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Everything posted by sirguessalot

  1. My guess...the first "death" is referring to what we call "childbirth"...and the "second death" is referring to what we call death. To "die before you die" is the gist of a common invitation at the root of all good religion...an invitation to practice silence and stillness as a minimum foundation for service. Radical periods of silence and stillness are the most direct and "effortless" way to "taste death and live". Short of that...injury, illness, being near death or simply aging, tend to force us into such deeper layers of self-discovery. The adult religious folks who miss this are the ones who cause trouble....reacting out of some sort of premature terror. But same goes for the doctors, scientists, and other adults in charge. To be made whole by contemplating our "second death" (which we simply call death) is to be prepared to be "born again." To see our inevitable death as a second birth prepares us for our final spiritual experience in this life. It also prepares us to serve and be in fellowship with those who are ill, injured, aging and dying. We taste the same states in order to relate. This is a baptism of fire. It hurts. Period. This is key practice to stimulate things like longevity, wisdom, love and sanity.
  2. i was under the impression that "the apocalypse" was the only one written "by" Jesus. haha
  3. Seems to me that in the seasonality of life, autumn arrives for everyone who lives to see it. The midpoint of life is a "God-given" rite of passage into deeper reflection. We have never had as many elbows in our road to reflect on as we do now. With this comes a season of regrets. A season of noticing patterns. A season of humiliations. A season of beginning to reap what we’ve sown...even if we didn’t know what we were sowing. Some have called it a “Wilderness Stage.” The way we respond to this varies, but a common response is fight or flight. It is also a strong invitation to enter that wilderness and change the way we see our selves in the world…again. Maybe even prepare for winter. Where words like redemption and atonement become useful again. We spend the entire second half of life healing (or not) from all the damage of the first half…physically too. But if we are to turn lead into gold to some greater degree in this life...this is when it naturally begins. Harder to start in winter. Sadly, much of society and culture seems mostly geared to eternal summer and spring til the end. Very little to support or prepare for the shifts of the second half. “Permission to transform/grow up” does not come cheap, if at all. Especially when the grown-ups in control are neither. I thank God these forces (the seasonalities and such) seem stronger than society or culture. So we find our way through the seasons anyway. As if “God springs forth in a desert.” … Anyway, here is what I remember from an old “Spiritual Geographying” exercise I learned: Be still. Breath. Simply note the 3 worst times of your life and the 3 best times of your life (or 5 or more of both depending on age). Reflect. Notice the relationships. Some share it with everyone. Some share it with a friend. Some share it with God alone. That sort of thing.
  4. to add...most of my conversations/encounters occur in dreams or meditative states. some of the most profound and vivid experiences happened while practicing guided visualizations specifically designed to help dying people talk to those who passed before them...as a way to help them die well. in fact, such dreams and encounters naturally increase as we near our own death...thus, the practices.
  5. i certainly do, E i've not only experienced very "haunted" conditions, but have studied all manner of such things in the context of end-of-life care. i am quite convinced that relationships do not end with the death of the human body, and our capacity to have those conversations is neither supernatural nor strange, but rather extra-ordinary and quite simple. Healthy and sane, even. Overall, i'm mostly with Roy on all this. Death may be more like birth than we realize. Most of us typically came out screaming bloody murder the first time, too. Natural misunderstanding.
  6. Thanks for that, Steve. For me, any more...any demand that "you must say it this way" or that way...any deathgrip on words like that seems like the result of a very early stage of human faith. What can be described as magical and mythical faith involves a dependence on the "supernatural" power of specific words and sayings and stories (even holy canons)...mistaking the finger for the moon. Such mistakes even occurs in secular contexts. When someone says "that is not (fill in supernatural myth or story), it is really just the moon. Which is made up of ___ and ___, etc...". What we call the moon (and the things it is made of) existed long before we called it the moon, let alone any other name in any other language. likewise, perhaps the one we call Jesus Christ has a name that is above all names. And we also have names that are beyond all names. And it is not that we will ever find "the right name"...but that the actual shape of things IS the name. NO words required. Although once we get this. we are free to use language without being enslaved by it. What about the Word of God? Could it be referring to the actual universe (which includes the Bible)?
  7. seems like a regular enough topic that we keep revisiting here to call it important. vital. sacred. whatever. like a fire that will not go out. just keeps smoldering. maybe the smoke is like a prayer in God's nostrils. i'll offer another ember. i agree with the types of monks and nuns who cared for the ill and dying throughout the histories of hospital and hospice...that unforgiveness is a type of suffering. or spiritual pain, if you will. like an inner illness or dis-ease. and it tends to really heat up and glow as we near the end of this life...whatever unforgiveness remains. it is not that we decide to forgive or not to forgive, but more like we are kinda stuck with the pain of unforgiveness and are lucky or blessed to find our way to the other side of it. if violence, injustice and crime impacts us like an injury against our will...perhaps our unforgiveness is more like the result of a wound. even if we imagine or exaggerate the "sin"...the suffering of not being able to forgive is felt. even practicing forgiveness is no guarantee that we find it..though it does make us more accident prone to fall into such radical grace. so yes, of course we do well to forgive...i pray we experience such mercy. sometimes i wonder...does "the unforgiveable sin" Jesus spoke of have something to do with the pain of unforgiveness? (apologies for all the resent emails from all my edits...i think i'm done)
  8. Supernumerary Rainbow...Oh...My..God! :B) you mean the illusions are true? :blink:
  9. yep, abundant honor to that which we think is less honorable. like how a valuable way to see the health of a thing is to look at the waste. and how it can be said that the seat and root of all spiritual practice is the arse. :B) one of my favorite ways to describe things like psychological shadow-work and dream-work is "processing crap" i post this as an avid composter and fan of all things alchemical.
  10. Catnip is quite friendly to people too.
  11. ive never been able to agree with your strategies on all this, sudo. you seem to avoid the majority of data and gobs of direct experience. not likely to perform a wide range of injunctions to test the theories you reject. yada yada. but i do respect your right to kvetch and crusade about a thing in hypertext. you obviously feel its important. good luck. regarding the "soul"...it may be that there need not be some sort of psychological or biological pathology or imbalance to start noticing the countless voices within each of us. it seems more like a natural outcome of the human experience. already happening in each of us. i would go as far as to suggest that the first century "tongues" experience may have involved practices of accessing this inner "burning bush" via voice dialogue as a form of healing art during a revolutionary reawakening of jewish healing arts. also, dreaming is a nightly baptism in the psyche. and dreaming practices make us accident prone to wake up more in the dream and interact more effectively with the contents of the dream. some say that dreams are not real. if not, than what is it? some say that dreams are not important. if not, than why does the body keep doing it? subjective sciences. i dare ya. regarding haunted houses and the afterlife and such...its too late for me not to remain an enchanted agnostic about it. i dont hold it against those who deny the existence or validity of this ongoing occurance wide range of exotic phenomenon such as this. but i can suggest that one is more than just kvetching, you may do well "put to your money where there mouth is" and actively go there...seek it...do it.
  12. wow, e. what a gift. off topic...i suscribe to a board game blog written by an Erik Arneson on about.com. I often wonder if he is related.
  13. yep. yep. yep. :) and thanks for telling. what a beautiful house. inspired me to riff a sec... nightmares seem like the most helpful kinds of dreams. practicing dreaming to engage them more clearly and memorably helps even more. lucid dreaming even more. like lightning a menorah to illuminate the darkest corners of our house. consciously talking to voices of the self. wrestling with our shadow is another important kind of dream. like jacob's. "love your enemy." it is also not uncommon for the body to be telling us about health issues using people and things in dreams. and dreams only become more and more significant and full as we age. more vivid and meaningful. Peter said "old men shall dream dreams"...why? had they forgotten or something? a culture of superstition that fears the arts of dreaming well probably embeds the insanity it claims to heal. one of the richest legacies of judeo-christian life and history is the dreaming arts.
  14. funny. many of the kid and adult players i knew picked "chaotic evil" for their character alignment. and many of them actually played that way. "hack and slash"...like many of the popular video games today. as the game master i liked to play the good aligned monsters to either thwart or help them. the monster manual template even helped me design my own pantheon of angels. children playing God using game theory...go figure. gee, thanks Asimov and Tolkien.
  15. this thread is gettin rich...i was a dungeon master long before i was a twiggie...the original monster manual had entire pantheons of demons (chaotic evil) and devils (lawful evil) but no angels...although it included a few good aligned spirit beings...like sphinxes. ... one of the last word studies i did before parting with twi was on some KJV NT occurance of "superstition"...something-daimonia in greek...meant "fear of demons" or something something clicked and i saw the superstition in twi. nowadays i see the histories of psychology and consciousness in bible stories about demons...so i use various types of meditation, prayer, dreaming practices and jungian shadow-work to illuminate the hidden archetypes of my own soul. there are notions in hospice education that caregivers ought to prioritize the contemplation of the inner life as a way to make peace with your demons/devils/shadows whatever. its almost like a complete reversal of superstition...where instead of fighting or fleeing demon enemies, you invite them to dance. we seek a transformation of lead into gold. likewise with suffering...instead of fighting or fleeing the flames...we learn to walk in the fire.
  16. i could probably elaborate a bit better if i knew something about which parts you didnt understand, e. but i will try to restate a few things anyway. im basically stating that i think there are two basic ways we can look at "spirit" experiences: 1) as entities in the universe 2) as aspects of the human psyche. and that i think there are wide varieties (exotic, like in nature) of both. and i think both are valid and important. ive experienced the entities, and ive experienced the powerful voices of the soul. i feel that the voices of the soul are not only more common, but higher priority for each of us. any of this help?
  17. i dont doubt the existence of an exotic array of spirits as entities in the universe...i cant help but assume this any more. i find it valid to classify them as good and evil in relative terms only, but not absolute. i also dont doubt the existence of an exotic array of spirits as voices in our minds hearts and bodies. Any given soul has choirs of choirs of angels singing inside at all times. Sometimes one or more of them are more discordant than others. Sometimes more harmonious. The overall composition varies wildly from person to person and time to time. Size does not seem like a limitation on depth or complexity in this direction. In general, to find those primary and overarching voices of them all is to find those archangels we have been seeking outside all along. imho...this orchestra of inner angels and demons are not foreign entities that do not belong...but native inhabitants...like vital organs. What makes them evil to us is much like when an organ is injured, fails or somehow out of balance with the rest of the organs.
  18. We often see that the least mature can rise to positions of authority over people who are even more mature than they are...mostly because these least mature kinds are not limited by the same moral boundaries when making decisions. Yet the more grown-up we are, the less we are able to lie and harm that way. Reminds me of so many of the lyrics in the psalms...like ancient jewish blues tunes asking how and why this can be. As we see, in politics, business and religion, it is very difficult to remove such a brute beast once they are in that position. Which is why the answer is a long term strategy...Teach your children well. It is near impossible to teach a childish adult. imho...to "blaspheme against the holy spirit" is to avoid, attack or dismiss self-awareness and self-examination. The less aware of our selves we are, we more we are like sleepwalkers. There is no protection from our underlying animal nature. To reject an examination of our consciousness is to add more suffering to the pile we already have. The grief and forgiveness pain lasts long after the beast is dead. Generations...even Millenia.
  19. perhaps he became aware of his self as a form of animal for the first time. the only thing that changed was his perspective...as if he had noticed and identified his own human animal body for the first time. like an infant not being aware that the toes are attached to the same body as the mouth that is sucking on them. at some point..."oh, i am a me!" and then, hopefully..."oh, you are a me too" and then, hopefully..."oh, we all have a me." then, "oh, i have a me, but i am also much more than just a me."
  20. i think a key point of that passage involves stages in the life of a human ego...or self-sense. just as there is a moment in our childhood when we recognize that the face in the mirror is also ours, there can be a moment in our adulthood when we recognize that the face in the mirror is also God's. And this state/stage typically does not come until we are in the last half of life...or close to the end. Sometimes even injuries or suffering can bring us there, momentarily or "permanently." "but then shall i know even as i am known"...or "as I AM is known." this a point of view that Abraham, Moses and Jesus...even the Buddha and others...claimed was possible. A recognition of the original ground of our being. As if the floor of our very subjective position is like a forest...and for a time, we become like a leaf who looks at the tree and mistakingly thinks the tree (or the forest) is an "other". but if we speak of tree...we include all the leaves. like if we speak of ocean...we include all the waves. which is why the contemplative side of judeo-christian history involved practices to help us become more accident prone to being able to realize the scope of our "witness." to see God as the background of our very nature. we do not become one with God (except in language), but rather we wake up to how we are already always one with this infinite field of clarity and creation that everything is happening in...right now. the very nature of how we are experiencing the world is "God." Consciousness on a cosmic scale...and we are already saturated and soaked from head to toe. in this sense, "to love your neighbor as your self" is not as much a statement of the golden rule, but a statement about identity. in the end, there is no "other" ...except in language. This is why a mirror is used. So that we look within to see Christ and God. It is the most direct and immediate path. seeking God and Christ outside of the self leads to weeping and gnashing of teeth in the darkness. Like trying to find out who this other person is on the other side of the mirror.
  21. imho, when it comes to interpreting the symbols and metaphors, the greek words may only help a little more than the english words, but not much. Because a literal interpretation of a greek word is still a literal interpretation. Same with any other language. Comparing archetypes of the Bible to patterns of archetypes in other world scriptures and histories as well as non-scriptural literure may help a lot too. Joseph Cambell's or Carl Jung's work, for example. Like them, I find that the Bible makes more sense when compared to everything else like this. And it only becomes more significant and irreplacable as such. Comparing the Bible to the world's "sacred books of living and dying" for example. The heavy fiery metaphors of the Revelation may make more sense when seen in light of our relationship with suffering and dying. Not supernatural otherworldly dimensions, but the extra-ordinary experiences of aging and dying that all human beings encounter. It may be that the Revelation is an instructional riddle written for ancient monks and nuns to understand human nature more clearly so that they may serve in the fields of greatest suffering...and so the judeo-christian roots of medicine and history of hospitals are all wrapped up in this book. So in the end, like others, we may find that the universal mind of Christ is just that...universal. Like a finger pointing at the moon, the language of scripture is pointing to something quite beyond the limits of language, and therefore beyond the ethnic boundaries of proper names. and so pointing at the same moon that other languages are pointing at. And so the language can be a trap. We can spend a long time looking at the finger instead of the moon. like you said...what do the figurative symbols represent? they are pointing at something else. much like the arts of dream interpretation. a dream about a house is typically not really about a house, yet quite about somewhere we inhabit. what about candles? thronerooms? winged beasts? horsemen? seals? could these represent very important aspects and insights regarding the soul and psyche? different stages and layers and forces that drive us from the inside, both individually and collectively? i think so. to unlock these are to understand how we work...and so more capable to stop ourselves from adding to the world's problems. but again, this is inward stuff almost completely avoided and dismissed by our western materialist objectivist literalist type approaches to interpreting scripture...both science and religion. we will never unlock the mysteries unless we step foot in the actual territory it is describing...which is at the heart of prayer. the outer darkness being a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth may refer to the grief and suffering that results from the lack of inward examination.
  22. i did. i love that crazy way nun. i pray she died well. happy to see you too.
  23. "spiritual directors" and "ignation discernment"...finally, some signs of sanity and wisdom in an RC experience. scriptures (along with everything else) are interpreted and applied at different stages of human understanding. humans may age, but there is no guarantee we develop. so there are RC organizations run by adults with egos of a 3 year old, adults with egos of an 8 year old, adults with egos of a 13 year old, adults with egos of 18 year old, adults with egos of 30 year olds, and so on. same goes with bankers, cops, presidents, teachers and so on. the words and names being used are deceptive. the values, priorities and actions are typically quite clear. just because an organization or institution has formed around something does not mean it is without value. depends on who set the ethical and practical foundations...and how grown up they are inside.
  24. i have too much to say about this topic. i'll try to keep it short. imho, without the "hospice" context, the scriptures are confusing. even dangerous. no end to the trouble caused. "ministers of fire" describe those who handle suffering. they enter the flames, walk in the flames, bathe in the flames. "keys of hell and death" indeed. every religious tradition under the sun, in their highest most developed forms, involve those who serve the sick and dying. this includes actual practices to prepare one for such service as a way to keep from simply causing more harm. to purify one's self is to burn off shadows of self-delusion and ignorance by actually practicing being alone with God A LOT. very much like actually practicing dying as a way to understand dying. sit down, be quiet and still. often. eyes of fire indeed. if we dare to look inside long enough to shed light on what is hidden. the more self-aware one becomes, the more times one has been humiliated and disillusioned. even our very definition of self changes many times. the less aware of a self we remain...the more like sleepwakers we are. racing around trying to fix and save people and nations and cultures, but basically leaving a trail of tears. modern military industrial strength Christianity is going in an opposite direction. the focus is on beliefs, membership, word-studies, supernatural powers and beings. notions of direct experiences of God are dismissed or considered to be reserved for special mythological dead people...and there are essentially no actual practices from Christian history being applied. especially those that are designed to shed light on the interior life. fear and loathing of "inner flames" results in such an unconscious lack of self-examination. but there is no way around the flames...only through.
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