Agape, Altruism, Art, Authenticity, Awe, Beauty, Being True To Yourself, Brotherly Love, Children, Community, Creativity, Dance, Education, Emotions, Enlightenment, Erotic Dance, Erotic Love, Ethics, Extended Family, Fairness, Family, Free Spirit, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Friends, Fun, Giving, Happiness, Honesty, Horniness, Human Nature, Humanism, Humanities, Ideas, Love, Lovers, Loyalty, Mature Love, Morality, Mysticism, Nature, New Love, Parental Love, Passion, Peace, People, Philos, Redemption, Romantic Love, Science, Self-determination, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Sense of Relatedness, Sex, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love, Vacilando, Wisdom

The Importance of Redemption

(About a 5 minute read)

I sometimes get the impression that plenty of us tackle the big ideas in life almost the day we escape our cribs for the first time.

“Gurk! Life is mine to seize! I see it clearly now.  I shall be my own hero. Gerp!” Or, “Poppels! But our capacity to love is what most defines us as moral. Twurks!  What’s this?  Why, it must be what what ma-ma calls, ‘poo’.  And look!  It’s endlessly shape-able!”

Continue reading “The Importance of Redemption”

Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Bad Ideas, Being True To Yourself, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotions, Free Spirit, Human Nature, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Wisdom

Dealing With Our Light and Dark Sides

(About a 4 minute read)

I have been thinking lately that, if we wish to live our lives to their fullest — that is, if we wish to flourish — then we will keep in touch with both the good and the bad in us, with both our light and our dark sides.

I’m not an avid fan of the notion — most famously expressed in Star Wars — that the two are separate discrete things, or that they can be split apart in any meaningful way.  However, it seems we are under considerable societal pressure to believe just that: That we not only can but ought to feed and nourish our good side, while starving out bad side.

But is that wise?

Continue reading “Dealing With Our Light and Dark Sides”

Enlightenment, Religion, Satori, Self-Integration, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

Have We Been Placed Here to Learn Spiritual Lessons?

(About a 2 minute read)

The notion that we have been placed here to learn spiritual lessons progressively leading to ever greater wisdom is a curious one — just as ancient and widespread as it is unquestioned and unexamined.

But is it true?

Ultimately, of course, there is no way to be certain that anything has placed us here to learn wisdom.  That’s a matter of mere metaphysical speculations.  So I ask the question in a practical spirit, rather than in a metaphysical one.

That is, what would it mean in practice to say that we can learn wisdom?

Continue reading “Have We Been Placed Here to Learn Spiritual Lessons?”

Attachment, Delusion, Enlightenment, Love, Poetry, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

Secrets Within Secrets

(About a 2 minute read)

Secrets within secrets
Within spirits and souls.
Some secrets we buy
From the outside,
Some we create
From within.

All men and all women
Have secrets, you see,
And most of our own
We do not know.

Secrets within secrets
Within spirits and souls.
Each secret hidden,
Each secret never told.

Some know themselves,
Some never do.
She who knows all
Knows she knows not a thing –
Nothing to shape her proud.

But perhaps what we hide
Deepest of all
Is we do it for pleasure
Or to avoid pain.

Even our loves
Fall like spring blossoms
So soon after they’re born.

They’re cut from their trees
By the winds of desires
For ever greater pleasures
And by our fear of pain.

The gods are the same:
Our alchemy turns them
From gold into lead,
Changed by the fires
And strange poisons
Of pleasure and pain.

By the fires
And strange poisons
Of pleasure and pain.

And then some deep thing screams
In the silence of the night:

“I want to be alive!
“I want to taste love,
I want to die everyday
To the memories of my past,
Ever to be reborn the next day
Reborn wild and free.

“I want to be reborn
Each moment
In freedom and in love.”

But the clock
Rises to our throat
And ever traps us
In the knot of time.

We don’t live in the moment,
We live in the future
Or in the past,
And that’s not to live
At all.

Enlightenment, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Wisdom

I Have Traveled Far to Become a Dancer

I am not by any means a spiritually enlightened individual, but I have come far enough now that I have begun to wonder — as if it were a strange and unfamiliar fact to me now — how anyone can wish to be a jerk.

I am resigned to the likely fact that I shall never get much further than that in my life, not even if I live another twenty or another thirty years.  And unfortunately, I am quite far from immune to still now and then being a jerk myself.

Should I strive to correct that about myself, or to merely resign myself to still being a jerk at times?  The question gives me real pause.  Wisdom sometimes lies in one path, and sometimes in the other.

There are no paths in life that it is wise to forever follow.  We must ever step as lightly as dancers on the paths that we take least someday we discover we’ve committed to the wrong one.

It is not the wise person, but the fanatic, who never learns to dance.

Attachment, Consciousness, Delusion, Enlightenment, God, God(s), Human Nature, Life, Mysticism, Satori, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

A Few Untidy Thoughts on Spiritual Enlightenment — What it is, and what it’s like to survive it.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of people who insufferably know what they’re talking about. Consequently, reasonable and open-minded skepticism is called for here.  On the other hand, the gods themselves enjoy inflicting heinous devastations upon those who disagree with me. 

(About a 10 minute read)

 

Like most folks familiar with the term “spiritual enlightenment” — or simply “enlightenment” to many of us —  I harbor some opinions about what it is, what can cause it, and what enlightened people are like.  If anything distinguishes me from nine in every ten folks on this issue, it’s that I’m not in the business of arguing my opinions, of trying to more than explain them.

That seems to me rare today — an age in which even the least proselytizing among us far too often channel the ugly self-assured certainty that most radio talk-show hosts use to mask their ignorance when wrestling with subjects too profound for them — that is, nearly every subject they tackle, except sometimes the latest weight loss product they pitch.

Now that I’ve foolishly indulged myself in ranting against something I myself will never be able to change about radio hosts, please allow me to foolishly indulge myself in discussing what it means to be spiritually enlightened.

But note: I’m being quite serious when I say I don’t know what I’m talking about.  My purpose here is not to sell conclusions and beliefs, but to provoke thought and — hopefully — beyond thought, mystery.

Continue reading “A Few Untidy Thoughts on Spiritual Enlightenment — What it is, and what it’s like to survive it.”

Consciousness, Delusion, Enlightenment, Mysticism, Satori, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Wisdom

“The Most Tenacious Con is Self-Deception”

(About a 2 minute read)

“The most tenacious con is self-deception”, she said, echoing sages great and small down through the ages of human wisdom.  Which made me wonder: Has any sage ever been without at least a small measure of self-deception?

Of course, I am not asking here for choice and tasty bits of dogmatism or great and thrilling professions of chauvinism — even I would like to believe that my favorite sages were beyond self-deception, if only because believing so might give me a fixed star to guide myself by.  And yet, I cannot honestly believe such unless by faith — for how much do I really know of sages?

Were I to guess, I would guess even the buddhas might suffer some small measure of self-deception now and then.  After all, they almost certainly saw things from a subjective point of view, and are not such points of view necessarily deceptive?

But what about “self-deception” only in the narrower sense of being deceived by one’s own self?  Is that something all sages have suffered?

I think an issue here lies in knowing what a “self” is to a sage.  Do sages, such as the Buddha, or perhaps Jesus (so little is really known about him, but I suspect he was much like the Buddha in key ways), even have selves in quite the same sense as most of us?

You see, I think those great sages have transcended their selves — the selves they began with.  They have done so not so much by learning from books and others, but by directly experiencing what they took to be a superior reality — an experience that transformed them.  Thus, to me, the question comes down to whether they still possess some kind of self that is capable of being deceived.

Again, if I were to guess, I’d guess they do.

So far as I can see — and that’s not nearly far enough — even the Buddha himself did not dispense with his normal, everyday waking self.  He merely put it into perspective, so to speak. Imagine a king who has been receiving bad advice from his prime minister for ages until one day he realizes how bad it’s been.  That’s when the king begins putting the advice he receives into perspective.

I do not think sages can dismiss their prime ministers, so to speak.  Not without giving themselves a lobotomy — because the self seems to me to depend on the brain for its existence.  But if so, then the sages are stuck with selves, and the best they can do is learn exactly how the self deceives us so that they can put such deceptions into perspective.

Questions? Comments? Feeble attempts to link me to obscure revolutionary movements?  Shockingly less feeble attempts that actually do link me?  Immature professions of undying self-love?