For some time, I was affiliated with and interested in the Ecclesia Gnostic and prayed their Gnostic Rosary. Here's a piece of it, The Gnostic's Prayer, that's quite beautiful. You can find the full Gnostic Rosary here.
The Gnostic's Prayer
Almighty God, whose footstool is the highest firmament:
Great Ruler of Heaven, and all the powers therein:
Hear the prayers of Thy Servants, who put their trust in Thee.
We pray Thee, supply our needs from day to day:
command Thy heavenly host to comfort and succor us:
That it may be to Thy glory and unto the good of man.
Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive our brothers and sisters:
be present with us: strengthen and sustain us:
For we are but instruments in Thy hands.
Let us not fall into temptation: defend us from all danger and evil:
Let Thy mighty power ever guard and protect us.
Thou great fount of knowledge and Wisdom:
Instruct Thy servants by Thy holy presence:
Guide and support us, now and forever.
"Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy,
but not the confrontation with the Shadow and the world of darkness.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious.
The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular."
-- C. G. Jung, Alchemical Studies
(Volume 13 of The Collected Works of C.G. Jung), paragraph 335
The middle section of the above quote has become something of a meme in various spiritual circles. I decided to look into it thanks to a realization I had recently and wanted to make sure I could offer commentary.
This sheer immense presence of the middle of the quote around the internet made it slightly more difficult to track down its origins!
Then I had a moment of thought about verifying the quote and trying to figure out its context to make sure it was worth commenting on. The internet is filled with misquotes, misunderstandings, and misattributions, so we have to exercise caution. This one seems to stand.
I don't disagree with the idea of confronting the darkness (Shadow) as part of the path to enlightenment, but I will say that the processes of Adventure in Meditation are bringing in a lot more change than trying to face my Shadow ever did. I don't say that lightly, either.
For years, I avoided books like Adventure in Meditation because they get deemed as being too fluffy, but it really isn't.
Here's a thought about making the darkness conscious: that requires a certain amount of light to do. That requires a certain amount of energetic stability to do. You can't tell cynical adolescents, "Heck yeah, go fight your Shadow, man! That's the real serious stuff! That'll getcha enlightened!" without also equipping them with the very "figures of light" mentioned here.
(As a side note, adolescents shouldn't be involved in Shadow work anyway as they should be focused on developing healthy Ego structures. I wish someone had told me that.)
The point is, the process isn't limited in either direction; one does not enter a cave without a lantern or candle, and good luck stumbling into a dark cave and groping around in the darkness to find one. You will not, and things will probably get messy when you injure yourself.
To be fair, I'm not disagreeing with Jung here so much as bringing my own experience to the table to say, "Look, Jack, making the darkness conscious may be unpopular, disagreeable, and also very necessary, but don't knock those figures of light."
Again, I speak as someone who has been a lot more negative and cynical of a person than I realize until the last several months when I deliberately started focusing on healing, light, and love. Just bringing that to the table.
On the other hand, I've known people who've deliberately avoided the darkness, and focused on only the light, and then I watch their darkness erupt and basically possess them at various points. So, I do get Jung here.
That's enough for this entry.
Good news, everyone!
The recorded "retreat" talks that Bernadette Roberts gave over her lifetime are now available to view at no cost. Bernadette Roberts was a modern-day Roman Catholic mystic who had some things to say.
You can find the website by clicking here.
Be forewarned that these are long talks, so you'd best set aside some time and split them up. I'd also recommend re-watching and taking notes.
Also, if you're skeptical because she identified herself as a more mainstream Christian, just wait it out. I think in the Essence of Christian Mysticism, it was around the 9 minute mark that I noted to myself, "Well, Father Sergio is going to enjoy this!"
I cannot recommend Bernadette's books highly enough, though I will say that the last one (The Real Christ) needed some severe editing. (There were a number of places in The Real Christ where Bernadette was simply repeating something she had said in a former chapter or even a few paragraphs before. This was unnecessary.)
Bernadette's another person among those who make the extreme claim that there's been a falling away of both the everyday Ego and the Deeper Self alike- revealing something even more profound beyond the Self- yet from the videos and by all accounts, she's still a very peppy person, as are most of the folks who make such claims!
It's something that's very reassuring, knowing that even in the Beyond of the Beyond, we don't become some kind of blank, bland automaton but are still vigorous and full of a distinct personality.
Finding out that these videos were available at no cost was just amazing and an amazing thing to be able to share with all of you.
As I said: long talks, so get some snacks and settle in because you're in for a ride.
Just a little shop talk going on today. Eventually, these "shop talk" entries are going to head over to the News section of the website.
Once October begins, I'm going to begin gathering resources to put together for the website. This will include a list of podcasts, videos, websites, music, and reading material that's conducive to the mystical path.
We'll start the list off with specifically Christian (and by extension, sometimes Jewish) sources and then extend outward into other religious traditions both directly and indirectly related.
The goal is to make available different resources for people's edification. We want people to learn and to grow in the Indwelling Christ and to spread Christ's Light and Love to all.
In addition, I'll soon officially announce in the Facebook group about the updates to the website and the input we need from people who are both willing and able to participate.
This Daily Devotional section is open to anyone who wants to have something posted, be it a prayer or a sermon or something thoughts. I'm going to write something daily either way, but I can always save the draft and post the next day.
Certain things we need include new headshots for profile pages and preferably pictures of our clergy in their vestments.
I did discover something pretty amazing today that'll serve as one of our resources, but you'll have to visit tomorrow to find out about the big surprise!
"He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm."
-The Gospel according to Saint Mark, Chapter Four, Verse 39
New Revised Standard Version
This is one of those widely-quoted parts of the Bible; many people are familiar with it, regardless of religious devotion.
I was interested to know not only the various translations but the original terms in Greek, specifically the "Peace! Be still!" aspect.
Σιώπα, πεφίμωσο. (siopa, pefimoso)
This site gives a little information about the words being both uncommon and possibly a statement as opposed to a command, saying the words only appear elsewhere when Jesus is issuing a command to demons. Both words refer to keeping silence or keeping something secret or muzzling.
This is extremely intriguing, and I'm still more inclined to think of it as a command, rather than a statement. This could be a bias showing on my end simply because that's how I've always heard the phrase and understood the meaning.
If we see it as a command, the command is rather harsh; this isn't Jesus asking the sea nicely to return to a state of harmony, but saying something more like, "Be quiet already!" This translation may seem unflattering to the high-minded images of Jesus, but I think it brings out the feeling into modern language well enough.
There's also a possible connection to the Old Testament here and the "Leviathan" tradition; more about this topic can be found here. The idea of a Divinity fighting and slaying a sea monster is a common in Middle Eastern mythology, and this idea was applied to the Hebrew Idea of Deity as well.
Jesus then doing something similar in the Gospels possibly is a reference to this; the power of Christ is shown by his simply uttering words and not engaging necessarily in a battle.
This is a kind of deeper theme that exists within the Jewish and Christian traditions, a theme of relying on intellect, culture, and integrity as opposed to brute force and violence.
This is enough to consider for today.
Always attempt to be clear in perception.
The Buddha might warn us that the majority of people are having misperceptions at all time. Christ hints at similar things though uses different language.
We bring to the table so many biases, so many clouded judgments, so many perceptions that don't necessarily reflect reality that we're more than capable of reading terrible things into a situation that's otherwise benign.
You can be certain of how you feel and what you're thinking, of course; what's less certain is why you're feeling and thinking those things.
What's even less certain is how others feel and think, and the why thereof is almost inscrutable entirely.
Bear that in mind when there are disagreements of opinion and even downright conflicts.
The last thing any of us want to do is to create more strife in this world. At least most of us who are mystics are more inclined to try to create harmony and peace.
Perhaps some people think that harmony and peace are boring, and I can understand why people might think it's boring; if there isn't some kind of story arc, if there isn't some kind of beginning, middle, and end, if there isn't a hurdle to overcome, then where lies the meaning?
But that also demonstrates people who haven't actually experienced harmony and peace for themselves! On the contrary, meaning is very apparent when one is peaceful. When one experiences flashes of unity with God, reality presents itself much, much differently, and the normal strife disappears.
Indeed, as a matter of personal experience, I can testify that experiencing harmony and peace is anything but boring. In fact, that dynamism of reality is so mighty that it's almost difficult to keep up with, and that's likely why we fall out of those states.
Back to the original point: don't mistake another person's grumpy mood for being something that you personally did. Oftentimes, that's not the case, if it's ever the case.
For those who watched Bishop Tom and Brian's wedding ceremony, I would recommend practicing the rose ritual with your significant other. The rose ritual is an incredible way to remind us what's important in life and to clear our misperceptions.
Yesterday was quite the exciting day for our Bishop and his new husband! Our Church, associated friends, and family were able to participate, and many of us joined through the magnificent technology of Zoom. The ceremony was both beautiful and charming, and a number of us (myself included) cried at some point.
Yesterday was also the official autumnal equinox, a perfect astrological coincidence of change (to something new) and balance (between differing forces).
The ceremony also required a lot of energy, both from the participants and the audience. If you were there and feel a little sapped of energy today, it's no wonder.
But yesterday brought something else, for today has brought with it a calm- the calm that happens after such excitement, a contented bliss, a happiness for others and for the well-being of others.
Let us enjoy the calming embrace of God's Presence. God is in this place, God is in our hearts, and the holy ceremony we witnessed is the certainty of that.
Again, let us congratulate the Bishop and his new husband as the happy couple!
On this Autumnal Equinox of September 23rd, 2021, let us all send our best wishes, brightest blessings, and highest powers to Tom (our Bishop) and Brian (his partner) as they join together today in Holy Matrimony!
May God send the Holy Angels and Saints to strengthen you.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary watch over you, keep you, and steady your course in all things.
May the light, love, and goodness of God the Father-Mother, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit seal your marriage in the covenant of holiness.
May you share in life's joys and sustain one another in life's trials.
May your bodies be full of health and vigor; may your souls be free and fulfilled.
Through Christ our Indwelling Lord, Amen, and Amen.
Several of my friends stream on the video streaming site, Twitch. One of my friends on there does a stream called Microdosing Fantasy where she talks about various things in the way of mythology, folklore, supernatural, and paranormal things.
Last night, we dived into various conceptions of the soul that include the concept that parts of us aren't a singular, stable reality but instead exist in some autonomous way. We tread into the realm of discussion Doubles and Doppelgängers and people's experiences with seeing these variations.
Mainly, we were using soul conceptions originating in northern European countries, so we had a lot of Scandinavian words running around.
But it points to something important, and something I try to convey: our souls (or spirits or whatever term one might prefer) don't exist strictly in terms of the ego. There's more to us, and that "more to us" may be having its own life, its own time, its own egoic experience.
Certainly the northern European cultures weren't the first to develop the notion of the soul consisting of various fragments, and I think an important note in these conversations is how the various fragments of the soul relate to Depth Psychology. I also think the multi-part soul is a little more literal than the Jungian conception of the multi-faceted psyche, but I could be wrong.
One question boiling in my mind now is to what degree does the notion of a singular soul contribute to the experience of a strong sense of ego and isolation? I think if we lived in a world where we understood parts of our soul as being independent and having their own lives, we might realize we're part of something from the get-go, and that would knock down our specific issues of self-centeredness just a bit.
"Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one."
-The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 37, New Revised Standard Version
In line with the theme of "Daily Devotions," we'll start incorporating Scriptures, texts, and quotes as these are easy to access and reflect upon.
First, let me say today's theme struck me first, followed by recalling this quote from Jesus. I chose the translation of the New Revised Standard Version because my current Bible uses this translation and because it's widely-used and fairly easy to comprehend.
Second, we should probably do an entry on translation, which will likely be tomorrow's reading.
The above quote from Jesus is situated in a context discussing the swearing of oaths; Jesus admonishes the listeners (and perhaps us, the readers, as well) to not swear or create oaths and gives reasoning for why the creation of such oaths isn't a good idea.
He then goes on to give the quote above.
There are likely enormous treatises written on this matter, but the bottom line is about having integrity: don't make something elaborate, don't make everything into a big production, just follow through with what you said you were going to do.
Checking over translations, the second part mentioning "the evil one" is translated sometimes as "from evil" as well. I think that if we take this as Jesus being entirely literal, it comes off as saying that making oaths is something originating with Satan. That doesn't entirely make sense, but if take a less literal understanding and think of it as, "Making your promises too complicated is going to cause a bunch of trouble for you" sounds about right.
There's a lot of chaos in our world, and our social media and instant access to constant floods of new information complicate this. The exposure is a double-edged sword, as sometimes well-meaning but perhaps poorly informed people enter the spotlight and get harassed, but at other times, we see a number of people's hypocrisy in declaring positions and rules that they themselves proceed to bend and outright break.
"Rules for thee but not for me" is a bad look for everyone, and it's best avoided. If we hold to a set of standards, we should hold ourselves to those standards across the board, in all situations.
This could open up a new conversation as well: what do you do in a situation when your own knowledge and awareness have been expanded, and you have to begin to discard or amend rules you'd formerly adopted? That could be a whole workshop in and of itself. Somebody remind me of that if the Aquarian Catholic Spiritual Community ever becomes super big and localized, and I'll put something together.
Let us reflect on having integrity. Let us reflect on keeping our word.
Our short series on the Ancestors has been quite an interesting ride! This final post is going to touch on a somewhat related concept that isn't exactly identical to ancestor veneration: the Forgotten Dead.
The Forgotten Dead have different names in different cultures and traditions, but the premise generally remains the same: these are poor souls that passed away and were forgotten by time. Perhaps they didn't have many relatives or friends; perhaps no one mourned for their death; perhaps their lives were short and brutal.
Regardless of the reason, the Forgotten Dead often remain clinging to the world and, well, haunting it.
(Hauntings aren't caused just by the Forgotten Dead; sometimes it's an all too familiar personality that's hanging around, but we'll leave that for now.)
The Forgotten Dead aren't necessarily malevolent, but they're sometimes (often) mischievous. You can think of them as having taken refuge in one another in the in-between/afterlife/other worlds. They've become each other's family and remember each other.
Put yourself in their position: how would you feel, having passed from this world into the next, if you had a sense that no one cared about your passing? If you felt you had left work undone? If you felt like there was something you never quite fulfilled?
You probably wouldn't feel too great.
Now imagine you find other people who've gone (or are going) through the same experience- the relatability would form a relationship, no?
I ask for us to pray for the Forgotten Dead. Pray for those who have passed without the needed love and holiness of this human life. Pray for those who have not been able to move on to the next chapter. Pray for those who have transitioned from the body but are unable to transition further. Pray that they receive the Light and Grace of Christ Himself.
The solar plexus chakra is associated with what I call the "Ancestral Powers." These Powers are distinct both from the Ancestors themselves and the Ancestral Holies, though there's a greater overlap with the Ancestral Holies. I think the distinction is still important to maintain.
The Ancestral Powers are the god-forms and distinct spirits that were worshiped and revered by our ancestors in cultures without a predominantly Christian worldview. You could think of them as the gods of old and so on.
Understandably, you might find people in our modern Christian culture who have a concern with worshiping deities of other traditions for a variety of reasons; thus, the solution is to pay a kind of homage to them (again, this can be an energetic homage) without completely bowing down to them.
In other words, not everyone is comfortable with the notion that "God is God is God," or that the Divine manifests in multiple forms. To acknowledge the Ancestral Powers is to acknowledge that other people did have different conceptions and experiences of the Divine and the Spiritual, even if those conceptions and experiences are, in the estimation of some modern individual, mistaken.
"Mistaken notion of the Divine" isn't something I'm here to discuss, nor would I be competent to do so for the most part; there are highly skilled theologians, philosophers, and mystics you can turn to for that.
So what of the difference between Ancestral Holies and Ancestral Powers? The line is blurred, to be sure, but I think the Powers are more distinctly relatable and have a higher measure of consciousness, as it were, whereas the Holies may be seen as having less consciousness and less relatable as an entity.
Our next entry will wrap up the series on the Ancestors.
Continuing our series in discussing the ancestors, what if you're adopted? What if you don't know your birth family and have no way to trace them?
Your adopted family's ancestors would still be considered your ancestors from one vantage point, and I think it's fine to honor them. In fact, through adoption, one ends up having the possibility of multiple sets of ancestors.
The important point to take away here is that our conception of ancestors needn't include only genetically-related individuals.
There's a conception within some traditions of Paganism of the "Mighty Dead" and refers to spiritual ancestors- that is, teachers and practitioners who have vastly influenced the tradition.
One could also extend this into another direction: for members of various communities, advocates for those communities who helped bring greater freedom through political and spiritual struggle could be seen as spiritual ancestors of sorts.
Because the effects our ancestors have on our lives are so complex and can't all be pinned down exactly, I think it's important to honor ancestors of all kinds.
In the next entry, we'll discuss the Ancestral Powers.
Apologies to everyone for missing yesterday's Daily Devotional; I've been battling a fierce migraine, so today we'll get back on track, and I'll start writing posts and keep drafts ready to share in case I can't add anything to the site.
The Ancestral Holies is a concept that's peculiar to me and that I haven't seen very much written on; to review, this is associated with the second chakra and given regards there when meditating.
So what are Ancestral Holies? What a weird term, right?
Essentially, you can think of the Ancestral Holies as the places and objects that were important to one's ancestors- natural landmarks as well as specific buildings along with relics and even daily objects, such as clothing and jewelry and so on, that were important to one's ancestors. The concept of Ancestral Holies can be extended to kinds of food and songs that are passed down through the generations as well, even if it's not literally the same pieces of food.
To pay homage to the Ancestral Holies is to pay homage to the Ancestors and the Dead from a different perspective that also enriches our lives and will set the stage and energetic connections for our descendants.
As far as paying homage goes, this can be done in a number of ways- cultures that recognizes honoring Ancestors likely have rituals set forth to do this, but anyone, a simple energetic offering can suffice.
Tomorrow, we'll continue on this topic as we discuss the Ancestral Powers, which are highly related to the Ancestral Holies.
The honoring of ancestors is something that occurs in cultures around the world; the honoring of and praying for the Dead is a venerable Christian tradition as well.
There are questions that come up concerning the honoring of ancestors, of course; how does this fit in with reincarnation? If we're reborn, how do we honor the Dead? Why would we honor people that are, in fact, already living in the world again?
This is a valid question, one that I asked for many years, but it's based on an incomplete perspective of what rebirth means, especially when we bring in Buddhist cosmology. Rebirth doesn't mean that one is reborn into this world immediately, and many people are probably reborn into Heavenly Realms. Moreover, the lifespans in those Heavenly Realms, while not eternal, are longer than our lives on Earth- at least according to the Buddhist traditions.
So, in that sense, at least some of our ancestors really are both 1) going to one day be reborn AND 1) are worthy of our regard and veneration (if they're of the Heavenly Realms).
Even then (and this important), we're not privy to how long it takes for one to be reborn after passing away from this world. The transition period between life cycles may be longer than several of our human life cycles.
The ultimate point is this: when taken as a group, some of your ancestors are 100% in the Realms of the Afterlife, and they can be affected by us and vice-versa. And it's important to recognize that.
Tomorrow we'll continue with another post about the Ancestors.
This is something peculiar to my own practice, and something that may be of use to others on their path.
First, I would advise one to have a familiarity with the seven major chakras in the chakra system, or at least have a knowledge of their location relative to the human body. Otherwise, you may be confused by what follows.
After gently relaxing myself and placing my body in a comfortable position, I focus first on the Root chakra and work my way up to the Crown chakra. Tomorrow's entry will detail some of these things.
At the Root chakra, I salute my ancestors.
At the Sacral chakra, I salute the ancestral holies.
At the Solar Plexus chakra, I salute the ancestral powers.
At the Heart chakra, I salute the Forgotten Dead.
At the Throat chakra, I salute the Healers and Gurus.
At the Third Eye chakra, I salute the Holy Guardian Angel.
At the Crown chakra, I salute God/the Divine.
When ending a meditation, I thank each in reverse order, starting with the Crown chakra and going backwards to the Root chakra.
Ending a meditation, releasing the energy, centering one's self, and grounding are all incredibly important, and I'm sad to say that in my youth, I made the mistake oftentimes of simply ending a ritual without the proper dispersing of the powers that I had summoned.
Some of the above meditation needs to be explained and detailed, especially "Ancestral Holies" and "Ancestral Powers," but all will be made clear, and that's for tomorrow's entry.
Here, we don't mean channeling in the sense of channeling spirits or other non-corporeal entities but rather the idea of taking something (such as a negative emotion or psychological state) and transforming it into something else entirely.
A good example here would be of taking anger and using it to exercise. Exercise releases a flood of feel-good chemicals in our body, and it's a great way to channel the energy that's generated from the adrenaline of anger.
Sadness is a little trickier: for sadness, sometimes we just have to ride things out and try to rest as much as we can.
But then again, many people find that art is the way they express their emotions, up to and including sadness. I've heard of one woman who had a particularly sad event in her life, and she channeled that emotion in producing massive amounts of poetry.
There are various scenarios one might come up with. In fact, I'm giving you, the reader, a bit of homework here: come up with some situation in your life where you had a negative state of mind, and you channeled that into something else. I'd love to hear it, and so would everyone else!
The transformation of an emotional state may take more than one avenue to change. Anger may not resolved simply by expressing it; other underlying issues may have to be logically sorted out. I've stated elsewhere that I'm a huge fan of thought-restructuring; it's a way of adjusting our outlook and our attitude that isn't a flimsy attempt to simply deny how we feel.
Telling yourself that you feel some way that you don't has never worked for me; it's like trying to lie to myself, and I see through it. But I can try to imagine how I would feel is things were different, and then try to see things from a different point of view.
Anyway. I hope things are going well for everyone, and I hope you find some avenue of transformation for your more difficult experiences in life.
Today's Mass was somewhat experimental- the ritual itself proceeded in a fairly recognizable manner, but much of the language was adapted from another Rite.
Ultimately, the Mass was lovely, and I'm glad we have another option for people to say when it comes time to perform the ritual.
There are several important aspects of the Mass, of course, and as long as the central components exist in some form, things should be good.
Another important aspect of Mass is for it to be streamlined and to flow smoothly. Divine Energy and the Presence of God shouldn't be interrupted, and so the ritual has to have a certain flow to it; experiencing these kinds of streamlined, esoteric Masses is enjoyable.
My own tendency will probably have a slightly more traditional flavor to it, so experiencing the more "experimental" and mystical varieties gives me a point of contrast that nonetheless helps to sustain me.
Go in peace to serve the Lord, my friends.
Today, I had a miniature and extremely brief moment of spiritual consolation...and I had one a little later as well. Just an incredibly quick flutter-like experience (for me, it was located somewhere in the upper heart chakra area).
Moments such as these are important; the softer, quickest flash of the Divine, and then, just as quickly, it's gone.
This demonstrates the dynamism of the Divine. Sometimes in Buddhist theology, what I call "dynamism" is referred to as "impermanence."
The scope of this entry, and indeed of the Daily Devotional section for our Church, isn't suitable to fully address concepts such as dynamism, impermanence, and the connection among them, but I did want to state something as it's on my mind and may benefit others.
One thing I will say is that the term "impermanence" brings with it a kind of pathos and sadness about the fact that things do indeed change, whereas I think "dynamism" hits more closely to the positive aspects of things. Life changes. Reality changes. The change itself isn't inherently good or bad; it just exists. How we think of those things can influence how we approach them.
Reality itself, God as God, is beyond our conceptions and exists regardless of those conceptions.
I think those of us who are regular Joes or, as I like to say, "Normal Nobodies," encounter the small flashes of God initially because, with rare exception, most of us wouldn't be able to process the full experience of GOD. A lifetime of conditioning simply renders us unable and unequipped to handle the full-blown experience.
Let us think on these things.
What does it mean to have an intention or to speak of the "will" in a human being?
Perhaps we should bring this up to the spiritual level and discuss the "Will" as we sometimes see it spelled.
This is one of those esoteric concepts often spoken of but also somewhat difficult to grasp without a direct experience, yet if one experiences it, there's not a lot of mistaking to be had.
I would venture to guess that most people who experience their own Will (or the Will of the Higher Self, which is perhaps a more accurate way of framing this) may not know it by that title; in other words, most people, especially mystics, probably experience the Will without necessarily calling it that.
In any prayer that we do, in any spiritual action we take, including something as simple as making the Sign of the Cross, the intention is extremely important. Knowing and intending a certain outcome is what ultimately makes the action efficacious. Father Sergio spoke of something similar at Mass this past Sunday.
It isn't the action in and of itself; it's the action serving as a container for particular spiritual energy that has been "stamped" by an intention. We must take our spiritual life seriously and intentionally.
The next time you make the Sign of the Cross, realize what your intention is. Pay attention to what you want to accomplish. Be aware of the gestures you're making.
Let us reflect on these things.
Not long after entering back into the world of the Christian path, I wrote this prayer. I had many, many new and interesting insights into the nature of Christ (and Christ as Nature or the Underlying Essence of Nature), and this prayer is one of the most important and powerful ones I developed based on that.
Hail to the Christ,
the Rose of Light;
May Your love blossom in our hearts forevermore
And may Your peace be upon the whole world.
Please feel free to use, share, and alter this prayer as you see fit.
If you read and ignore all else I ever write, take this to heart: document your spiritual journey. I beg of you to do so.
Keep a journal, a diary; write it using the notepad on a smartphone, write it on sticky notes, buy an expensive journal, or use a voice recorder or even make YouTube videos; I honestly don't care how you document your journey, just do so.
Why, you may ask, am I so very insistent?
Because of the numerous benefits of reading through your own spiritual history.
If you keep something like a practice journal and a dream journal, you can then proceed to review these things later on. If you write a more general spiritual journal, you can do the same thing.
You'll see patterns emerge over time- tendencies to get stuck on something or to be truly transformed by something. Dreams will reveal the concerns your mind has and what you could be doing.
That's an interesting point: I wanted to write "should be doing" but chose "could be doing" as the dreams, like divination, show us possibilities and paths without necessarily making those determinations for us.
Some things do seem to be determined, though.
I want you to do, dear Reader, that whomever you may be, in this moment, the Grace of God is with me, and I love you as Christ loves you. Take this precious moment and go in peace and serve the Indwelling Lord.
In line with the former post about allowing "space," I ended up basically skipping meditation last night. The day had been long, and I had been involved doing other things, and I wanted to spend time with my husband.
All of that is completely fine; skipping a day of meditation can help remind us how important it is.
Another point to realize relates to my exercise routine, which is mainly "day on, day off," or that I exercise every other day (sometimes two days get skipped). Everyone's body is different and heals at different rates, and this seems to be the pattern that works the best for me.
The same is true for our spiritual practice. To be sure, meditating for many hours a day sounds like a good idea and a notable thing, but if the meditation ends up irritating you and causing you to dread it, it's backfiring and not accomplishing its task.
One of my friends spoke about working once and said, "Work smarter, not harder." There's something to be said for this as well: it's better for us to accomplish something well and swiftly than it is for us to drag it out. That can apply to working and to many other things.
Effort for the sake of effort might be good under some circumstances; no one becomes an Olympic Gold Medalist without undertaking some kind of training!
What say you? Do you think it's better to sit for an hour and be irritated the whole time, or is better to sit for 5 minutes and have a profoundly deep and relaxing experience and go into a deep meditation? Which one do you think is ultimately better? This is an extreme example, but it's worthy of consideration.
Nonetheless, consider it.
Sometimes, the healing we need takes place merely by having space.
There's something to be said of the phrase, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
Under some circumstances, this can understandably be a painful experience; in situations where we're having a dispute of some sort, some distance and some time is almost always a good idea. When cooler heads prevail, we're far more capable of finding a workable solution.
Most of us have encountered people who are committed to being unwholesome and committed to creating bad karma for themselves; sometimes, we're even involved closely with them (as in family or friends).
Yet what I've found, and likely what you've found, is that the people who irritate us the most can also be great sources of joy for us when we've formed the proper boundaries and had distance from them. You may find yourself unable to live with another person but also find that you delight in their company around family vacations and holidays.
(Note: I'll always come back around to the concept of setting boundaries. A lack of healthy boundaries is probably one of the biggest issues I see happening in American culture in the present day.)
Meditation is also a way of forming space; meditation gives us a bit of distance from our ordinary mind and ordinary way of processing things and ordinary life and allows us to refresh a bit.
Never underestimate the benefit of having some distance from the things that make you miserable.
This realization came to me during this week's Mass said by Father Sergio.
A few days ago, the main coffee mug I use was permanently damaged thanks to 1) its position on the counter and 2) the cup that fell out of the cabinet the smashed the mug.
Of course, being a house spouse and in charge of the chores, I'm the one who put the cup in the cabinet and perhaps had things packed too closely together. The cup falling out was ultimately unfortunate more than intentional, yet I still had a hand in it.
This relates to karma, and also to what happened next: a question for finding a new set of coffee mugs.
In fact, I not only found a great set but a great set at a great price.
Upon inspection, the designs on the new set reminded me of the four classical elements, and I did something I've rarely done: I blessed the coffee mugs. That may sound strange, but I think blessing our everyday objects can help to remind us of the importance of the mundane.
The damaged coffee mug was the last one we had from our old life in Florida. The smashing of it was a literal container being smashed- the old no longer applies, the old must be discarded.
But that which is contained is the same- the coffee, which represents spirit; the lesson then is that the container must be appropriate for spirit, and that the four classical elements each serve as a container for spirit.
I've often said "spirit" splits into the four elements, and then when the four element are combined again, they form spirit. It's a beautiful set of imagery for me.
Not every mundane circumstance in life has a specific profundity behind it; all things have a general profundity, but that experience is left up to the sages, saints, and masters and is beyond my scope.
Another way of stating this: don't go trying to accidentally smash your coffee mug to copy me and think it's the same thing. Your own life will show you something when you're ready. Whatever happens for you will be very you-specific. That's just how these things roll.
Moreover, I didn't make the connections within this happening until Mass today, and though one should participate in Mass for its own sake, this is yet another benefit of attending Mass: the clarifying of things.