HERMIT IN THE WOODS
This blog is dedicated to the American Spirit
The Illusion of the World – Part 1
Technology pampered Americans have been seduced by the comfort, luxury and entertaining distractions of modern society and feel little motivation to separate from these things which bring pleasure. People have become helplessly bound by an addiction to self-gratification and entertainment which encourages indulgence in sensuality and personal leisure. No one realizes, or will admit, that an environment of comfort, ease and self-indulgence is as dangerous to the long-term well-being of the individual as toxic pollution. When comfort and self-amusement are enjoyed to the extreme, there is no motivation to move beyond the entrapment of this enticing and illusory matrix. Intoxicated by sensual pleasures, no one considers the detrimental effect such addictions have on the human psyche and physical body; the body becomes soft and unhealthy; the will becomes weak. Human nature avoids and resists separation from pleasurable things unless extreme conditions, external catalysts and/or adverse circumstances leave no other choice. The bottom line is that only when people are hard-pressed and out of balance are they compelled to change.
There is an underlying imbalance which results from this degenerating state; it is increasingly difficult for the human species to adapt to the unnatural influences of modern life. Man often finds himself in an environment that is indifferent, unhealthy, misleading and at times, hostile. No human can adapt the physiology to ceaseless agitation, adulterated foods, polluted air, alcoholism, sexual excesses, noise, environmental hazards and over-indulgence in sensual gratification. Humans have forgotten what a deep and profound sense of well-being is felt when the psyche, nervous system and organs are healthy and functioning like a smoothly running engine. They have forgotten that harmony within the organic function gives a feeling of peace and balance.
Without realizing it, people have become the victims of this post-modern world. The degenerating state of man in this corrupted society has instilled confusion or “ignore-ance” of what responsibility a self-conscious human being has for living in a balanced, harmonious and integrated state within, with others, and within the planetary environment. Present society has lost its ability to be a positive and influential force. The cultural myths and heroic archetypes that inspire, mold and guide the development of individual personalities are hidden behind the confusing and false facade that is perpetuated by the excitement-oriented media culture.
Archetypes are patterned fields of behavior which have shaped human understanding throughout history; they are patterned imagery that expresses the human unconscious. To understand human archetypal energy is to benefit from its patterns and meaning so one can recognize corresponding patterns of behavior within oneself. Since the archetype is a composite of images and experiences that have a common theme, it elicits a similar response from people who have comparable life-altering circumstances. Unlike one’s daily activities in which the reactions to life events are spontaneous and culturally specific, the archetypal response is based on universally established patterns of behavior that all people tend to follow. Psychologists from Carl Jung to the present consider the wholeness of Self as one central archetypal theme around which patterns of order are established for guiding the psyche and the conscious unfoldment of the individual.
In the case of the hero archetype like King Arthur, there is patterned behavior representing the desire to achieve lofty goals and ideals, courage to transcend the mundane in quest of the miraculous, a desire to serve a higher purpose than oneself and a willingness to move forward regardless of the obstacles. The warrior archetype represents the courage and determination of the loyal knight on a quest, the steadfast resolve and confidence to accomplish the mission, selfless service to a higher ideal and the willingness to lay down one’s life for a just cause. Embracing these ideal behaviors and qualities of being helps to instill inspiration, confidence and determination within the individual. Carefully directing one’s motivation toward selfless ideals purposefully establishes healthy behavioral patterns and keeps the self-serving, self-indulgent ego out of the equation.
Today such archetypes are needed to guide the attitude and the direction of the individual because our culture has lost its “story.” Our society has become so homogenized that the cultural hero myths and what they truly represent have become lost in the modern world. The hero and warrior types are represented in the movies, but they do not consistently exhibit the kind of behavior or attitude that is worthy of emulation. The right kind of cultural stories or hero myths represent ideals and behaviors that people want to model.
Those on a spiritual quest benefit by establishing and internalizing their own inspirational ideals and fearless behaviors through experiencing the examples of the teachers, sages, saints, heroes and warriors of the past. The strength, conviction and inspiration that are mustered utilizing the archetypal patterns become the armor and the driving force which dispel worldly illusions and help the would-be hero transcend the self-indulgent patterns promoted by modern society.
The attempt to awaken from the illusion and get a glimpse of higher reality is an attempt to dislodge oneself from the distorted effect that the sensual, material world has on the individual consciousness. The physical body is very attached to nature. As a person experiences the body in nature, he or she becomes attached to bodily pleasures, sensual gratification, personal beliefs and human associations from the world of man.
The pattern or configuration of this nature experience in the body is the combination of heredity and environment. This makes the individual susceptible to the indoctrination, enticements, and habits which come from lifestyle choices and societal influences. It is difficult to resist a technologically sophisticated environment designed strictly to amuse, entertain and motivate the individual to be a consumer of its products. Without self-discipline, moral integrity and self-knowledge, such an environment can bring about the degradation of anyone who resides in it. Individuals reared in such a materialistic and superficial environment have difficulty distinguishing between the frivolous and the important. When values are misplaced and the individual fails to develop the critical skills of discernment and judgment needed to be a human being, this weakens one’s grip on reality and a person’s life may go astray. Only by recognizing the dangers of a degenerating environment can the individual avoid the narrow, specialized, immoral, unintelligent and materialistic pitfalls of modern life.
Unwittingly, people have lost their internal resilience or their “grit” by living in the comforts of modern society. Living with modern conveniences has conditioned people to the point that their adaptive functions as well as their willingness to change have atrophied. They live in controlled climates, consume more food than the body needs, sleep as much as they want, never make an intellectual or moral effort, learn only what amuses them and never struggle against anything. The negative aspects of this style of living result in self-centeredness, a lack of discipline, minimum endurance, no intellectual acuteness, little or no moral sense, low motivation and a lack of nervous resilience. These are not inherited deficiencies, but environmental and cultural conditioning which people have naively allowed into their lives.
Liberation from the snares of modern society is no easy task. To understand the necessity and to possess the knowledge for making this change are not sufficient. What is required is the courage to unravel, to deconstruct and to voluntarily relinquish one’s personal worldview in order to release the present habits, impulses and cravings that keep one attached to the pleasures of the world. People cannot be liberated from the world without suffering. We are the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover our true nature, we must shatter our own substance with heavy blows. It is not that we are incapable of transforming our lives; it is just that we have trouble submitting to such treatment unless driven by necessity or fear.
The Illusion of the World – Part 2
Although an abundance of knowledge has been generated throughout the ages about the human experience, in today’s world, there is still uncertainty and division regarding the understanding of man. This is in large part because the egotistical, divisive, competitive and superficial aspects of society perpetuate confusion about the true nature of man. The broad diversity of agenda driven perspectives leaves no common agreement as to what the composite whole of a human being might be. In the fragmented thinking of the physical world, the ideal direction for the development of humanity remains unclear, and consequently, mankind spins in circles like a compass without a magnetic north, a clear vision, or a defined destiny.
Yet, in an effort to devise a meaningful formula for what a person is so as to bring order to the experience of life, one must contemplate the composite aspect of the human being. This is difficult because from individual to individual, there is a marked difference in consciousness, especially when considering physical intensity, quality and strength. The composite view becomes even more complex when one considers the characteristics of the emotions, intellect, moral values, personal temperament, esthetic vision and religious characteristics; an infinite combination of possibilities makes defining individuality illusive at best. Miraculously, what brings this diversity together, like the hub of a wheel, is the commonality of the spiritual nature. In the spiritual core of all human beings, differences and distinctions are unknown; the enlightened soul perceives harmony and oneness, not separation and illusion.
Unfortunately, contemporary civilization is not conducive to creating an environment that nurtures spiritual practices. Today, many religions condemn exploration outside of their doctrines, and some fundamentalist religions even forbid internal contemplation. Nevertheless, in human history, there have always been two distinct ways of molding the consciousness of mankind: one operates from without and the other from within. The first method results from all of the external conditions, states or relationships imposed on the individual by the family, culture, religion, social environment or worldly affairs. Individuals are powerless against these influences which imprint their experience, stir their emotions and alter their thinking. Security or insecurity, wealth or poverty, confidence or anxiety, struggle or slothfulness, responsibility or apathy, harmony or violence creates psychological states which unconsciously mold human beings in very specific ways.
The problem with this arises from people blindly adhering to other people’s personal, educational, religious or ideological beliefs to the point that they relinquish their own personal power to such influences. The institutional systems of civilization continuously work to keep the masses under control by reminding them that the ruling members of the system know what is right; and to question their authority is “unthinkable” and morally wrong. This thinly veiled intimidation results ultimately in a negative consequence, enslavement. People who subjugate themselves in such a way do not expand their minds through intelligent and original thought; they do not develop personal perspective through spiritual insight. By relinquishing personal power and individual judgment to an institutional view, one forfeits the impulse to develop a unique and expanded perception of oneself and of life.
In addition to this submission to the authority of institutions, there has developed a tendency among the masses to base their own identity of who they are on one of these fragmentary views, never realizing that these fragments do not represent the composite whole of the human being, of who they truly are. These incomplete perspectives leave them lacking in the understanding of the full potential of the human being. It is understandable that people are susceptible to these systems, doctrines and beliefs because the mind naturally adheres to such precise and definitive solutions. These belief systems save time. By accepting them verbatim, the individual does not have to think for himself. This is a choice of simplicity over complexity with the added benefit of intellectual security for having it already figured out; all one has to do is accept the prescribed view as one’s own.
The preferred manner of molding the consciousness is the deliberate direction of inspirational and creative energies which modify the subject from within. Spontaneous insight, meditation, concentration, selfless service, intuition, communion with nature, will power and renunciation each draw from and exhibit the deep well of internal energy. Once developed through practice, these internal states of being have the capacity to awaken spiritual qualities and attributes which bring about a better equilibrium and durability in the psychological well-being of the individual as well as the harmonious integration of all organic, emotional and mental activities.
There are two essential conditions which have the capability of releasing the individual from the bondage of external societal ignorance with its accompanying illusory worldview: relative isolation and self-discipline. In order to cultivate spiritual qualities, people must have the discipline to temporarily isolate themselves from their attachments to “worldly things” that are disharmonious, unimportant and counterproductive. Those who give priority to contemplating the truth and beauty of the unseen over gratification from the mundane will develop inner sensibilities which bring peace, happiness, grace and insight. When the individual consciousness ascends the highest summits and is illuminated by intuition and creative imagination, impetus is provided for enthusiasm and inspiration toward the supreme goal. The awakening of moral ideals, spiritual sensibilities and the appreciation of beauty leads one to the path of Light.
Where can modern individuals find “psychological isolation” and solitude? They can retire within. No retreat is more peaceful or less troubled than the experience of spiritual Light within. With steadfast discipline, the individual seeks the inner sanctum instead of material comfort and the entertaining pleasures of society. While surrounded and enthralled by the comforts of life, the material illusions and technological marvels engendered by science, man does not understand the urgency of developing the inner path. Distracted by pleasure and complacency, people fail to realize that they are slowly degenerating. The real peril is that the degeneration is so gradual and persistent that they fail to recognize it.
Spiritual insight, like intelligence, can be developed by education, self-discipline and will power if one is willing to temporarily relinquish sensual pleasures. There must be a temporary separation of the individual from his or her worldview in order to interrupt the habitual attachment to the physical. The illusion that worldly pleasures can bring lasting comfort, in whatever form, must be acknowledged and renounced before self-consciousness can transition from the seen and ascend to the miraculous dimensions of the unseen. For such a transition to occur, the individual must become proficient in the transformation of consciousness through the practices of renunciation and focused meditation.
In order to keep a spiritual, psychological and organic balance, people must impose upon themselves an inner rule. They must realize the necessity of selecting the right and avoiding the wrong, embracing the truth and rejecting the false, recognizing reality and dispelling illusion. Psychological equilibrium is only maintained by an effort of will. Everyone is born with different talents and capabilities, and in order to be actualized, these potentialities require the constant exercise of body, mind and spirit. It is from a solid and virtuously constructed foundation that the spiritual nature arises.
The sublime experiences which come from developing and living in these exceptional states is scarcely understood. Spiritual activity has been banished from most religions much to its detriment. Yet, the strength of religion depends on the focus and inspiration of spiritual activities that infuse it with new life, vision and direction. To take the spiritual or mystical spirit out of religion, leads to its decline, and at the very least destroys its inspiration, wonder and imaginative visions.
Spiritual advancement in its highest state utilizes an effective system of discipline, the practice of renunciation. One cannot enter the realm of the Light and Spirit without ascetic preparation. Renunciation is exactly the prescription needed by modern man to purge from his being the harmful effects encountered within the present civilization. Purification of the individual physically, mentally and emotionally removes organic imbalances, misconceptions, misunderstandings, emotional pains and fears. Historically, few have shown the courage to venture upon this path.
Thus, in the world of man, people rise or sink to the level of life for which they are fitted by the quality of their consciousness, the purity of their souls, the balance of their bodies and the resilience of their self-determination. The awakening of the individual self from the confusion and attachment to the materialistic, fragmentary and illusory worldview is likely to come only when extreme conditions and adverse circumstances leave no other choice, or perhaps, the peril of the degenerating society awakens the sense of urgency. Likely, it will take an “end of time” fear to compel mankind to find a vision and set the compass to true north.
Destiny and the Soul
The greatest fallacy in the mind of humans today is that if they do not believe in something they “think” it doesn’t apply to them. They feel they are exempt from the laws and principles of the universe simply because they do not believe in them. It is the arrogance of the rational human mind that denies and dismisses this reality. Godless individuals believe we live in an elemental universe and all events of life are merely biological mutations that cease to be when we die. Although these people do not believe in an afterlife, they will nevertheless experience life or “lucid dreaming” consciousness after their death and they will be held accountable for their actions in this life. They are correct in their belief that the body returns to the elements, but we “humans” are not our bodies. We are intelligent light and spirit encased in a living soul that never dies. This is the reality of Creation which can be experienced. Consequently, it does not matter whether people “believe” in the spiritual universe or not, it still governs and directs all of our lives as we create our individual destinies.
Similar fallacies of mind hold true for some religious people who adhere to very narrow and strict views of their religious dogma and doctrines making their understanding of universal truth either nil, incomplete or deeply flawed. Some of the more extreme religions have misunderstandings or misperceptions that stifle life, love, liberty and spirit. Unfortunately, too many people do not understand how the universal laws and principles bring the truth to life and provide each of us with “silent feedback” which can be recognized in the harmony, goodness and blessings of our individual lives. It is our individual lives and souls that each one of us is responsible for in this lifetime. We are also responsible for our relationship with the Creator who created us; this is a universal truth and no one is exempt.
The primary reason for writing about destiny is that in times like these in which there are “dark and crazy” situations in our country and in the world today, it is important to remember that how we react and respond individually to life’s circumstances is critically important to the well-being of our soul. We are eternal souls who live many different lives in the time/space universe. Sri Aurobindo said, “Time is one body and space a single book” and I would add that our many lives are the pages in our own book, a book of our soul. Whether we recognize it or not, each one of us by our thoughts, words and deeds are creating the framework, substance and circumstances in this life for what will be a future life experience.
The dynamics of creating destiny and the direct impact it has upon the soul is not a topic many understand. This is apparent when watching people in the political, government, media or business worlds lie with straight faces as they spin their deceiving stories or distorted ideologies. They do not realize that there are personal consequences for deceiving others regardless of how they try to justify their actions; these people are “the end justifies the means” crowd. And of course, there are those who murder, rape, steal and violate the laws of nature without showing any sign of remorse, but this does not mean they will be exempt from the consequences. Even if a person is apprehended by the law and pays the price in prison, it is only a price being paid to society, not to the soul. These individuals will experience the long term detrimental impact these actions have upon the soul and the circumstances of life and ultimately, upon the human condition in his/her next life.
If people understood the connection between destiny and the soul they would realize that every thought, word and deed is imprinted upon their soul throughout life. This means that the life and circumstances (condition of the body, sexual gender and orientation, opportunities or lack thereof, geographical location, parents, friends, personal motivation, intelligence, etc.) each person is experiencing in this lifetime is a direct result of his/her actions from the previous life. This is the reason some people come into life with immense challenges; this is the reason some people are gifted; this is the reason some people are smarter than others; this is the reason some have more courage and integrity than others, and this is the reason everyone is uniquely different. The bottom line is we create our own physical destiny, life experiences, moral convictions and mental acuity – we have no one else to blame but ourselves if we are unhappy.
That which is imprinted upon the individual soul, what I call the soul matrix, is the “blueprint of life” that is emblazoned upon the embryo at conception; this is what makes each embryo a uniquely different being. This blueprint is the destiny or lifeline of experiences which guides the soul and human body through its experiences in life which also includes the manner of death. The majority of people are totally unconscious regarding their individual destiny nor do they realize they create new destiny by their daily actions as their life unfolds. This happens because we come into life with a set of challenges or “life lessons” to learn and we all react to these experiences differently. Our reactions and responses begin the cycle of cause and effect throughout our lives meaning that how we act in this life sets us up for the next life. This on-going cycle of destiny is often referred to as the “wheel of karma.”
For those who are following a spiritual path or following the way of life as taught by Jesus Christ, the goal is to get off the wheel of karma or to paraphrase Christ, we must “die” to the natural world and immerse ourselves into the spiritual world. What this means is to take full responsibility for our lives and actions and STOP creating destiny or karma for ourselves. This is accomplished by “disengaging” from the 3rd dimensional world or what is referred to as the world of mammon. This is the realm of cause and effect; this is the realm of the physical body and ego-personality; this is the realm of action and reaction, and participating in that world creates destiny.
The remedy for stopping the creation of destiny or karma and finding peace within is to: begin disengaging from the world by discerning and determining what is really meaningful and beneficial to your life; discover your spiritual nature by learning how to be quiet and still within; learn to distinguish what is true from what is not true in the world (learn to see with your heart); learn to perceive who you are separate from the ego-personality; find the center of light, love and peace within your heart of hearts. Such a rare treasure is not casually gained, but requires unrequited determination and deep humility. When these are accomplished one can experience what it means to be in the Spirit.
On the Origin of Marriage
The origin of marriage between the masculine and feminine principles began with the “Big Bang” of Creation which could have been called the “Original Orgasm” of Creation. This divine and miraculous union between creative intelligence and the primeval matter of the universe consummated a marriage between the Father and Mother of Creation; this union established the archetypal pattern known as the law of gender which bonds the masculine and feminine principles of life throughout the universe. The One Consciousness became Two without actually dividing Itself (symbolized by yin/yang, the oldest symbol known). The masculine or father aspect of Creation manifested as conscious intelligence (omniscience) and the feminine or mother aspect of Creation manifested as the power of nature (matter, mater, mother) which we experience as the “fertile soil” or elemental substance of the universe as well as that of our physical bodies. The Two are still One as the Father-Mother of Creation… when intelligence (masculine) penetrated nature-matter (feminine), Creation began.
Humans also were created in the image and likeness of the Father-Mother Creator; that is, we were created as son-daughters and as daughter-sons. Each one of us is comprised of the masculine-feminine principles, the active-passive polarities, and the love-wisdom expressions of consciousness. Another way to understand the active manifestation of the two-in-one duality is in our psychology or more specifically, in the articulation of feeling and desire which is common to both male and female but expressed differently. In life, men are driven first by their desires and secondly, by their feelings; whereas, women are driven first by their feelings and secondly, by their desires. Another way of saying this is that in the man the woman is hidden and in the woman the man is hidden.
A man in whom the feminine principle is completely absent would be an abstract being, completely severed from the cosmic element. A woman in whom the masculine principle is completely absent would not be a personality. The masculine principle is essentially personal and anthropological. The feminine principle is essentially communal and cosmic. It is only the union of these two principles that constitutes a complete human being. Their union is realized in every man and every woman within their bisexual, androgynous nature, and it also takes place through the intercommunion between two natures, the masculine and the feminine.
In the fallen world, a cosmic struggle is going on between the masculine and the feminine principles – the two not only seek union but also wage a war against each other like deadly enemies. This is due to the polarity of human nature. The masculine and feminine principles, the fatherhood and motherhood, are struggling for predominance. The Oedipus myth is one of the expressions of this cosmic struggle. It is a profoundly real myth of the ancient struggle going on in man between the solar masculine principle and the feminine principle of the earth. The human being does not easily resign itself to the victory of the sun over the earth, of the spirit over matter, of the masculine over the feminine, of individuality over the collective unit. Man rebels against the victory of the logos over the maternal element and strives to be absorbed back into non-being once more. He protests being torn away from the mother-earth, the primary source of life.
The relationship between the conscious and unconscious self is reflected in the physical body; it is experienced as the sexual orientation between the masculine (+) and feminine (-) polarities of the body. In Analytical psychology, this relationship is referred to as being between the animus (+) and anima (-). The idea is that in the unconscious of the male, the anima (-) finds expression as the feminine inner personality; and in the unconscious of the female, the animus (+) finds expression as the masculine inner personality. The balance and harmony between the conscious-unconscious, animus-anima, desire-feeling, masculine-feminine, and sexuality-spirituality aspects of the conscious self determine the psychological well-being of each person. However, people can through their conscious thinking and actions alter the polarity of their bodies to the point of changing their sexual orientation, but this negatively impacts the psychological well-being of a person because it is energy in the body working against the natural energies and laws of nature.
A psychologically balanced human is sensitive to the inner personality and is unconsciously attracted to the person of the opposite sex who most closely resonates with his or her inner personality. If these individuals are fortunate to meet, this connection is the foundation of marriage and it is guided by universal laws and principles that do not change; they are not subject to human interpretation, and they do not vary to accommodate cultural or social trends. They just are; as they were in the beginning, are now, and forever shall be! The universe does not have an issue with marriage, only humans do.
The Wedding Feast
Husband, you are the central sun;
I spin around in your sight,
Watching t’see how your head is turned,
Eyes open and trained on light.
Your honor is so greatly earned-
My soul’s glad you are so bright.
I listen to your heart and learn,
As you set the compass right.
My wife, you are the purest moon,
Your glory, never aging.
Within my universe, your warmth,
Keeps flaming, passions burning.
You fill the air with sweet perfume,
my open, precious flower.
I live my simple life for you;
Let us fire th’golden bower.