accomplishes this behaviourial control by releasing negative feelings around anything it doesn’t want you to do. Anything that would help you escape from it.

Still, I don’t know what it, Ego, is, exactly. I’m hoping that writing itself, you know how writing is a way of learning, will help me arrive at an answer. If you have any thoughts on this subject, then I would love to hear them in comments.

It occurred to me today that we weren’t born with Ego. It feels like Society somehow injects us with “Ego” little by little, as we grow older, and we don’t notice it, much like we don’t notice our day to day aging, until one day we wake up and our consciousness has changed. The wonderous feeling we had about life as children has disentegrated.

The myths and fairytales, in their picture language, seem to be saying, in an over arching theme that the cosmic or natural energies can’t get through to our consciousness, that they’re being blocked by something. And that if we were to remove the obstruction, those energies would automatically carry us to our destiny. It certainly feels like the Ego is that blockage. So the question becomes, how do we in our modern lives remove that blockage? Certainly the picture language of Myth and Fairy-Tales seem to have a metaphorical answer. As time goes on and things come to me, either through my meditation practice, or reading Myths and Fairytales, themselves, or people like Joseph Campbell and Deepak Chopra, among others, I’ll add to this post. This post may get really long! So what? I do think the answer to this question is the central realization of our lives: To Be or Not to Be? It seems to almost come down to this binary, “Quantum” type answer: Either you’re living your destiny or you’re not.

Ok, since this post is just about writing down the ideas that come to me, that feel true, I’ll start with this:

  • Ego is the sense, the feeling, the belief, that you are separate from the World, the Universe, Nature, everyone and everything around you.

That statement came out of me a few months ago, seemed to come from my “archetypal” self. It felt true when it came out, and although I’m not “feeling” it now, I do remember it, and I want to write it down, so I can refer back to it. That’s good. That’s a start. But it still doesn’t tell me what to ‘do’ about it, how to cure myself from it. Well, I’m gonna ponder this, and hopefully I’ll come back to this post with some more ideas, if not answers.

Update: June 1, 2013.

  • “It’s a mode of existing, it’s a way of existing that sets God apart from anything else”

I just saw this in a lecture about Infinity that the World Science Festival produced last night. It’s talking about ‘Qualitative’ infinity as opposed to ‘Quantitative’ Infinity, an idea that apparently came from Aquinas. This idea of ‘Qualitative’ Infinity as a ‘Way’ of existing produces images in my brain of Purity which strikes me as the opposite or even the ‘Antidote’ to the problem mentioned above of some kind of blockage. A “Pure” connection is unblocked. So how does it relate to this article? It almost seems in this sense that ‘God’ is anyone or anything who is existing in ‘pure being.’ Ego is a psychological ‘impurity.’ So it could be that ‘God’ is simply any ‘being’ that is existing without Ego or any other kind of impurity. That’s a fascinating concept.

http://new.livestream.com/WorldScienceFestival/InfinityEvent/videos/20260843 – (That quote and the talk of the Theologian where I heard it starts at about the 13:22 mark of the video on the page of this link.)

Categories
Philosophy

The Key Insight of Mysticism and Meta-Physics

After having listened, watched, read hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of material from and about mysticism, over the course of more than a decade, the primary message that keeps coming through these experiences, if I could boil it down to one sentence is this:

Consciousness creates reality. Consciousness creates matter and not the other way around.

It’s tough when 99.999999% of the time your mind, all of your senses (And I would say those false messages are directed by the ‘Ego’) are telling you just the exact opposite. But then, looked at one way, that’s part of the game. That’s the challenge of the game.
And that consciousness is not just our personal consciousness, or even our deep, archetypal consciousness (‘atman,’ ‘soul’), but a pure consciousness that is deeper and “a priori” to the Universe (or even ‘Multiverse’) itself. This could be called “The Ground of Being” which in the language of mysticism “neither is, nor is not.” The fundamental error of our experience is the belief of just the opposite: That “reality” or matter “out there” creates our consciousness “in here.” This is the fundamental source of all of our frustration. Because this latter belief leads to the feeling that life is a prison, that our consciousness, our experience. is determined by an outside force that we have no power to change.

Let’s look at an analogy in nature: An apple grows out of the tree. The apple isn’t made somewhere else and then placed on the tree. It grows out of the tree.

Well, wait, you might say, you are contradicting yourself. If the apple grows out of the tree, isn’t that analogous to consciousness grown out of, coming from matter?

Only if you mix up the metaphor. In this analogy, the tree, the “Axis Mundi”, is a metaphor for consciousness, and the Apple (The “Knowledge of Good and Evil”) is a metaphor for the duality of the “objective” world.

So the question would be, if one believes this theory, or perhaps has even had a mystical experience themselves, is what do you do? How does one expand on that, how does one change? When does the adventure begin?

My answer is that I’m not sure. It may take me another decade to even come up with a hunch. But my gut tells me a practice of meditation is one if not “the” answer, or at the very least a way to get to “first base.” Because when you can step back from your thoughts, it starts to take the energy out of them, to quiet them, and then the mind starts to become “transparent to transcendence” which feels like taking a psychological shower, cleansing the mind, cleansing the personal consciousness, so that the connection between it (Your everyday living body and wakefulness) and your archetypal consciousness (Your ‘Atman’ ‘Soul’ or  ‘Wisdom Body’) becomes reopened. Then the billions (if not infinite) of years of wisdom consciousness becomes immediately available to your present, your ‘right now’,  experiential consciousness.

If that’s not the “It” itself, it would seem, at least at the gut level, to be a great jumping off point. A place where many more options or ‘doors’ become available. A place where an adventure may begin. Like the earlier analogy I used, if the “Ultimate” is like a home run in baseball, then it seems like meditation, or some form of it, is at least a way to get to first base, from where you’ll automatically know, from the wisdom level, of what to do, or not to do, to continue your progress.

Categories
Philosophy

Cosmic Consciousness Vol. II

“The thing that you do finds you more than you find it.” — Conan O’Brien — 30:00

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman, taken from Max Tegmark’s, the famous physicists’, webpage.

“The side-effect of doing what you love, what you’re supposed to be doing, is perfect health.” – Dolores Cannon [Youtube Link]

{I would take this mean psychological/spiritual as well as physical.}

“Infinite love is the only truth. Everything else is illusion.” – David Icke, describing the message he received during an Ayahuasca experience.

“Being shoots and unstoppable arrow through reality.” – Stephen Pickering

One instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees. – Wu-men

– See more at: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/blog/2011/03/14/wu-men-one-instant-is-eternity/#sthash.Z8ZpuAom.dpuf

“The Universe is always talking to you, and the true miracles seem to come when you take the time to listen.” – Nikki Gudis

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
– Deepak Chopra

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” – Paulo Coehlo

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

“The divine is your constant companion, and that constant companion has never left your side.” – Panache Desai

“What people call knowledge, is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees.” ~Sri Aurobindo

“Let the waters settle, and you will see stars and moon mirrored in your being.” – Rumi

“For 30 years I was looking for God. After that time, when I opened my mind, I found that he was looking for me.” ~ Bastami

“Being (sat) is the sense of giving yourself up to the energies of the world, of the universe, letting go, and letting them carry you.”

“Life in this world is a vast dream, dreamed by a single being.” – Schopenhauer

“We are actually ourselves bringing about what seems to be happening to us.” – Thomas Mann

“All phenomena merely arise from the false notions in the mind,” – Ashvaghosha

“I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’” – Bayazid Bastami

“Man has free will to the extent that he knows who he is.” -Alan Watts

“As our minds begin to quiet down, we notice that the thoughts and feelings associated with meaninglessness come and go, and that there exists, in the space between these arisings, a way of being that is not affected by these mind-states. The Soul, we discover, seeks not meaning; its “meaning”, to borrow that Ego-concept, is self-evident.” – Ram Dass

“Remember that your perception of the world is a reflection of your state of consciousness. You are not separate from it, and there is no objective world out there. Every moment, your consciousness creates the world that you inhabit.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“When you say, ‘I am beautiful,’ you are inviting the beauty in.” – Joel Olsteen.

“The Great Way has no gate; there are a thousand paths to it. If you pass through the barrier, you walk the universe alone.” – Wu-Men
(*As a sidenote, I didn’t know who “Wu-Men” was. Turns out he was a Chinese Zen Master, one of the primary authors of the “Zen Koans.” Man, when I read his “Koans” they just floor me. Here’s a link to one collection, “The Gateless Gate”, and also here’s the webpage where I found this link as well as a nice little bio, plus it looks like it has other resources, including sacred poetry from around the world. http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/W/WuMenHuikai/)

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Alduous Huxley

“Your true self is unlimited. Know that you are already a complete spiritual being. The path forward is just a matter of waking up to your true, unlimited self.” – Deepak Chopra

There is a field beyond space and time from which everything emerges.” – Deepak Chopra on The Akashic Field

“Because the world is not going anywhere there is no hurry. One may as well ‘take it easy’ like nature itself, and in the Chinese language the ‘changes’ of nature and ‘ease’ are the same word. This is a first principle in the study of Zen and of any Far Eastern art: hurry, and all that it involves, is fatal.” -Alan Watts via @AlanWattsDaily

“When neurosurgeon Eben Alexander went into a coma and had one whale of a near-death experience, he received three messages:  “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever,” “You have nothing to fear,” and “There is nothing you can do wrong.” – Martha Beck from her blog here.

“You are not too old and it is not too late to dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out it’s own secret” Rilke (Twitter Link)

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Categories
Philosophy Spiritual

The Law of Detachment

The Law of Detachment:

“If you get attached to the outcome, you won’t be in the process.” – Deepak Chopra

“Life is a metaphor for what’s happening in our consciousness.” – Deepak Chopra

I guess I should add this to my “Consciouness Quotes” page, or my “Deepak Chopra Quotes” page. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m watching something or reading something that I’m interested in, it could be anything: Science, Spirituality, Entertainment (the fact that we feel the need to ‘categorize’ everything speaks volumes about the state of fragmentation our consciousness is, indeed, in.), there’s always one or two things that really “Hit home” with my “Subconscious” or my “Archetypal Instinct.” I feel the need to write these down, to remember them.

I wish I could find a way to organize them in a better way, but for now the spontaneity of a blog post will have to do.

 

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