After three years here at Weebly I am moving my content from here to - http://duanetownsend.hubpages.com/
Please go to the link above and 'follow me' there...read the content that is already published, and please leave me some feedback.
My weebly experience has been enjoyable, fruitful and one of growth. I thank you for reading my thoughts here, and I sincerely hope you'll read me at HubPages.
One Love...Duane Townsend
“Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.” ~ Vera Nazarian
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” ~ Meister Eckhart
January 1, 2015 will be no different than December 31, 2014...or August 10, 2013 or April 18, 2011; unless, we do something different. There is nothing magical that will happen when the clock turns to midnight. The zeitgeist of our times is not on a schedule. As a very wise supervisor once told us in a meeting: "we are not time oriented around here, we are task oriented."
I believe such is the state of human conscious evolution. There are no set dates, deadlines, or timelines that determine human events. The trajectory of humankind modifies as a result of conscious acts , fueled by passionate intent.
We all know the insecure state that we exist in now. Too many people are one paycheck, or illness, or pink slip, from destitution.
We all know that we are one disastrous weather event from homelessness. Environmental calamity is imminent anywhere, or everywhere, economic collapse is closer than anyone, including myself, is willing to admit. Racial conflict, hate mongers impiously spit venom, corporations own governments, and the people are voiceless, the rich and celebrities are worshiped like gods of the Greek pantheon.
On the surface, humanity looks to be in a sad state, teetering on the brink.
But bubbling up from the sub-conscious of collective humanity is a remembering. We are not barreling down rickety tracks on a run-away train, it just looks like that. Each one of us, personally, individually can contribute to slowing the train down enough to jump off. We're remembering that the engine is fueled by our consent, our co-operation...the more we blindly accept, co-operate against our own conscience, compassion, dignity, and our own best interests, the more the train is fueled and accelerates.
For the coming new year, I would like to offer three simple, yet transformative acts that will get into the collective consciousness of humanity. Acts that will switch the train to a sturdier track, away from the hairpin curves at harrowing speed.
Even small, personal, singular actions have a butterfly effect on the whole of human consciousness.
1.) Help someone this year coming, in a way that puts you out, in a way that takes you out of your comfort zone. I'm not talking about a family member or friend, that's too commonly easy. I mean help a complete stranger that could never return the favor. Don't go the extra mile, go the whole distance with them. Don't worry about finding the opportunity, that will present itself when you decide to do this; I assure you. You've been unconsciously walking or driving by the opportunity to do this all the time.
One of the major benefits of something like this is the re-emergence of trust.
2.) You'll be buying gifts this year. Birthdays, anniversaries, husband or wife 'just because' gifts. Find a local crafts-person or artist and buy something to gift from them. This takes money out of the corporate machine and puts it directly into the pocket of a real person.
Make a concerted effort to donate whenever possible to your favorite blogger, or someone working diligently to raise the consciousness of humanity. Not someone espousing a political cause or ideology, our solutions are past politics now. I mean someone simply doing the thankless job of helping humanity be reminded of it's better nature.
Your support of them (us) is invaluable.
On the left side of this page are some links to sites that would appreciate your reading, viewing and supporting if at all possible.
3.) Consciously let go of EVERYTHING that you think you know. That is the only way to learn something new, to see things in a new way. Nothing transformational ever happened with the same beliefs we always held. New things happen when we start thinking and seeing in new ways. So relax your grip on your knowledge, knowledge changes all the time, what was true one day will not be true on another day. Be intellectually fluid...use your gut feelings more, let your heart decide some things.
There is nothing wrong with 'logic', unless you use logic in a narrow, unyielding manner.
Walk around with these suggestions. If one, or all, sits comfortably with you, please act.
Talking about it time is over, the time of talk was necessary...now is the walking it out time.
Have a happy, passionate, unprecedented 2015.
Be the Love,
“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.” ~ Buckminster Fuller
Please join me in imagining origins and endings for a while.
Was there ever a time when the universe did not exist?
Is there a coming time when all physical existence ends, for everything?
Let us creatively imagine. Creative imagination is like wandering into virgin forest, or sailing uncharted waters. Let us work our imaginative visionary muscles for a while. Let us look over the walls of accepted knowledge and conventional doctrines, let our minds off the leash to run in the park. Our jumping off point will be what we presume to know, what science had told us, and what religion has hinted at. We will color the blank spots in those beliefs with creative perception. So, please join me as I wander into the most fundamental mystery mankind has ever known.
The possibility that the universe has always existed, that there was never a time when the cosmos was not physically manifest. Let us ponder outside the boxed in polarities of science and the 'big bang', and religion and the 'let there be light' assertions. Suppose it's neither? Suppose it's both?
The individual human mind is a finite quantity, it seems to be hard wired for limited experiences; birth-death, beginnings-endings, comings-goings. The individual mind operates on duality, polarities, and seems to see its own existence as an event, a circumstance, a temporary experience, and even at that, humans will never use our whole personal mental capacity.
Some of us can envision and experience the universe as an infinite process that flourishes in time, and outside of the constraints of time.. As an eternal, timeless space of experience. The earth formed and will one day be gone. The sun formed and one day it will explode into a cinder and take our solar system with it. But what about the space those celestial bodies inhabit?
Space is not empty
Here in time, and three dimensions that which is called 'space' is experienced as an emptiness, a vast nothingness. It is erroneously called 'a vacuum'.
The physical universe, even if we could see all of it, is only about five percent of what we could call 'normal matter'. Seventy percent is called 'dark energy' and about twenty five percent is 'dark matter'.
Nasa.gov says about dark energy - "More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery."
About dark matter Nasa states - "We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. . ."
Perhaps the five percent of the 'normal' physical universe that we experience through our limited human senses and various instruments is the product of eternal, infinite dark energy. What if there were no actual 'big bang'?
What if physical, common matter simply emerges, or precipitates, or evolves out of dark energy and matter?
What if it is our limited intellectual, and sense capacity that hinders our experience of the whole universe?
What if this 'expansion of the universe' is reflective of our expansion of consciousness?
Can you hold a vision of a time when there was literally nothing, no-thing?
If you're a theist (god created all), then isn't god something?
If you're a big banger (purely science based), if there was a 'big bang', then what was it that went boom?
Science speaks of 'the singularity', isn't that singularity a thing, something?
Was there ever a time when 'consciousness' did not exist?
Did the emergence of matter birth consciousness, or was it the other way around?
I'm simply asking...remember we're imagining here.
Time is a polarized concept. Past and future, with the present totally dependent on a point in time and place in space. All perceptions of the human mind that experiences itself as separate can only be seen through the prism of the limited time and space context. When one endeavors to see past their individual mind, to make the effort to imagine what universal vision feels like, then one begins to experience their self, and the universe as an infinitely evolving organism. A magnificent, living, breathing consciousness that experiences itself as galaxies, stars, comets, planets and US. Time and place in space becomes little more than a narrowly defined experience, albeit a meaningful experience, but nevertheless, a miniscule peek-hole look into the wonder of the whole.
There is a universal conscious mind that was never 'created', and always existed. It is known by many names: God to theists, 'the singularity' by materialists, and the nature of its being is literally incomprehensible. It is what the ancient mystics call - 'the ground of Being'. Everything that 'is', grows from the fertile soil of this ground of Being. So as you ponder the delicate flower that is your life; gaze down (inward) occasionally and behold the ground your stalk emerges from...ponder the roots buried in that ground of Being. Appreciate the eternal, ethereal nutrients that feed your Beingness. You didn't just happen...You always were; I AM.
Thank you for imagining with me.
“Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites; Like and unlike are the same: Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; Extremes meet; All truths, are but half-truths; All paradoxes may be reconciled.” Hermes-Thoth
Alchemy is reconciling polarities, melding seeming dualistic elements into higher expressions of their former selves. Alchemy uses the non-physical to infuse the physical, and vice-versa. It is a melding of the unseen energetic elements of nature with the observable, tangible, material experience of our lives.
The esoteric science/art of Alchemy is referred to as divine chemistry.
Much of life is learning from, and embracing the inherent contradictions, turning the seeming contradictory base elements, into the proverbial precious metal (gold) of understanding. Yes...Alchemy is the practice of the trans- formative experience, the transformation is inward. This is the 'transmutation of the soul'. Applying the vitality of the soul to the daily experience of living.
Most people erroneously think Alchemy solely refers to the transmutation of material base metals into gold. That is the lesser work. This is not to diminish the significance of the material expression in relation to its energetic mirror reflection. One is not possible without the other. To see a reflection in a mirror, there needs to be a physical presence. The arbiter of object and reflected image, is the soul.
For example, the beautiful woman that avoids mirrors because she is dissatisfied with the reflected image of herself, and conversely, the awkward appearing woman that emotes a conscious presence of grace and beauty. The former woman is only seeing herself with the critical eye of others, while the latter woman is experiencing herself from inside out...her soul is her beauty.
The great work is of the soul, applying the soul to transmute ones life experience from the metaphorical base metal like lead, into gold. To be re-minded of the eternal nature of life, past the temporary nature of the physical, material body. That living through this human body is a temporary experience of an eternal conscious Presence..."As Above, So Below"
When applying alchemical practices to ones life; one must be mindful of the 'Seven Hermetic Principles', which are as follows...
None of the Hermetic principles are more essential than any other. Each is a portal to understanding the whole. All must be mindfully considered when engaging in the greater work of soul transmutation. The patriarchal version of Judeo-Christian cosmology, including Islam; pre-empted the nature and character of humanity's relationship to the unknowable divine source, these patriarchal beliefs diminished the feminine, material aspect of nature in favor of a masculine, authoritative 'creator God'.
Alchemy is attributed to the Egyptian deity Thoth. Thoth's feminine consort was Ma-at. They were equal in every sense. When the Greeks assimilated Egyptian culture into their own, they adopted Thoth, changing his name to Hermes, but they left out the feminine aspect of Ma-at.
Thus patriarchal European religion and in turn government and culture became male dominated. Greece being the progenitor to Rome, and the European dominated culture and religion that the world has experienced for over six hundred years.
The feminine principle was relegated to servitude and obedience.
Hence the Judeo-Christian hierarchy became 'God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit.
The Alchemical trinity was -
"Man, in their eyes, is a trinity, which they divide into Sol [salt], water of mercury, and sulphur, which is the secret fire, or to speak plain, into body, soul, and spirit....Man is the philosopher's stone spiritually—"a triune or trinity in unity," as Philalethes expresses it. (Isis Unveiled, I, 309)
"Thus Salt refers to the physical form or body, Mercury symbolizes the soul, while Sulphur represents the Spirit."
*Mercury here refers to the astrological, not the metallurgical.
*Note - When the term 'Man' is capitalized it is not gender specific. Man means 'mankind', man in the lower-case man means male.
Alchemy is a spiritual art, a divine secret science. While the literal transmutation of base metals into gold is possible; that is not the purpose of Alchemy. Manley Hall states - " . . . one of the great early alchemists says that one of the great tragedies in the concept of alchemy was the transmutation of metals. . .Paracelsus points out that the transmutation of metals is impossible unless the alchemist himself was in the process of transformation".
Transmutation of the soul denotes the soul transmuting the material experience of this life. Part of the conscious, paradigm shift on this planet is humanity moving past left brained, materialist, commercially based science. Humanity is remembering the esoteric aspect of living...the divine conscious assimilation of the masculine and feminine, which is alchemically referred to as generation and polarity...the correspondence, vibrational and rhymthic principles, and the aspects of cause and effect that is all tied to together by mind, not the singular individual mind; but the Universal mind...the conscious mind that permeates everything seen and unseen in the universe. Tangible matter, and the unseen, non-tangible 'dark' matter.
One outstanding alchemical practice that I have discovered is cooking and eating. Ponder the alchemical properties of the food you're preparing, and make the preparation a meditation, do it with Presence...seek to smell new scents in foods you thought you knew, feel it, touch for new experience in the texture...make it a sensual experience, really feel it. Let your soul transmute the cooking and eating experience.
In subsequent writings I want to explore medicinal alchemy. For now I will let this introduction suffice. I thank you for exploring this life science with me.
Faith is an intellectual aid for not knowing, an accepted belief that lacks the deeper illumination of the direct experience. Knowing only comes from experience.
Any true Love you've ever experienced is a knowing of 'God', not just romantic love, anything, or situation, or person that you've accepted unconditionally, seeing their imperfections but not focusing on those. Expand on that to loving all things and everyone, whether you 'like' them or not. The journey to that transcended way of being requires radical forgiveness; what? you thought this was easy?
Start by forgiving yourself, not excusing yourself; not transferring responsibility to another person or circumstance, but really forgiving yourself. Chalk up your transgressions against yourself and others to simply not knowing any better. Now work outward; forgiving your family and friends and then the world. The forgiveness journey can be cathartic, emotionally draining (a good thing), and personally irritating as hell, but it's also liberating in a way you've never experienced before.
Don't think this journey is something you can get done on a weekend. This journey will literally take years according to what you've done to yourself and others, but don't worry, it's a Love journey and Love will be with you every step of the way. Now you're really knowing Love...Love is much more than surface affections, butterflies and rainbows. Love is sometimes a day by day sledge hammer rock busting to reveal your true self buried in the stone. We are self created human beings...but some of us have let regrets, grudges and injuries do the sculpting, actually we all have. Do not even think of trying to forgive another person if you haven't begun your self forgiveness journey...Scan your memory...that recollection of yourself that makes you cringe? That's a good place to start. Don't worry about how to do this...when the student is ready the teacher will appear, a teacher who has always been there waiting for you to show up. Most times the teacher is found in the silence of your being, check there first.
Note how your life experience changes, you'll see things you've never seen before because you're looking with integrity from your heart, not just your mind.
I wrote this to myself
". . .And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you, but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but love builds. Knowledge is full of labor, but love, full of rest." ~ William Johnston, from the Cloud of Unknowing: And the Book of Privy Counseling
Preconceived ideas often cloud our experience of the absolute. We often miss the truth of our spiritual journey because we're blinded by our own self-induced, myopic images of what the spiritual journey should look, feel or be like. We become so fixated on the form...the image...the mode of our seeking that we miss the fullness of the experience of the divine. We miss the Presence that is always there. There comes a time when the dedicated, persistently devoted pursuit of Spirit becomes the very thing that blinds us to the wholeness. Every journey requires a season of agnosticism...a sacred withdrawal from all that you think you're sure of. A time when we're under the Cloud of Unknowing.
'The Cloud of Unknowing' is a fourteenth century book of anonymously published writings by a Christian mystic that called himself Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
It is generally believed that The Cloud of. . . was originally written around 500AD. The work was published by a group of English mystics in the late fourteenth century.
Personally, I'm of the impression that the teachings in The Cloud of Unknowing were not generally circulated at the time of its publication. Much of the general public were not readers, and they were not encouraged to seek outside of the teachings of their parish priest. Most were discouraged from even owning bibles. The intentionally made ignorant public was not trusted to interpret the bible for their own understanding.
The Cloud of. . .is a mystical teaching couched in old middle English that guides one to the experience of 'God' within. The authoritarian church of that time frowned upon those seeking their own experience. The church was heavily invested in being the sole arbiter between humankind and God.
Contemplative prayer is the main theme of The Cloud of Unknowing. Contemplative prayer is described as -
"Contemplative Prayer differs from Christian prayer in that the intent of the technique is to bring the practitioner to the center of his own being. There he is, supposedly, to experience the presence of the God who indwells him. Christian prayer, on the contrary, centers upon God in a relational way, as an independent power apart from oneself but realized intimately through the Holy Spirit. The confusion of this technique with Christian practitioners arises from a misunderstanding of the indwelling of God. The fact that God indwells us does not mean that we can capture his presence by mental techniques. Nor does it mean that we are identical with him in our deepest self as gods. Rather, the Creator God indwells us by grace that does not blend human effort and His divine presence." ~ (Source)
You will note that even today, the writer of the quote is derisive of a personal in-knowing of 'God', of contemplative prayer or the notion that 'God' can be known and experienced in oneself, as oneself and others. That 'God' is less something 'out there' and more an experience of the heart, a personal experience.
Contemplative prayer, also known in the Christian mystic tradition as 'centering prayer' shares a common origin with all of the ancient mystical teachings. Jesus in the desert, Moses on the mountain, Muhammad in the cave and Buddha under the Bodhi tree; all passed through the cloud of unknowing. This is not a doubting of a transcendent Spirit. It is a setting aside of everything one presumes to know about what this transcendent spirit must be like. Letting go of all intellectualized facsimiles that block our direct inner experience of the divine in us.
" 'The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life. Your memories, your attachments. They burn 'em all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul.' Relax. Good. So the way he sees it, if you're frigh"tened of dyin' and you're holdin' on, you'll see devils tearin' your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freein' you from the earth. It's just a matter of how you look at it, that's all." ~ Meister Eckart (paraphrased from Louis in the movie Jacob's Ladder)
The same can be applied to living, especially our spiritual lives. But instead of death, the fear is of straying from the familiar. Clinging to old ideas, stories and traditions. Worshiping old books and dead people. Not envisioning that which we call "God' as a living breathing Presence in us...but as an old, far away, idolized father that we can never please.
Rumi says -
The inner consciousness
of the saint
is the true mosque
where all should worship,
God lives there.
Meditation is not contemplative prayer, meditation is the road one takes to contemplative, centering prayer. Contemplative prayer is articulated silently within the Presence. It is unmistakable when one achieves the contemplative center of the spiritual practice...Yoga, Tai Chi, Sufi whirling dances, breath techniques and reciting mantras among other practices are also roads to the contemplative centered knowing of the "God' in you. Where all ideas, icons and idols crumble before the sacred authentic you. The you that you've relegated to the basement of your heart...yet your authentic Self whispers from the heart cellar..."Be still and Know"
"It is tragic how few people ever ‘possess their souls’ before they die… Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation..." ~ Oscar Wilde
Maybe the most persistent tragedy of this age is the unfortunate human habit of seeking our validation, our identity...the resolution of our characters from outside of ourselves. Looking to authority figures, religion or ideologies, the passed down beliefs of others and accepting those as definitions of ourselves. This reality has made humans easily manageable as a whole.
There is a definite reason that ancient mystics, shamans, artists, genuine free thinkers and devoted seekers of the Spirit have for the most part existed on the outside of society. Society and the culture that rules it operates in a rigid conformist mindset. A carrot and stick consumerist system that rewards laboring for your external 'needs' which are never really satisfied, because for the most part you get a bill for them every month, that creates a type of insecurity. A religious system that further feeds that insecurity in a more personal manner with the fundamental idea that you are guilty for being born, and you need salvation. That salvation entails dutifully working 'for your living' and obeying restrictive religious doctrine that over time pilfers your creative soul, robs you of imagination and sense of wonder. You lose your Presence, you forget who you are. Your core identity becomes as a consumer (you are what you own), a citizen...a job title, a political, racial, or religious label and you relate to others in the same manner. They aren't seen as human reflections of yourself. Your ego labels them either friend of foe according to their stated beliefs and adopted labels.
"The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around, the real you is the whole universe" ~ Alan Watts
This realization is more a remembrance, although it can feel like an epiphany. When one realizes that their occupation or religious/political affiliation, their family status or any other culturally imposed label is not the whole of their self-hood. Yes, many people live their lives and die without realizing the true depth of their being-ness. But we're starting to get reflections from others, mystics ancient and mystics present now, of the deeper reality of human being-ness. Some call it 'Universal Consciousness', some call it 'God within', some call it 'enlightenment' or 'Spiritual awakening'. No matter what it's called, the experience of that remembrance is comparable and profound.
The remembrance that we are the conscious presence of the whole universe experiencing itself as us, we as individuated conscious beings are focal points of universal experience. The surface level of this experience are the five physical senses. There are deeper sensual perceptions commonly known as our 'intuitive' senses, the 'gut feeling', the knowing without knowing how you know. This is called by the mystics -The Presence. Ancient mystic traditions term this Samādhi, the unification of the knower and the known, the deep merging of the experience and the One that experiences. This is what spiritual seekers call - Oneness. You are everything and no-thing. You are everywhere and no-where. One with the conscious Presence of creation, the conscious presence of creation that always existed, has no beginning or end, it is always I AM, there was never 'a time' that this Presence was not; I AM. This is the eternal, this Presence exists in this time and outside of time, and it exists in YOU, as you.
Your name is simply something you answer to. Your job or profession is simply something you do for a living. Your religion is simply a story you believe. Your politics are simply imposed values that you adopted. None of the above are your identity. Those and other labels are adopted masks we use the play the game of life here in four dimensions on earth.
Take some time out, drop your adopted identities for a while...get silent...close your eyes and feel your breathing process. You may even get still enough to feel your heart beat, the rhythm of the heartbeat...observe it with a sense of wonder. Let the eternal I AM Presence be known in you. It's okay to drop all your masks for a while and simply be. You won't think yourself into Presence, you feel your way there. It is not an emotion...it is a subtle sublimity that is unmistakable and unforgettable.
This link is a guide to meditative practice and silent stillness.
Be the Love,