Archives for the month of: January, 2022

I have heard it said that you cannot cause awakening to happen. Most often those who say this are ascribing in some way an agency beyond yourself when trying to push this idea. They do this I think because they do not understand the inner workings of awakening themselves. “It comes from the grace of the creator” one insists.

I will agree that it seems mysterious, and as humans we tend to want to fill in that gap of understanding with something that sounds good, that sounds like it makes sense. It could be only when you have released a certain amount of karma, or eating in the right way, or following a prescribed path or belief system. These, though, are all coincidental elements since what we are talking about amounts to a light switch situated in consciousness and your physiology (the brain and nervous system), that gets switched on when the conditions are right. I know how simple that sounds, but despite the explanations from august teachers and Hindu saints, the reality is that all of this is incredibly simple. Our ignorance about it makes it appear complicated. I know it is hard to believe that something so elusive could be so simple but I will offer an explanation by way of a myth told in India to illustrate the point. The gods and goddesses were talking one day about how to hide the keys to understanding the universe from humans. One goddess suggested that they hide the keys in a deep underwater cavern where it couldn’t be found. Another god suggested hiding it in a cave on a high mountain top. Another said, “Why not hide it in the heart of humans, they will never think to look there!” And that is what they did. The answer to all of this is much closer than we ever thought possible.

I have said before and I will say it again that when I awakened I was very lucky that I was not held by a belief system. This helped me to very closely examine with little bias or expectation about what was happening to me. The reason why this was so helpful was that had I been engaged in trying to awaken by reading books written about or by people who had already awakened, I would have very likely been trapped in a system that ascribed causes to a phenomenon that may in fact have been a case of missatribution. To give you an example, I will cite Ramana Maharshi, who was one of the great men of the last century who attained enlightenment. He explained to his followers that he ascribed his condition to a “pure diet” which involved being vegetarian. He went on to explain that this diet made it easier for him to allow the knots to be released that stood in the way of his new state.

If you study closely teachers like this you will find a lot of very important information, and most of it is very much spot-on. When it comes to what made it work for them, though, you tend to see them passing along what it is they felt did it for them. This is to be expected, but the old saw of “proximity isn’t causation” is operative here. For example, someone attains enlightenment while bathing in the Ganges, or the Jordan river, for instance. This fuels countless people to immerse themselves because the great teacher did so, thinking there was something to it. There was something to it, which had more to do with getting that one person to a place where they were able to bring about the necessary state of mind critical to awakening. In yoga for instance, you have to master many postures if you are to become enlightened. The eyes must be focused in just the right way, tongue on the roof of the mouth, for instance. There are endless prescriptions, and many are mentioned because they were present at the scene when someone, who becomes a teacher, awakened.

I am here to tell you that I did none of the prescribed things often mentioned as critical to awakening. In fact, today, many people are showing that there is something deeper to all of this as thousands, perhaps millions now, are awakening in greater numbers than ever before. Most, not all, did not have a practice, teacher, or guru of any kind prior to awakening. What’s more, I observed in my own awakening and those who I have been interviewing in preperation for a book on the subject, that the lack of a system actually played to peoples’ favor when they began to awaken. When you don’t have someone to rely on, you rely on your own inner resources, which in these cases were not informed by a system of belief to “guide” them. I will also say that having information from those familiar with the phenomenon can be helpful, there is also the risk that the experienced individual can pass along their own beliefs about the subject which can be swallowed hook line and sinker by the innexperienced person. This has bred numerous ideas based on little to no real evidence for why they are true. As is often the case, proximity being seized upon as causality can wind up distorting understanding in little and big ways. The idea that once you awaken you are suddenly endowed with superior inner knowledge, while partly true, can be entirely trumped by the willingness on the part of the awakened to buy into notions or beliefs that simply do not hold water. Those beliefs can powerfully misdirect a person’s awareness. Buyer beware. It is much better in my experience to observe closely what us happening to you, like a scientist, resisting the desire to ascribe a meaning to what is happening to you. If you do, and keep your mind open to all possibilities, I have found that the pieces fall into place not by way of belief, but through repeated experience, which is a superior method to simply theorizing, as this can lead to grasping for a cause that may have only a coincidental role in the process. Be ready to rethink what it is that you think is happening at any time in the process because understanding often becomes prey to belief, often resulting in a perceptual cul-de-sac.

Someone once said that providing techniques for awakening is like giving a loaded gun to a child. I think in truth, we should enter the world awake and not go through this odd process of awakening. Species not from Earth have been there for a very long time, they do not go through awakening like we do. Imagine how different that is. I am not entirely convinced that awakening is all that natural but may in fact be the result of a cognitive barrier placed there in each person through a physiological effect. It looks like the problem isn’t that awakening is so dangerous but that humans show every sign of having a perceptual curtain drawn that has, incidentally, resulted in our accumulation of stored emotion to the point that humans are neurotic. Kundalini is a cure, but you do need to be ready for what comes. If you are an overly mental person, this experience could make life very difficult for you before things get better. In the old days you learned from a teacher, you had to seek them out (you had to be pretty serious about it), and they required you to have a practice, which is important for learning a degree of control of mind before awakening. I do not subscribe to the idea of kundalini being dangerous. If you are unhappy, ill at ease, unable to concentrate, and are taking mood enhancing drugs, now is not the time to awaken kundalini. Kundalini is not an escape, but a kind of accounting and cleansing. It is intense, it can push you to your limits, and isn’t for everyone. You must be able to be honest with yourself, you see.

There was a time when I felt telling people how to awaken was not a wise move because of how difficult awakening can sometimes be for people. However, I have found that now, more than ever, we are in a place where there is more information available about awakening, and the hardest part is feeling like you might just be losing your mind, especially in cases where people, like myself, didn’t think to themselves, “I think I want to try to awaken” and not know what is happening to them. It helps a lot to have someone tell you, for example, that something you are going through at the time is perfectly normal. The fear of losing your mind can cause more problems than losing it itself.

Today I have only one main caution to people interested in awakening, and it is this: if you are a very rational person who needs to have everything in your life under control, you should rethink trying to trigger this experience. If you lack imagination and emotional flexibility, rethink going further. The reason for this is because those who are faced with the forces of awakening are now dealing with a part of consciousness that transcends the rational and works as well as it does due to it’s nonrational character. This can be incredibly difficult for a rational person, someone that the Zen master Taisen Deshimuru described as “mental” as poor candidates for cosmic mind. Taisen observed that monks who were overly mental had a very hard time with the experience. In my own life I knew a few people like this and it limited their growth and healing in the awakening process. The rational mindset hides from view the subsumed emotional energy that awakening can help to transmute. If awakening was a logical process this might not matter but awakening is very much about becoming aquainted with the parts of the self that have a deep capacity for feeling, and by having emotional baggage or energy standing in the way only limits the self, hobbles it, in this process.

If you are one of these people, I recommend learning to first cultivate a sense of surrender and letting go of the need to always know what is happening and the desire to control the outcome. In many ways it is like having someone bigger than you, more powerful than you are, stepping into your inner life and beginning to make changes to your life whether you like it or not.

This process doesn’t get easier until you learn the art of surrender, true surrender, where you put your life in the hands of this powerful force that is in your consciousness. Only then can the clearing process move along smoothly (Note to Self: this is going to happen).

It is helpful to practice how to reach deep states of surrender. Are you okay with not knowing? There is an interesting practice in Christianity that involves handing it over to God. When people do this, they can let go of needing to attend to how something turns out. You don’t need to be a Christian to cultivate this type of trust in a higher power that everything is going to work out. It serves to keep the rational non-feeling part of the mind out of the picture. This is an important prerequisite.

One important path into this is through meditation. Not just any meditation, but a type of meditation that will allow the go-to state most people still in slumber use to be side-stepped. To do this looks like you aren’t doing anything, and this is why most people don’t get anywhere with meditation in regards to waking up. What I think is helpful is to fill in this gap with the awareness that this is the case so that you can keep on the right path. What you are doing is allowing the knee-jerk state to go quiet. This isn’t easy, but through practice, you can incrementally train yourself to quiet the mind, that part that when you are trying to silence the mind, it just keeps on moving: “I need to settle this issue with my boss because it’s causing problems……I need to make sure I get half and half tomorrow…what’s that red spot on my leg?….Oh gosh, I’m meditating, I better get back to it…” It goes on and on.

One very useful method for quieting the part of the mind that chatters, what us called “monkey mind” is to give the mind something to focus on, giving it something to do. I used this method because my mind was all-a-chatter in the beginning and I had used meditation for decades, and despite being shown how to quiet the mind in the early 1990’s by an early guide experience, no amount of regular meditation got the job done. The method I am going to show you can serve to create a bridge to a quiter state of mind. Once you begin to do this, the other side, the quieter, silenced, part of your mind can begin to come forward. When that happens it acts like a catalytic force, which is the union of opposites that makes awakening possible. Think of it this way: you have two wires in your consciousness with corresponding wires that exist in your neurophysiology that connects the two hemispheres together in a “new” way. This union creates a new synthesis of mind that gives rise to a third state that is greater than the sum of its parts. These two seeming opposites in consciousness and in our physiology are aligned or connected in a way that has nit happened before in most people. This “silent second” part of mind has to be given the opportunity to come forward. This technique might work for you since it occupies the loud chattery part of mind long enough to begin to allow this quiter part to come forward, to begin to work with the part of mind that has reflexively been front and center for most people’s lives.

It’s helpful for me to explain that trying to make this happen will get in the way of it happening. What you are dealing with is a force that drives the universe and all of consciousness. You don’t make this work, it works regardless of what you do, you open your awareness to it in this body of yours in the here and now. The more your rational mind gets out of the way, the better. What I am going to show you is like your opening a door. Your job will be to allow, to facilitate this new arrangement. So quiet your mind and your expectations. This amounts to a union of opposites in mind, which is like an inner marriage. Your system knows how to deal with this new energy in consciousness if you remain in or cultivate a state of surrender.

The technique is simple. You want to calm your mind as best as you can. Start by breathing in the way that will instantly begin to signal to your body that you are relaxed. This method of breathing is a slow deliberate breath in and out that should be slowed so that you count five seconds to take in a full breath after which you hold that breath for three seconds before exhaling the breath in a long slow exhale lasting just as long as your inhale and holding your inhale for three seconds. If you do this over a period of at least several minutes, it will do a lot to calm your body and quiet your mind. It is an important first step before beginning meditation.

The Technique

First get comfortable. You can do this sitting, lounging, or even lying down. Since I did not meditate regularly, I found that I used my conditioned response to wanting to fall asleep to work in my favor by meditating before going to sleep. My mind calmed down the fastest, but I did need to be careful not to fall asleep. Monks often will begin meditation early in the morning when they have already slept but are still in a quiet state. Whatever you do long enough will create the conditioning for your body and mind to follow, and depending on who you are and what turn of mind that you have, it can take shorter or longer depending on a host of factors.

Second, place your hands together. Have you ever wondered why so many cultures clasp hands together in a prayerful position? Is it just possible that we have been subconsciously aware of what this position does for helping to bring our energy body into concordance with itself? Once you do this, place your awareness on the where your hands come together. This posture creates a flow of energy through the body that is directly helpful in reaching a certain state. Imagine yourself very small, so small in fact that you can sit in the whirls of your fingers like they are sand dunes or small crevices. Watch as you see subtle energy moving from one hand to the other. You can make this into a production if you want to by imagining these things. It will keep your mind occupied, too. You can also sit and simply place your attention on where your hands meet and then don’t think of anything else. After a while your will find that your mind has drifted, so just bring your attention back to your hands. Visualize them while your eyes are closed as placed together and feel how they feel placed in a prayer-like position. Do this for up to forty minutes each time. The point is to allow your mind to go blank. The point is also to keep your mind occupied with this one very simple act. If you find yourself thinking about the grocery list, simply bring your mind back to where it was and clear your mind. You want to keep the chattering part of your mind quiet. You can also control your breathing so that it is long and slow, and this will send signals to relax your body more and more.

You will want to do this exercise for about forty days for forty minutes each day. You want to do it each day for this length of time in order to give it time to work, and to see if you have the capacity to reach the silent state where this fruit can be found.

Anything that comes up should be observed and allowed to happen. Sometimes some people will feel like they are dreaming. Sometimes the mind is so used to being busy that it will create things that will keep up the activity to which it is accustomed. Sometimes the body will start to itch, too. That is itself one way that the body keeps itself to its accustomed level of physical activity. What you are doing is learning to draw this activity down and it may take some time and some discipline to do this, but the body and mind can be trained gradually. Place your attention back on your hands and focus on where your hands touch.

When you are very relaxed and are near the end of your meditation, tell yourself that you will let go of all the things that stand in your way of progressing. You can focus on something that always seems to trigger you in your life that you would like to see gone and give yourself the suggestion that you are going to very soon just let this issue go. Forgive others who you feel have hurt you, and see how you feel relieved by doing so, as if a weight has been lifted off your body and your heart. See yourself as no longer burdened with many of the cares that tend to weight you down. Forgive those who have trespassed against you just as you as forgiveness for your own trespass. Feel how good it feels to do this, the relief that it brings. Feel how it changes how you feel in your body, the freedom that it brings.

One added practice that can help in bringing your mind into a state of unity is a technology developed by the Monroe Institute called Hemisync. This technique uses different frequencies of sound in each ear so that the two hemispheres match the difference between the two frequencies in order to keep the brain “synced.” Robert Monroe observed that both hemispheres create two different frequencies most of the time, and by using sound he found you could cause the two hemispheres to come into unity putting out the same brain waves. This tech can be used to do all kinds of things, depending on which frequency range that the hemisync program is set up to help your brain to produce. You can use hemisync programs for learning, and you can also use it for deep relaxation and inner work. The program that I am going to provide you with which is available free on the web as of the time of this writing can be used for helping to train your two hemispheres to come into synchronization faster and easier. The link is at the bottom of the page.

You can begin to use this program for some of your meditations. It is largely unguided, but there is a preparation provided that you may want to use for the beginning of some of your meditations. This takes up about twelve minutes of the program and it involves placing your troubles in a lock box so you can proceed with the program unencumbered. By the 12th minute, you have nothing but the sound. It is important to use headphones since one sound goes into the left ear and one sound goes into the right ear, and this does make a big difference in your results.

As you do the meditation if you feel like you are having something coming up, step out of its way and let it come, remain in an observational mode. If you feel like feeling emotion helps it to pass, then let that emotion flow, but come back to the meditation again.

After a period of time, which could be a week or more, you may find that you begin to enter into a state where the mind is quiet and you begin to feel a seemingly blank state, almost like that part of sleep where you aren’t quite dreaming yet, where you have awareness but your thoughts are very still. From time to time you might find that you black or blank out a little. This is in fact not a bad thing. You want the mind to drift into this state some, and it is marked by a feeling of presence but not of activity. You might even feel like you. begin to feel another state of mind where if you bring your rational thinking mind into it such as “what was that that just happened?” whatever what was happening will stop immediately. This is the same action where in a dream or as you are just beginning to dream after you fall asleep, sometimes you become self conscious again and wonder what was just happening, which takes you immediately out of what seemed like a floating trance-like state and back into “normal” awareness again. This floating nothing-like state will seem like nothing, but this is precisely the place you want to be, to get used to being. The biggest challenge is not to watch whatever happens in this state with your normal waking self. You want to observe but you don’t want to come back into self-consciousness, or normal ego-mind.

You are turning your awareness inward so that you are also turning what energy you normally bleed out through your attention with the world of your senses and your mind. You are circulating that energy into your awareness and back into your body. Your awareness is made up of energy and now this raw energy you are keeping in a loop so it builds in capacity over time. All the while you are keeping your attention on your hands and nothing else. Anything else that comes up, learn slowly how to let these things rise and fall and pay them no attention. Over time you will get better at this, so be patient with the process. The point here is to enter into a deeper and deeper state of stillness because what lies beneath needs this stillness to be felt by you. If something comes up like a pain in your body you can simply observe this and ask the energy in your mind and body to allow the pain to unravel by not resisting it anymore. You don’t need to know how this will be done, just imagine that there is a part of you that knows how to deal with it perfectly so you can not attend to it. Feel your energy, and be present with it during this exercise.

As you progress through this exercise and you find that you are having some success with it, you can fold into your practice a quick five or six minute inventory of your body, starting with your feet and letting them relax and release the stress of the day, slowly moving up your legs and into the trunk of your body, up to your chest, your arms, your neck and head. You can imagine a warm fluid flowing through your body which instantly relaxes each part that it flows through, and you can imagine that this fluid, like water, washes away any issues that may have been stored there. You can feel how this fluid washes away anything that is there and carries is up and out the top of your head. You can use breathing of the kind that I described to you to help facilitate this effect. Let anything that happens happen and always observe, knowing that you are protected and safe in this exercise. The simplest way to this is to just feel your energy while giving yourself permission to not have to attend to anything else. You can train your mind to reach a very simple place that is necessary for getting down into the substratum of your being.

Throughout your day you can also place your hands together to have a moment of being mindful of this state, and you can even do this by placing one finger together with the other finger from the other hand if you want, thinking how it brings you back to a mindful state as you wait in the grocery store line or sitting at a light or at a desk.

If this practice works for you and you have questions, you are welcome to ask me anything that you would like. Once you have progressed through this first round of the exercise, there are others which I can provide you when you reach the right state. But for now, begin working on this method to see how it works for you. Remember, there is no magic bullet for any of this. Most practices are designed with certain goals in mind, but these goals are best kept away from your thoughts as you do the exercise. This is so simple an exercise that it can seem boring at first, but after you give it some time to work, you will find that you will begin to experience a shift, almost imperceptible at first. It will seem almost as though you have gone into a kind of dream state, and this is fine. Additionally, if you fall asleep, that is fine also. Each day as you practice this method, try anew to not fall asleep while doing the exercise. The universe, which is made up of intelligent energy, will take note of what you are doing and will conspire to help you. It may not always seem that this is so, but big things come from small things and all of this can take some time. The very fact that you are reading this is itself a big step in the right direction.

Most of your success will depend upon you. Awakening is a very personal process and what works for one person may not work for another. In some cases, you might need more practice, in others other techniques added to the meditation at the right time can have positive effects. You are always welcome to contact me directly for suggestions based on what you find and are experiencing. When the time is right there is another exercise that can assist in your progress which I can pass on to you. This was given to me during meditation to do by an inner voice, but I have since found that it was once used in ancient times with the progress to awakening. For now, let the practice as I have given it be your first guide, and let me know how you are progressing and what you find.

This is the hemisync program (use with headphones): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze2jcwu4ddA

-Parker

Jesus’s Baptism by Giotto

While we do not know for certain why, John the Baptist showed signs of being at great odds with the ruling elites of Jerusalem in the Jewish temple. John was himself in the wilderness, we are told, and showed every sign of living the life as an ascetic: he wore simple clothes and subsisted on honey and locusts. A man like this would be freed to some extent from having to work in order to survive. This would have afforded him more time for contemplative prayer and meditation. Ascetics like this often were mystics, people who sought to know the thoughts of God. There is evidence that John was just this, that he became aligned to the divine compass that rests in all of us. How so?

Baptism as it is practiced today was very different in John’s time. Today we sprinkle water on a child’s head and say their sin is forgiven, their path to heaven is promised. But baptism by John was a different affair. We know through the disciples of Jesus, which took up baptism as an important precursor to discovering the kingdom within that it was imperative that the person want to be washed clean with all their heart

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is the water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.

Acts 8:36-7

While in Acts the baptism was couched in believing Jesus as the son of God, baptism was developed as a critically important way to free people from the division that previous sin, that which separates our hearts from the heart of God, could serve as a mechanism of release for people. All you had to do was to buy into it (believe). John was doing this in order to remove sin. John was setting souls free.

One important step toward awakening is cleansing the self of those things which divide us from the light that shines upon us, in us. In every way, Jesus explained that all of this was found within. It begins like a smallest of all seeds, the mustard.

Ritual cleansing baths are an important part of Judaism. John, I note, took the idea of cleansing one step further and created a way to free people from the burden of their past. What is remarkable is that John broke with the temple practice of blood sacrifice as the way to remit sin.

By whose authority did John do this? In his day John would have pointed to God. As any prophet, mystic or seer can tell you, this God is found within us. By John’s own perceptiveness and his desire for a better more peaceful way, he invented baptism. His own authority stamped the method with effectiveness. Yes, just saying it could even make it happen. John and Jesus both understood the role that belief or faith had in the work they did. Anyone employing methods like these understands the role belief plays.

People think there is magic in baptism, but it is entirely empty in truth, it is instead entirely filled by ones faith in it. By the same rule, baptism can be a hollow act if you don’t approach it correctly. There is evidence in the scripture to show that the early ones knew how to do it so that achieved its desired impact. One’s own faith is what works the magic. Does God forgive the sin? No, instead we do. God is always ready to forgive, but it is we who must prepare ourselves, to make our minds and hearts right to be forgiven. At any moment this can happen because of the abundant love that God has for all. We must be able to empty ourselves of the coarse stones that hides how ever-present this love is, how all-encompassing it has always been.

This would easily be counted as heresy today, but that is just how far the faithful have wandered from the core of these rituals. We think there is magic in just doing them, but that just isn’t so. If drinking the wine doesn’t make you feel closer to Christ, it’s your fault. You really have to let your imagination take you for a powerful ride. You had to be ready to give everything up to receive the power of baptism.

It’s important to understand how baptism was performed. In the earliest days a person left all of their garments and went into the water naked. This is one reason why there were furors over women in the early church baptising people. It was considered scandalous for a woman to be performing this with people who were naked. Women did, however, perform baptism. Sadly, baptism has been altered from its original form where one strips away the covering, the guile of the self, to come to God utterly naked. This ceremonial stripping away of what protects and hides us was an important ingredient to the process.

Being naked served to do two two things: it helped a person to surrender to the ritual. It is hard to hide your soul and heart when you stand naked in the water. It also emphasizes how the body will be washed clean of sin. If you believe it will happen, then it will. That is the true magic of baptism, which relies on belief. But who really is letting go of the sin, the burden? You, of course. Most people think of baptism as the method that works it magic. Baptism was a mechanism to help bring a person to a state of surrender: the grip on what needs to be let go is softened, and if the heart is ready, it goes. The more you let go, the less you have standing between you and God. We have forgotten these principles today. In fact, every baptism is done fully clothed. Besides, what’s the big deal, really?

Something happens to a soul when it is unburdened by the weight of the inner division that divides us from the divine; we suddenly are relieved of that which had been weighing us down only moments before. This adds buoyancy to the heart, and brings one ever closer to the divine presence. It is a trapdoor into the soul and its connection to divine presence. Release the right block or stone holding up the dam and the whole eddifice can come tumbling down.

Humans are made up of a series of these blocks or “stones” that serve to keep out the light or the water of life. All awakenings proceed in the same manner: surrendering to the powerful force that undoes us, that, like a physician, removes those things that keep us from the divine light. You didn’t have to be a Jew, you could be from any faith, from any walk of life. The church created the impression that you had to become Christian if you were to enjoy the benefits of the true light.

It’s quite possible that John was in the wilderness because he was not accepted by the temple priests as legitimate. While his method of baptism was drawn from tradition, it also departed from it. There is no mention of John taking money for his services, which would have been different from what happened at the temple in Jerusalem. This may be why he was in the wilderness. It may also be that John saw the corruption there and chose not to participate, we don’t really know for sure. What we do know is that John developed this method on his own and was offering it to others, which stood as a method that bypassed the temple methods of tithing and sacrifice that were filling the coffers of the temple.

It is worth mentioning that during this time the temple priest began hoarding the Jewish coin used for tithing to the temple. This was called the half shekle (also shekel), as no coinage from a pagan Rome could be accepted. This created artificial scarcity and drove the value for coin up. People from the region would come for yearly blessings and religious observances, bringing a bushel of grain or chickens, doves, or other valued resources which would get converted to the shekle. Under the hoarding regime, what took a bushel of grain could end up costing two bushels, later. That’s some pretty bad corruption for you. And who of conscience would want to deal with a system like that? This was the world that John and Jesus found themselves in.

Jews weren’t the only tradition to practice a cleansing of self for reaching the divine, however. The Native American sweat lodge or inipi is an important precursor to receiving divine guidance. One had to cleanse ones self in order to be closer to the divine and to be able to receive its guidance. The Hindus describe a process of cleansing energy channels where they knew past emotion can be stored, a process that also achieved a closeness to the creator. Much of yoga is concerned with this process of cleansing.

Now you might look at this and say, “This has no similarities to baptism!” But you would be wrong. What is key here is psychology. All of these methods work as psychological triggers….if you buy into or believe them. Under the skin, they achieve the same thing.

Rumi once wrote that people argue about the light saying one is better than another when all is light and none better than the other. All of these cultures knew and practice a similar method because it works because of how all people universally divide themselves from their heritage of children of the creator.

When I awakened, I clearly had released a long-standing issue that had me at odds with myself and the universe. As soon as I let it go, I began having symptoms tied to awakening. It was as though a path had been cleared for me where my awareness was freed up to know the fundamental truth of my being as tied to the divine. I didn’t reach this because of a belief or any expectation of any return from having done this work. Likewise, the work of John worked just as much for Jew as Gentile in his day. Jesus’s work and message worked for all-comers. Jesus saw the benefit in John’s work and began to employ it because it worked when done correctly.

To me, this method reveals the compassion that John had for the spiritual suffering of people. He went out of his way to do this work. Imagine this man, holding you and pushing you gently into the water and pulling you back out, pronouncing how you had been washed free of your sin. To do this, you had to trust John, you had to bodily place yourself in his hands. You had to be ready to let go.

Something powerful happens when you are with someone who has achieved this same type of release, also, which has been a well-known principle in many traditions. A teacher is more effective when they embody the knowledge of how the method works? You better believe it. Each person whose heart is open and ready can feel it since it is a deep spiritual truth, and that truth actually has a life beyond just the teacher (as long as followers don’t fall away from the core principles of the method). It was so powerful a method that Jesus went to be baptised, and when he did, his own connection to the divine was in that moment realized.

We often want to think that Jesus was different, but what I see is a man who wanted his own inner sin to be washed away. No one bothers to look at this, though, within the church. It’s as if, as how the institution has portayed it, that baptism was somehow different for Jesus. The elephant in the room is that people were finding relief from what had them divided from the divine. It is entirely reasonable to think that Jesus sought out John as the physician of his heart and soul.

Division within the self serves to hide or obfuscate our deeper, truer, nature. A person not burdened by unresolved feelings of anger, frustration, fear, or guilt, is much more able to understand and glimpse their deeper fundamental nature as a spark of the divine. The same appeared to be true for Jesus, since in the moment as he emerged from the water, something powerful had happened. It may have been more effective for Jesus than others, and this may also be why he adopted baptism as one of the ritual practices that now make up the Christian faith.

While my awakening wasn’t initiated with a baptismal event, the event that took place was, I suspect, identical to how baptism worked in the old days, which was that I was given the opportunity to unburden myself of an inner tangle of emotion about a past even that I hadn’t been able to resolve. I had a slow burn of frustration, guilt, and anger that had been burning a hole in the pocket of my soul. This angst was as much directed at myself as it was the universe for having sent a challenge spiritually that I felt I had failed in the face of. What was so interesting was once this initial release and subsequent shift took place, the challenge completely resolved itself. It could be said that this challenge to my system set up the conditions where enough pressure was brought to bear to serve as the force that would break through the wall seperating me from the depths within. Once I was able to just let it all go, everything changed from that moment going forward. For me, this one stone removed from that wall I had built caused the wall itself to weaken, ultimately allowing the water of life to stream into my awareness and initiate the changes to get me to a better place. It resulted in years of removing barriers I had erected to the divine.

These stones, all of them, were knots of emotion that only served to drown out or hide the soft flow of life-giving water/light of spirit. This all began with one initiatory act, and I suspect that this was also what John, Jesus, and many others were doing some two thousand years ago. Baptism washes away the lower so that the higher may be better glimpsed. It’s not a guarantee of awakening, but one in a series of steps that can work to bring a person closer until they can see the Christ or saving grace that is in us all.

Paul, in his letters explains it as not something that came from without, but as the Christ that was within. He said that God showed him this in his road to Damascus moment when he was struck by a bright white light. Paul wasn’t a believer at all, and was actively persecuting Christians. He waa shown this Christ within himself. Only then did he become such a vocal proponent of the movement. It’s kind of beautiful when you think about it. A tent-maker going around persecuting followers being baptised in the spirit of the Holy Ghost. That’s what happened to Paul. It was so sudden a transformation that he was blind for three days. This could easily have been a condition we call hysterical blindness. If true, it was because Paul needed some time to catch up with the new reality he suddenly was facing. Blindness can manifest it times like these when you are still unable to comprehend the about-face that happened. This underscores just how sudden his awakening was. This is not unlike many awakenings today. It’s quick, really in a glimmering of an eye and there it is. Boom. Say goodbye to Kansas.

This kind of experience was often spoken of in terms of dying to the old self in order to realize a new life, which was the Christ. Paul wrote of dying daily as he came nearer to Christ, a process identical to awakening.

This was one reason why the esoteric strand or sect within Christianity which we call Gnostic today took Paul as their hero. It was this esoteric strand that was best positioned to understand and convey the very keys to this kingdom, which rested on inner seeking and then discovery of a spark which could be kindled into a great light and a realization of the divine hidden within us all. These descriptions were incredibly similar to those found in other cultures which describe the process of enlightenment.

The conspiracy to destroy the Gnostic sects, which contained so much understanding of these and other sacred rituals by the Orthodoxy (that came later) was a conspiracy of ignorance. Within several generations this more secretive group of sects were driven from the institutionalization process we call Christianity today.

What John, his disciples, Jesus, and his disciples knew was that one of the most important aspect to the work they were doing rested on belief in an important way.

Today, we refer to belief in scientific terms as the “placebo effect.” While we tend to denigrate the power of belief in our modern culture by renaming it with a “sciency” moniker (placebo) belief, regardless, remains an important power of mind. Sign up for, say, a drug trial, where you are a subject who might get a new type of antihistamine as part of a study, and you can glimpse what this power of mind can do. It is known that a certain percentage of participants who believe they are getting the drug and not the sugar pill (the placebo) but do get the sugar pill, will often exhibit physiological reactions as if they are actually getting the drug.

While the placebo effect has its limits in terms of how it can heal, it is a significant enough of a response to begin turning the tables for many touched by it. It helps to show how belief can drive the power of the mind for positive change.

John and Jesus knew about this and even explained many times (Jesus specifically) that it was a person’s faith or belief that had healed them. In first century Judea where access to medicine was nothing like what we have today, the effect of their belief made a huge difference in how people felt.

The Orthodox sect of Christianity claims that the books of the Nag Hammadi Library are heresy, but what interests me is how sophisticated the teachings are and just how probable it could be that they represent, in part, a private teaching by Jesus and his followers. Scholars seek to attribute some of the writings to a man named Valentinus who had a vision of the risen Christ and lived in the first century. Valentinus wrote about how he had visited a direct disciple of Paul who explained to him that Paul had both a public and private teaching. The disciple, named Theodus, taught Valentinus about this inner or secret teaching. While this itself does not prove that Jesus had an “inner ministry” there are indications in the synoptic gospels that Jesus did not teach openly to Gentiles, preferring to teach in parables in order to veil the meaning of his teachings, which happened in Mark and to a degree again in Luke. Every tradition on Earth that has had an esoteric wing which hides certain teachings in order to protect the uninitiated from what could prove to bring awakening before the student was ready for the experience.

Baptism was the beginning, one step in a series of passages to free the self of the burdens that exist in a person’s heart. This today would be called “release work” and it plays an important role in luving closer to the divine presence and allowing ourselves to be transformed by it.

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