Fearless Reason

Fearless reason in an age of frightened absurdity.

Category: Philosophy

Ancient Universal Call

Where am I going? Who is god calling me to be? What is this ancient universal call towards simplicity and surrender? I crave the sweetness of silence, retreat, solitude, and a more primitive and authentic life. I wish to throw myself into the light, and be obliterated by god’s bliss. I wish to exist in that timeless state always. Not merely in stolen moments from the profane, when heart and breath are stilled, and the mind is set free.

If I were more adept, more Tantric, I might achieve continuous union with god in the midst of  a busy modern life. Yet this life and mankind’s bobbles and delusions separate me from god. Their distractions pull me under into unconscious states. Their lures seek purchase on my time and attention, seeking to fill all my days with mundane nightmares.

I am in the world. I am of it. Yet my soul seeks desperately to be free. It wishes to retreat to the margins of society and empire. It seeks a primitive life at the mercy of god’s grace. It seeks the immediacy of the real and abhors the artifice of the man made. It swells in my chest and beats at my brow, yearning to be set free.

This Moment is Perfect

I suppose it all comes down to the simple teaching, “This moment is perfect.” This moment is the culmination of the universe’s unfolding. This moment is exactly what the universe needed at this very moment, in all its beauty, tragedy, delights, and disappointments.

We resist this present moment when it is not what we would prefer. We project our will onto the world and take actions to realize our vision of what should be. When our will for the world is thwarted, we may either accept the outcome as god’s will or resist the present moment because it is not what we prefer. When we live in resistance to what is we feel discomfort, because we are resisting the flow of the universe that has already swept us up.

That is the basic concept and teaching as I understand it. Though on a superficial level, this teaching may be construed as encouraging passivity, it in truth is a teaching about internal liberation from attachment to outcome. The core premise/article of faith is that the universe is flowing inevitably towards its highest good. We seek to serve others and our god, which is love, as we apply our will to the present moment to shift the universal flow and unfolding. Sometimes our will is one with that of the universe and we get our way. Other times, we are out of tune with the universal flow of love and wisdom, and the universe flows in and unexpected way. To prefer our will to what is, would be to prefer a reality that does not serve the highest good. It doesn’t mean we give up, it just means we have an opportunity to learn something more of the ways of love and wisdom, and resume our work with finer attunement and greater understanding.

Much of my practice at the moment revolves around being an empty servant of all. When I am disappointed by the present moment or in resistance to it, I surmise that I am out of attunement with god. But as I become more empty/free of self seeking desires, I find I am more and more merely the instrument of god. Which is all I wish to be. As such, I point my will towards love and my mind towards wisdom, and allow myself to be moved. I feel the vibrations of possibilities, and try to flow into the highest one with the quickest stream; offering that within me which wishes to be born. Trusting that what wants to be born from within me is what is needed, regardless of outcome.

Practically speaking, this means sometimes feeling into the vibration of certain situations and recognizing I can be of no service. It means finding the pressure points, where the flow of my energy may be joined with that of the universe for the highest good. Where is my excitement? Where does the energy flowing through me wish to flow? What is supported, what is not? Where am I in flow, where am I in resistance to what wants to be?

Sanctification: A Love Story

Sanctification is not about self-denial. It is a love story. It is about falling in love with the deepest and truest aspect of our being. It is about falling in love with god. After that, everything that separates us from god simply starts falling away. Sanctity does not require us to deny anything. It asks us only for our attention. It asks only that we love god and our neighbor more than ourself. Sanctity does not call us to self denial, it calls us to be the truest version of ourselves. It calls us to ignore distractions and shed our false self.

Self Revelation

Self revelation is the first step to knowing god. Only when we accept and acknowledge all of our little “I ams” are we able to begin to understand the great “I AM” that is all things. Loving, knowing, and accepting the self is our first initiation into loving, knowing, and accepting god. As long as we reject or fail to acknowledge those aspects of ourselves that cause us shame, embarrassment, or pain, we reject and fail to acknowledge our own particular manifestation of divinity. The only way to enter into communion with infinity is through our own finite beings. As long as our discomfort, fear, and lack of self-worth blind us to the totality of our being, god will remain hidden.

Poverty of the Soul

My karma predisposes me towards asceticism. That may have been a virtue in a different culture and age, but in this world it has made me a slave. I grew up poor, in a poor community, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I have never prioritized pleasure or happiness, because I was taught those were luxuries we could not afford. That fidelity to joyless duty has followed me into the middle class, and along my spiritual journey.

Even after awakening to my true nature as an infinite being of love and bliss, I have remained in some ways impoverished. I have passively accepted things that serve neither my happiness nor that of others. I have retreated into inward bliss, as the inertia of a middle class life set in motion before my awakening consumes most of my time with things that serve a life I do not desire.

This world rewards those who doggedly pursue their desires to the exclusion of all else, no matter how misguided. I have seldom had strong desires beyond my desire for union with god. Before awakening I did not know yet what I sought. So I set about building a safe middle class life designed to alleviate the condition of material deprivation.

Then within months of starting that middle class life, I awakened to my true nature, and realized the worst poverty is that of the soul. I now wistfully reflect on the freedom of that materially impoverished child from the mountains. He wanted to seek god, but had no one to show him the way. I now know the way, but have less physical freedom than ever before. How long will I continue serving a middle class life designed to alleviate a poverty I no longer fear?

Inward Regression or Outward Reform

Though I have undergone drastic internal transformation since my awakening, the external aspects of my life have been more resistant to change. Each year brings gradual reform to my habits, circumstances, and outward identity. But the outward circumstances of my life are ever lagging behind who my soul is calling me to be.

Since 2011 I have changed political affiliations, cities, jobs, adopted a daily meditation practice, become a vegetarian, and have found spiritual community. There are many other outward changes I might list, but these are a few that stick out. What is most notable about these changes is that all of them have slowly been moving me towards a more loving and peaceful way of being in the world.

Over the years I have come to see a decided pattern to these periods of change. Each major change is preceded by a prolonged period of discomfort and unhappiness. A circumstance or habit simply has to become unbearable to my soul, until finally, I reach a point where I must choose between inward regression or outward reform.

I am still moving toward a more perfect alignment between my soul and outward circumstances. But as I become more inwardly peaceful, I have become more acutely aware of those places in my life of tension, discomfort, and unhappiness. I know what makes me happy and what does not, and I know the direction I need to move in, if not the destination.

Upon Finding God

Upon finding god it is hard to misplace him. I have found him in grand old churches with high steeples, steeped in history and traditions. I have found him in new age circles of those seeking a transcendent mystery they dare not name. I have found him in the forest, where the mountain lion hunts the deer, and the oak tree gently sways. I have found him in all these places and more. Upon finding god there is no escaping him.

Love Requires the Community of Lovers

Love requires the community of lovers. Alone it shrivels and dies. Perhaps some rare saints and perfect beings can love in the absence of love. But I am not a perfect being. Alone, my heart grows heavy then numb. In the community of lovelessness, I become loveless.

Love requires the community of lovers to stay alive in my heart. It needs gurus of love, who exemplify vulnerability, giving without expectation of return, and abundance. I can rely neither on god nor my own efforts to learn the lessons of love.

Much has been given to me by grace and self-discipline, but my heart requires the community of lovers. Truly, love cannot be learned from god nor the inward directed gaze alone. It must be received from your fellow beings, then freely given, without expectation of return.

Emergence from Retreat

I spent this past weekend in Asheville at a spiritual retreat with soulmates. These retreats are rare, and only occur once or twice a year; but the light gained always prompts transformation, healing, and opening of my heart. I see in these moments of retreat the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible. I also see within myself the more beautiful version of myself that is possible.

It is a place where people look one another in the eyes, and enter into silent communion for moments, minutes, or for a period outside of the reckoning of time. There are no perfect beings there, but each being is striving earnestly to be a more perfect and loving version of themselves. There is magic in the air when one or more gather in his name.

My heart seems to have grown three sizes over the weekend, and god’s peace and bliss seems more firmly rooted in my being. But already I find a world and life out of alignment with love and peace chipping away at those gifts. A hectic schedule and stressful job demand that my time, energy, and attention be expended on things that do not serve me or others. People have stopped looking me in the eyes and sharing their souls. The suffering world, that has not yet identified the source of its suffering, lashes out at me in pain.

All these things separate me from god, my soul, and my peace. Is it my duty to forsake them, or try to share some of the peace and love I have found, before it is gone? I know the answer is out there, but I doubt my courage to know.

Fear is the Absence of Love

After my awakening my heart opened, and I was raptured with divine bliss. But while the bliss has never left me, my heart almost immediately began its retreat. I awakened to a life built by a self that did not know love, that could not understand it or believe that such a thing existed as a real force in the world. It was an unconscious and loveless life, and my newly awakened heart was horrified by what it found.

I knew that embodied love could not live the life I was living. Love demanded I change everything about my life at once to serve god and my fellow beings. Love asked me to forsake my identity, my profession, my ambitions, and all my preconceptions about the world. Love demanded that I die completely to myself – and I feared death.

So my heart retreated, but did not close. It stayed open just as much as my life could bear. Like a candle in the night it continued to burn, illuminating those things that were loveless and wrong, and calling me to change them. First it illuminated my violent and selfish thoughts. Then it came for my careless and loveless actions. One by one, on and on, it has illuminated my sins and called me towards conversion.

I have changed much over the years, and have shifted many things about how I choose to be in the world. But many loveless circumstances remain that are informed by major life decisions undertaken by my former self. I brush up against those circumstances with love, and try to shift or transform them. But I fall short of rejecting or abandoning them outright.

So I allow them to do violence to my heart, because I fear letting them go. I hold onto an identity that is no longer true, a profession that does not serve me or others, and remain attached to habits, big and small, that separate me from god and others. Truly, fear is the absence of love.