Monday, August 24, 2009

Charting your course; finding your way...

I've been simultaneously reading more of Master Samael's gnostic works and the classic "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale this past week. Although they come in slightly different packages, the messages contain remarkably similar advice. Would you believe that while concentrating on putting Positive Thinking into action, I was handed a slip of paper that contained one of the bible verses featured in the book while walking down the street just a few days ago? It was from two women standing outside a Christian Science bookstore, but I've walked past that bookstore for four years and have never seen anyone handing out slips of paper there before. I received it thankfully and take it as evidence that when we put our attention on something, we tend to receive more of that same thing. It reminds me of the phrase I learned when taking driving lessons "Look ahead, think ahead, drive ahead;" or the more new age "Where your attention goes, your energy flows." I've also been joking recently about "locating myself in space and time," as a friend and I have experienced a series of synchronistic signs to do with astronomy (and chess, but that one is still unravelling). I love exploring the strange mysteries of life but I also want to do something with the energies and information, not just get lost in the cosmic clues. I think a large part of my problem in not truly living my authentic path is a lack of focus. If I don't even know where I want to go, how can I get there? Another book I am trying to live by this year is "Your Life as Art"by Robert Fritz. It outlines a formula by which you identify where you are now, where you want to go, and then a process for charting your course to get there. Makes sense, doesn't it? I think too often we are afraid to chart that course; concerned that our destination will interfere with where other people think we should go; worried that it is too far or will take too long; that the journey will be too difficult; and so we drive vaguely, maybe getting lost or just badly off-track in the process. We can keep going endlessly in that manner - or maybe it is time to stop for awhile, find the North Star, and ask where am I trying to go? Although in reality I do not really like driving, I think this is an analogy I will try to work with for awhile - because when you get in a vehicle and start to drive you at least usually have a destination in mind and a plan for getting there. I will try to live more "on purpose" and see about creating some new patterns - and a little positive thinking probably won't hurt either ;)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Road to Healing, Egos and Life Lessons

The extent to which we repeat the patterns in our lives is extraordinary to me. In recent years this process seems to have become even more prominent, and rapid. Even as I have made major life decisions designed to take me in a more authentic, soul-filled direction, I keep making remarkably similar "mistakes" and suffering the consequences. It is only when I naively begin to feel bewildered as things go wrong that I am reminded of that old, familiar saying about the road to hell... indeed, good intentions are rarely enough to get us where we want to go. So what else is required? Action; firm commitment; perseverance; luck? A wide variety of sources seem to also recommend some form of spiritual faith. From the popular programs such as AA for overcoming addiction, to gnostic master Samael Aun Weor's teachings specifically on overcoming our egos, when it comes to tackling the really big obstacles in life we are advised to rely on a strength greater than our own. Why is this always so hard to remember?

In order to make any profound and lasting changes it would seem we do indeed require some kind of help from beyond. Yet we muddle on... Lately it seems that even as I identify issues and patterns they simply multiply and continue repeating, so evidently simply bringing them to consciousness is not enough to create change. And as tensions mount I am overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, fatigue and pains, sometimes to the point of being completely unable to function. Apparently my own strength is not enough. And all this from a woman who identifies herself with all the high-minded principles of uniting mind, body and soul to find wholeness, purpose and meaning in life? The books on my shelves are not enough; a lifetime of trying to be kind is not enough; attempting to do everything I can for the small circle of special people in my life is not enough; and as I confront my own failures in so many areas of life I have to seriously question: what am I doing? Riddled with debt; not receiving in return for all I have given; not living up to my potential; enduring chronic health issues; even the happiness of love is clouded by almost insurmountable obstacles. It is not always clear where the dividing line lies between ego and reality. Emotionally it all feels all too real. I feel constantly driven to the edge of endurance and reason lately, slowly broken to the point where I require another fresh start; another absolute beginning... "starting from zero, got nothing to lose" (a line from a Tracy Chapman song that has become shockingly real).

The truth is - a lot of it IS ego... (At least in my case - if you are reading this but you are truly in danger or distress because of someone else's actions please do not blame yourself, and do get the help you need to change your situation!) If we have come to identify ourselves with feeling wronged, mistreated, underappreciated, victimized - Samael emphasizes that changing our outer circumstances is not enough to stop these cycles. He advises asking for divine assistance in completely disintegrating these egos. While thinking about this concept I considered also the process of metamorphosis through which a caterpillar coccoons itself and then undergoes a complete transformation - first dissolving its original form and then slowly changing into the beautiful butterfly. What a phenomenon! And what a reassurance that profound change is possible when we feel at the end of our rope! So, while I truly believe in using a variety of resources to help us deal with illness and emotional issues - including psychological therapies; herbal supplements; prescription medications; adequate exercise, rest and nutrition; or whatever else seems to work best for you - an element of personal experience with the spiritual or divine is also highly recommended. Rising above hurt feelings, pride, disappointment, conflict, temptation, etc. is something that requires something beyond our human abilities. Don't be afraid to find some quiet time and ask for the help you need - pray, meditate, journal - in whatever way possible. Remember, even as we are all human, we are also connected to the divine.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Gnostic

The first Gnostic class I attended was during my first trip to Colombia. The presentation was given in Spanish, with the friend I went with translating for me - and we were virtually the only people there that day. However, I knew immediately that gnosticism was going to be a good fit for me, as that instructor wrote (roughly translated): Gnosis - knowledge of science, art, mystic, philosophy. It was a little like leaping into another dimension and having someone dictate my own theory of art-science-spirit to me, several years after I had developed it myself. More recently I was excited to discover a gnostic group operating locally and signed up for a 9-week yoga and meditation class, though not at all sure my work schedule would permit me to attend all sessions. So far I have made it to one out of two classes, but have followed along as the instructors email out the week's goals, practices and readings. My Colombian gnostic friend hurt my feelings by laughing at my excuses for not being able to go as we corresponded via msn this evening, but he's probably right. You see, Gnosticism is based on each person's spiritual experience, and therefore the development of knowledge - "knowing" - Gnosis. While my excuses for not going seem real enough to me (having just spent two consecutive days in bed with headache and body pain; a conflicting work schedule) - if my truest desire is to overcome the obstacles in my life you would think I could put a little more effort into it. True also that I do not really like attending group activities and would rather stay home and read - perhaps the very nature of the challenge is to do something uncomfortable and accelerate learning by being more active. This week's readings were about learning to observe ourselves as a first step towards eliminating those inner egos or selves that are prohibiting our true spiritual growth. Believe me, this is a tricky business indeed. Even though I have been slowly working towards formatting this kind of a life-framework in recent years, I still spend at least 99% of my time completely unconscious of the deeper meaning of life, tossed about by dramas each step of the way. In spite of my artsciencespirit philosophy I have sadly neglected my spiritual side - no surprise then that I feel quite hopelessly lost in terms of a life path and purpose at this point. The excuses come so easily!! But the more we identify with all those little inner selves, the more impossible it is to create lasting change and discover our greater truth - our Essence. I will see what I can do about attending tomorrow evening's class, or at the very least try to fit in the daily prayer and meditation exercises. I know that what I get out of the experience depends on what I put into it. For more information on the Gnostic path try visiting - it is quite possible that you will find a free class in your area.