Archives for posts with tag: orthodox

Many Christians today are accustomed to thinking in certain ways about their faith which is based on a narrative that the Orthodox church put forward over centuries. It has been a way of thinking that I have come to call “orthocentric” thinking. It has resulted in conclusions that range from defining the divinity of Jesus, his nature, and the composition of the trinity.

Today, most Christians take these beliefs for granted as if they were always known. In the early days of the Christian movement, there was a broad range of ideas and interpretations about what a number of central themes meant. What hasn’t been clear to today’s Christians were the broad range of beliefs or ideas that existed back then. This often comes as a surprise to many of the Christian faithful. Wasn’t it all perfectly clear from the beginning what the life of Christ was all about?

What the Christian Orthodox movement did was to make it seem as though there was only ever one right way to understand or interpret the life of Jesus. In large part due to discoveries of documents that were suppressed by the orthocentric view, most people didn’t know that there were as many differing ideas about Jesus Christ as there were. What happened was with 1600 years of Orthodoxy able to define and frame the belief system so completely, that would seem like a very strong indication that Orthodoxy was right….right? The story isn’t that simple.

Orthoxy fought and won a war of ideas and the winner was the one who then got to write the history. The history that was written was what agreed with their view. Why this matters is that for Christians who might want to know the deeper story, a lot of it isn’t available anymore. That isn’t just Dan Brown sensationalism about a hidden truth at the core of the church, it is part of what happened if you are willing to discover what we know now about the lost Christianities that existed early on. There was more there, and it showed a broad and deep understanding about the mechanisms within consciousness that made union with the divine possible.

Most believers know little to nothing about these movements because even understanding it required a new or more advanced level of awareness, and here we are with a 1600 year entrenched belief that has been handed down through the generations. The refrain has often been “If there was more to all of this we would know about it.” The problem here is that no, the point apears to have kept these ideas from mainstream Christianity, and of course the church did this very well. Pastors don’t tell their parishioners about it either, even though most are schooled in the ideas that constituted “wings” within the church.

It was easy to push this more advanced understanding off the stage because those in the know about these different ideas were a minority once the tide of Orthodoxy came along. It surprises many people to discover that Orthodoxy was a late-comer to the belief in the beginning. This would be in the time period of the first two centuries after the death of Christ.

Enlightenment has always been a rare bud that blooms ocassionally and few see it for what it is. Why do you think so many visionaries have met their end with such violence? The conspiracy to keep people in the dark about a deeper more esoteric tradition, was one of ignorance. Orthodoxy does not know what it does not know and is not aware of the riches that it took from humanity. It may also be true that the people forming Orthodoxy knew and just didn’t care.

The other strands within Christianity at the time were quickly driven from the stage by the tide of Orthodox thinking, and these movements or groups in the faith that differed from the Orthodox one were both reviled and criticized by early church fathers within the that wing of the church. The orthocentric view won out so that there existed for centuries no other accepted way of understanding what the Christ drama was about. If you wanted to know about Jesus and Christ, your go-to books were the ones that were sanctioned by the Orthodox wing of the church.

The orthocentric view has created the impression that there was only ever one acceptable way of approaching Christianity, and that group went to great lengths to make sure that their view was the one that would be accepted. Part of this orthocentric view includes the idea that heresy was a kind of later outgrowth, a distortion of the original “truth” of Christianity. Origen, an early church father and Christian historian, characterized heresy as that action which took place after the “truth” was known, a “veering” away as he put it, from what we all know is the one accepted group of central truths that animate Christianity and give it it’s life. While Origen in his day struck out against what he believed was heresy, he was later was deemed a heretic himself, an act that was performed after he had died. Still, the idea stuck and his characterization would be taken up by new generations of heresy hunters.

This, though, isn’t true. In 1935 Walter Bauer wrote a book entitled Orthodoxy & Heresy In Earliest Christianity. In it, he poured over numerous letters and other writings from earliest Christianity and found that instead of heresy being a late-comer to the faith, it was instead present even before Orthodox thinking got a foothold in the early Christ movement. The upshot of his work was that Orthodoxy was the late-comer, not heresy. The suggestion here was that maybe heresy wasn’t quite what we thought it was or that we were told it was. But how could that be?

Over and over, as Bauer conducted his detailed survey, he found the language of heresy was preexistant over Orthodox language and thinking. He found many examples that heresy, as the later church would describe it, was more robust and established from the very beginning, which is contrary to the writings of Orthodox writers and historians from the first three to four centuries. Now a believer in the Orthodox view might well ask, “Doesn’t this just prove only that there were heretics from the very beginning?” Not if what these “heretics” knew and believed in was something more substantive than the Orthodox strand understood. Orthodoxy, based on what Bauer dug up, was the late-comer.

It should be noted that “heresy” was itself not a unified or monolithic body of thought but was composed of many different groups with different thoughts on a range of ideas such as the divinity of Jesus, and whether Jesus was a man who became God, or that was a man who was later adopted by God when he was baptised by John, for example. There were the earliest converts to Christianity, for example, who were Jews that Jesus had inspired called the Ebionites. These earliest of followers were branded as heretics by the church. We are told that if we want to get to heaven you better believe in the right things instead of what the heretics believed, or else hell waits for you. It was a compelling strategy because with the fires of hell hanging over your head, people wouldn’t want to chance it. There were groups who claimed knowledge about the makeup of the trinity that differs from the one that Christians know today, which involved a feminine aspect involved in Christhood. This was a more egalitarian movement that saw how important women were in the cosmology of the Christian faith. In the earliest churches women were in top leadership roles as bishops, for example. There are letters of Orthodox leaders complaining about women’s prominent roles in the early church, and wall paintings in Italy clearly show a woman installed as a bishop to her congregation.

Bauer’s work sent shock-waves through the Christian community when it was first published. His work was criticized as going too far and making too many assumptions about what the many documents that he examined meant. However, in 1945, a giant discovery was made in Egypt with the unearthing of a treasure trove of early Christian writings, some of which historians had written about in early Christianity and others no one even knew had existed. While some scholars suggested that these books were not part of a significant tradition, a possible “one-off ” a later discovery of a second fragment of one of the books found in 1945 (Thomas) helped to support the contention that the books had been circulated and used by early Christians and lent support to the idea that the books were more widely circulated than thought.

This find came to be known as the Nag Hammadi Library (NHL), and while they were found in Egypt, the chief reason for their discovery was due to how dry the environment has been there for many thousands of years, which helps to preserve documents just like it does with mummies.

Bauer received considerable vindication once the NHL was unearthed because it showed that there were different understandings in circulation about central tenets in Christianity. In the Gospel of Philip, which was included in the find, it clearly points out that many early Christians considered the Holy Ghost to be female. How this could change dogma was significant. In the concept of the “Bridal Chamber” mentioned both in the Gospel of Philip as well as the synoptic gospels, the bridal chamber becomes a sacred act of union that generates the Christ. Philip also points out thatt Jesus wasn’t just the Christ, but thst he was showing people the way to be Christs themselves. The implications for this idea alone are huge.

This line of thinking also links Christian thought to concepts tied to enlightenment that had existed for centuries in the East…not because Christianity borrowed from them, but because the spiritual acumen of the group that produced the books which described or put forward these concepts was so formidable. What’s more, many of the books in the collection claimed ties to Jesus and his teaching in private.

The books which were part of the find were bound in fine kid leather with tooling on them with both Christian and Egyptian symbols. These books showed every sign of having been important to the monks who hid them. While Bart Ehrman suggests that the books were likely buried where they were to free up space in one of several nearby monestaries, there is perhaps a more accurate theory which suggests that by the time of their burial (around 400 A.D.), the writing was on the wall where books like these were concerned: anyone found holding books that were not accepted by the church were to be consigned “to the flames.” It is much more likely, then, that the NHL exists today because a monk could not bear seeing them destroyed and hid them away for later discovery.

One compelling piece of possible proof that may have prompted monks to hide the documents where they were found in 1945 is found in a letter written by Anathanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who was the first to spell out what books were acceptible and which ones were not: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the letters of Paul. Those books would later form the early corpus of Orthodox belief, with others added later. Anyone found to have books other than these would come up on the wrong end of church doctrine and its burgeoning authority as the “right” way to believe.

In the centuries that followed, Christians were anathematized or excommunicated from the church for heresy. In still later years, some heretics would even be executed in horrific ways. See: 39th festal letter of Athanasius written in 367 A.D. and found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org)

Instead of being a movement on the very fringes of Christianity, the books in the NHL show how developed and incredibly sophisticated the esoteric wing’s teachings were. The problem is how their meaning escapes most Orthodox Christians and its descendant Protestantism. I will quote one comment made by a reader online who was referring to the gospel of Thomas recently as “gobbledygook.” It is hard to crack the code of these books and theur meaning when you yourself have not entered into the “light” of the knowledge that a state like enlightenment confers.

Today, though, Christians aren’t used to referring to the Gospel of Thomas to glean from it teachings which, the author who wrote the gospel contends, are the private or secret teachings of Jesus. No Christian is used to reading the Gospel of Philip and pointing out how its descriptions of the Christ are incredibly similar to ideas in Hindu, Tibetan, and Chinese writings. That’s not to suggest that the Christians writing these books had been to India, but that they had uncovered the Christ as a potential that exists within every person on the planet, and as such was not subject to belief in the same ways many beliefs put forward by the Orthodoxy depend on those beliefs. Additionally, the Christ was only ever found within, not without, something that Jesus was known to teach even in the Orthodox sanctioned Gospels.

Paul says he was shown the Christ within himself. This is a critically important point. If you are exhorted to seek him, then the seeking must be done within. How many can say that they seek inwardly to find the Christ hidden within themselves? What methods were laid out on how to do this in the mainstream view? It amounts to accepting Jesus as your savior. You must look to and believe in the cross. Did Paul believe? Not at all, not in the beginning. He was busy persecuting Christians. Belief was not what brought Paul into the tent, nor did it bring me either. He was converted when he found the Christ within himself. He said so.

Being able to see how the Nag Hammadi Library offered a substantive and sophisticated understanding of the mechanisms at work in regards to enlightenment was made possible for me because of an awakening process that began in 2006 and “completed” with a full initiatory process that culminated in early 2007 with a full kundalini awakening. With little more than the symptoms and phenomenon in hand in my direct experience, with no teacher or guide to help me, I discovered the NHL and saw that they were describing my condition. You should understand, though, that when I use a word like “kundalini” to describe or to place my experience, I didn’t know about it at the time. Further, kundalini is NOT a spirit or even a religious belief held by the Hindus. Instead, it is an observed phenomenon which experiencers sought to describe and explain. At the time my symptoms were so startling that I considered that it was possible that I could have a brain tumor! I soon realized that whatever had happened to me as the result of a very simple meditation practice, was not only benign, it was transformative. What I did was to inquire within to find the Christ within. I didn’t know that this was what I was doing since much of the effects found in awakening lay buried under layers of beluef and programming.

I did not find a person, I found a level of consciousness that upended my life, began setting it aright, and instituted a regime of inner transformation. I can see, though, how some might attach this to the man Jesus. Jesus himself makes it seem like he is the Way by stating that no one comes to the father but by him. In the esoteric wing of early Christianity this was true because Jesus was the only one who attained to this new level of consciousness, so yes, he was the only game in town. I will also point out that while he was thought to say he was God in the synoptic gospels, what he said in one important case was “Does your scripture not say ‘ye are gods’?” The implication here is that the state Jesus was referring to was one that anyone could attain to. It is also something supported in Philip as well. We can do even greater things than Jesus because each of us can learn how to reach this place within.

The problem, though, is this type if teaching doesn’t appear to be well fleshed out in the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. There are many hints of something deeper but what they are we barely know. Jesus did say that to know you had to inquire within (by “knocking”). While some might want to interpret this differently than I have, I would ask you to consider where else would a Christian inquire? Jesus explained over and over that the kingdom was found within. You don’t knock on a real door, you knock on what seems to be a door within where this new world exists.

It may be that we don’t have the details because Jesus didn’t teach to just anyone. He hid his teachings inside parables so that those who were “without” would not be able to understand. Here we find in Mark and Luke a startling example of a private teaching at work where, teaching by the lake, he explains to his followers how he hides his teachings from all but those who has been “given” to know the secrets (of the kingdom). It’s really quite remarkable.

When I awakened I found myself encountering an intelligence which I knew was the Source of all life and existence. It was only possible with this new level of consciousness, that I could sense directly and vividly an intelligence which was a part of everything and that tied all things together in a way that felt like family. What I found was that what I had experienced was in harmony with what the gospel of Thomas and Philip (as well as others in the NHL) had to say, which was that Jesus was making his followers into Christs. I decided to read further into the NHL and this in turn led to a 15 year research project where I scrutinized the books that were found along with the books that are a part of mainstream Christian thought, mist notably the New Testament. This has led me to letters and accounts going back to the earliest days of the movement.

I came across the NHL for the first time a few months after my awakening and saw for the first time someone describing what had happened to me. These weren’t Sanscrit texts but the Gospel of Thomas, Philip, and many others. Hard to understand without the inner knowing or “gnosis” that awakening brings, I am convinced that the authors deliberately sought to keep hidden the direct meanings contained in the documents in order to protect the uninitiated. Still, their meaning was consistent with awakening in both Thomas and Philip as well as in the other documents which modern Christian scholars have dubbed as Gnostic in character.

The more I looked, the more evidence I tended to uncover that supported my thesis. Yes, this work is hampered by a kind of information black-out in some ways but in other ways there are important clues that I have found that makes a case for not just an alternate or deeper understanding of Christ, but also that it was possible that Jesus did have a private teaching, something that the Gospel of Thomas proclaims at its beginning.

One of the suspected authors of Thomas and Philip according to scholars is Valentinus who lived in the second century. Valentinus wrote how he had a vision of the risen Christ. At that time, he knew about Paul’s own vision of the risen Christ.

Valentinus explains how he had gone to a direct disciple of Paul, a man who had learned directly from Paul who was named Theodas. When Valentinus spoke with this disciple he learned from him that Paul had a private teaching which he reserved for his closest followers. Valentinus goes on to say that he was taught in this private way by the disciple.

The elephant in the room, for me at least, is if Valentinus was the author of Thomas or Philip, was it the result of having received a more esoteric teaching which he himself was ready for? Did Valentinus go on in his own way to produce writings perhaps based partly on the teachings of the disciples and with his own inner knowledge about the “body of Christ”? Did Valentinus have access to other Christians that were sharing privately these teachings? Did he just make them up as some Orthodox apologists contend?

While some might point out that this would amount to forgery, let me put this activity in perspective. At this time in history it was not uncommon at all for books or letters to be forged. Back then, a student or disciple would sometimes write after the teacher had died as though the teacher had written the document. Christianity has many of these forged documents as examples. Many are not included in the New Testament, but there are documents that are known forgeries that are still in the NT today. How do we know this? Because the content in some cases deals with issues that belong to a later date, after the death of the teacher. Take for example some of the letters of Paul. In Timothy and Titus there is content in them that simply did not exist during Paul’s life, so we know that someone else other than Paul wrote them. Someone forged the documents and in the process achieved a way to drive how the church might later be organized, for example. Additionally, in the case of Timothy, the writer makes Paul into a mysogynist, something that does not appear in any other of his other letters (not even once). If keeping women out of the church leadership was so important to Paul, it would have been repeated a number of times to the churches in other areas that he was known to write to. Today scholars tend to agree that five, possibly six, of Paul’s letters were written by someone other than Paul.

To loop back around to heresy once more, an important fact has remained throughout the last two hundred years since new documents from early Christianity have emerged (thanks in part to archeological digs and efforts searching libraries and monestaries). If heresy was the unimportant movement that the orthocentrics would have us believe, why are ALL the newly discovered documents always heretical documents and not Orthodox ones? I contend that the narrative or picture we have been given to believe is in fact not the true one, not completely, not by a long shot.

Additionally, Orthodoxy represents a more literalist and authoritarian take on Christianity. The heretics proposed that you didn’t need a priest to get you there, you need only to discover the Christ which is in you, something that would have eroded the power that the Orthodoxy went on to seek to increase over time. What did the church do in its earliest days? It grew and gained the attention of Emperor Constantine who made it the state religion. The heretics, as they were called, were driven from the stage despite how closely aligned many of their teachings were to the documents the Orthodoxy championed: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) It has ever been thus!

if you search articles in neurophysiology or neuroanatomy, you will see a raging debate about something called “hemisphericity” which implies that you can have one hemisphere more dominant than the other. Well yes you do, in some ways, and in other ways, no.

THIS article explains that you CANNOT train one hemisphere to be more dominant since the brain is so involved in cooperating between its different regions and “sides” that such an idea is impossible (and debunked in the 1980’s).

Everyone, from winners of the Nobel Prize in physics to the artists behind the Archibald Prize, used both sides of the brain when performing any task. In fact, the idea that people can be classified as left- or right-brained was debunked in scientific literature in the 1980’s

https://theconversation.com/mondays-medical-myth-you-can-selectively-train-your-left-or-right-brain-4704

The problem, I think, is that we are dealing with an incredibly complex and also nuanced biological machine we call the brain. So many regions responsible for different functions, we think, based on the data so far collected. Something gets lost in translation, I think. And while you might be using one part of your brain for one type of function, you might also be using other parts as well. If your body is in motion, well, you have the motor cortex in on the game, too. Lot’s of busy-busy. And to my mind, based on the research I have been doing over the years on the brain, I think some scholars and researchers tend to get lost in the details….because let’s be honest, there are a lot of details when it comes to our grey matter.

The same source goes on to say:

Despite this, left/right-brain training programs appear to be gaining popularity. This is puzzling because there’s no evidence indicating that you can train just one side of your brain. Such attempts are doomed because the two hemispheres are heavily interconnected and constantly communicating.

Ibid

Again, there is truth in what the writer is saying, but there is another side to all of this and it has everything to do with how we do indeed train ourselves how to utilize the abilities that appear, thus far, to be seated in one hemisphere in the brain. You might wonder where I am going with this and how this is tied into kundalini, but give me a minute.

When I was in art school, I was keen to be the best that I could be as an artist, and part of this was to learn how to use my mind to its fullest as it related to the creative process. Betty Edwards had come out with a book entitled Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain a decade previously, and we were beginning to know a few things as it related to the (visual) arts where the brain is concerned. In this seminal work in the field of art, she explained how many people often use the wrong side of their brain when creating artwork, or in creating likenesses of people in portrait work, sculpture, or landscapes, for example. The problem, she explained, was the left brain is reductive in its approach, meaning that it tends to create abstractions and stores “ideas” of what an object looks like, not really the real thing. The left brain is great for making cartoons, but it’s terrible for creating real-life likenesses (“abstraction” means to take those details that you feel are the most important and isolate them—such a left brained thing to do). This is one reason why many beginning artists are so bad at making a realistic likeness, which is due in part to their drawing on an inner image of what they think something looks like rather than what is in front of them. It is a very difficult habit to break in our species it seems.

Over and over, Edwards showed how art students would draw an eye and a mouth all in the same stilted manner, making almonds for eyes and sardines for lips. But look more closely; do they really look like that? “Draw what you SEE!” was the admonition by my teachers. Of course, do that, but you have to get out of the part of your mind that tells you what it is that you THINK that you see. And what are the implications of being in that abstract left brain process? You are in fact living in the past. You are drawing on an inner image of what it is that you think you are looking at. You wont EVER see what is in front of you so long as you let the left brain continue its dominance in your thinking and doing.

This has everything to do with enlightenment, I promise, and it can show you the folly of trying to use the “rational” left brain in the process of enlightenment. But hang on, I am going to string you along a little longer!

By the way, you can pick up a very inexpensive copy of Edwards’ book here at Thrift Books in case you would like to be better at drawing. The book has a lot of very good exercises that actually work if you want to be better at art.

There was something about art making that I always found curious, and it had to do with what we call inspiration. It was always this elusive thing. I knew enough about it that I could lay my hands on it when I needed to. I understood it intuitively, but it wasn’t like it was something that I could force. In fact, it was the opposite of forcing. I had to bid it come. I had to be receptive to it. And that was the point. Inspiration, I found, was not something that happened in the way the logic circuits of my left brain worked. What was even more interesting to me was that I often bumped up against a very interesting outcome of the inspired state when things got really intense, and that was that i often would wind up feeling sexually aroused when things were really cooking. I can remember staying up late into the night working on piece after piece. Inspiration would breed more of itself in those solitary hours as I worked in the studio. I felt funny because I had never heard of this before. Was I weird? Was it just me? I later learned that I wasn’t alone, that a number of other artists and writers commented on the coincidence of the sexual with the inspired state. The writer Anais Nin wrote about it a good deal, as did other artists. Maybe it was natural. I felt like it must be. I suspected that the channels that carried creative energy and sexual energy might not be all that different. They might in fact be the same. Our idea of creativity might actually be the stumbling block. Some of the great artists had a charisma and were notable in their sexuality often (although not always). I always felt like there was a connection here even if I was too young to know enough to say definitively.

Fast forward twenty-five years or so, and I wake up after using a meditation technique a friend I met through an online forum who had passed it on to me. I have yet to meet him, but we had a lot of very lively conversations through email back in 2006. The result of my using this meditation method was that I inched closer to awakening with it. Suddenly suffused in a brilliant white light during meditation, I was flabbergasted, and after which everything picked up steam in the strangeness department and in a few months I “popped” and the cosmic egg was cracked. I didn’t go into this thinking that I was going to try to awaken. Back then “awakening” wasn’t that much of thing, not like it is today.

I had no idea what it was that I had. I considered I could have had a brain tumor (yes really). I didn’t speak about what happened to me to my family for close to a year. I was concerned that I could be carted off to the hospital or institutionalized. As a result of this, I spent a lot of time observing what was taking place inside of me with this new energy. I had a keen sense that I had stepped into something entirely new and I was very much on my own now. It was exhilarating and lonely all at once. I sensed that whatever this was that had happened, it was permanent. there was no going back to Kansas, there was no putting the genie back in the bottle. There was no being normal again. I felt like a stranger in a strange land. It was both death and rebirth, caterpillar and butterfly. I had no resources upon which to refer to. I studied the phenomenon closely as it unfolded within my mind and my body. I wanted to know as much about as I could summon so I could take my notes and see if they compared to any other experiences other people had had so I could get a better understanding about it. It is interesting what happens when you rely on yourself in this way. As you ask, so shall you receive. Miracles tended to happen, small ones, inexplicable ones, sometimes on a daily basis. I would later learn that these were called synchronicities, a term coined by the Swedish analyst and researcher Carl Gustav Jung.

One of the important aspects of the awakening process for me was how I felt like some new state was being brought online, activated, and it was different from the way I normally had felt. I also saw how similar the awakened state was to inspiration, something I was very familiar with. In fact, I would say, they were identical in terms of how they felt and behaved, the only difference between the two was a matter of degree. One was much stronger than the other (can you guess which one?). I wondered if this wasn’t me shifting into my right brain more, or that perhaps what kundalini amounted to was breaking the bonds that kept the right brain constrained because this unrestrained portion seemed to emerge almost out of nowhere (“almost”). I began to feel that human beings were in fact left-brain dominant by nurture, even artists like myself. I suspected the entire race was this way, that we simply had developed this way as a means of survival. Linear logical things are extremely good for getting stuff done, no doubt about it, but I think that we as a race were (and are) moving out of that old paradigm so things are shifting now.

When I learned that what I had was kundalini, I saw how the Hindu’s use the imagery of the man and woman, how one side was depicted as the feminine, and the other masculine. These images were created for a reason, and I had already felt the twin energy of what felt masculine and feminine rise up through my body. They were speaking to me about my condition.

I got to watch this curious phenomenon in myself for months, close to a year, even, before ever cracking a book on kundalini. When I saw the merging of the masculine and feminine and on the correct sides of the body, I realized, they were describing the same thing I had been experiencing. They had images painted on the foreheads of yogis called a Tilak and it was shaped exactly in the same way as my third eye awakening proceeded. I actually can feel when my third eye opens, it creates a force of pressure that is exactly like the Tilak. They were on to it, and while I searched article after article, no one really was able to explain why the Tilak was shaped this way. I knew it was shaped this way because that is how it FEELS when the third eye is fully activated (more than just a small round dot in the forehead—this was a process that proceeded over a three day period in order to completely open the third eye, a chakra that spread all the way to the back of my head in bands horizontally and in a dual-forked energy vertically moving upwards, corresponding to the Ida, Pengala, and Sushuma nadi (energy channels — the feminine, masculine, and cosmic, respectively).

They say kundalini is the coming of the feminine Shakti. When I felt this take place, I recognized it as the part of my mind that I often used when making art. It was the same, but it was also much much more present, more powerfully present once the cosmic switch was flipped. Before all of this, I had to search for “her” and then I had to wait quietly, in a receptive state. I had to become that feminine trait that was in me in order to reach the inspired state. I began to consider that the cosmic light switch was using the mind to overcome the resistance we all seem to have to shift out of the logical confines of the linearity of thought that have so predominated our thinking for so long. To open up to the right brain was like a revelation. It felt like letting the genie out of the bottle, literally, as if it had been held in such tight confines for so long. And why does it feel like that? Because everything in the left brain is small, it is highly focused, linear and logical. We just don’t realize how caught up in that part of the brain that we are. The more that I slipped into this very large space that was the “feminine” I felt like I was set free. I also felt disoriented for a time, and sometimes would go scurrying back to the familiar prison of the left brain. This is most popularly called a “contraction” in awakening circles. Every time I did this, I felt a strange pain, the painbody so many were talking about. I made it my mission to break out of painbody once and for all. It took great effort, an effort at letting go of so much that I thought was important (but was really useless baggage).

I didn’t have any proof that my theory was correct, though, and to be honest, it seemed like the whole of science pertaining to the brain was against me. I went searching, and what I found was one brilliant gem, the work of Doctor Jill Bolte Taylor who, in her now famous TED talk, described how as a neuroanatomist, she realized one morning while getting ready for work that she was having a hemmorage in her left hemisphere. She knew it was her left because her language centers began to shut down. She had trouble understanding English, she had trouble even reading the keys on the phone to try and call someone to help her. This took her about 45 minutes to do, to call out to tell a friend that she needed help. As she recounts her harrowing ordeal, she found that another brain state started to come online, one that she had never experienced before, a mystic state where everything was connected: samādhi. She stood there, tears streaming down her face, describing how incredibly beautiful the experience was. She also proclaimed that, because of the shut-down of her left hemisphere, she was able to have a unique view into a state that is normally only experienced by yogis or gurus or by people like myself (and perhaps to you if you have experienced this). Her talk, entitled “A Stroke Of Insight” was the last nail holding down this idea that I had based on little more than my own observations that this comes about by way of letting go of the tightly held control that the left brain has, probably has had in people, for centuries.

Not long after this, I looked into the concept of the left brain acting as a brake against the right brain, and as if on cue, researchers were finding new evidence for this in fact being the case in the months prior to my thinking about how this appeared to me to be at play in the awakening process (how it overcomes this left-brained dominance). I read about people whose corpus collosum, the nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain, which had been damaged in utero through disease, exhibited some unique traits of superconsciousness, but which also kept them from being able to fully participate in society because they had limited communication between their two hemispheres. It was amazing to watch and to read how these people have incredible genius and yet had trouble tying their shoes are making up a grocery list or coping with the rigors of linear life in our world. I saw an analog with their ability to calculate numbers; I had answers come into my mind with lightening speed often, vast amounts of information, a storm of it, processed in fractions of a second. I sensed that my experience was tied to their same abilities, except because I had two intact hemispheres that could “talk” to one another, I could call on both sides of my mind, not just one.

When I began to catch on to how early Christians were talking about a unitive state that caused something to “rise” (see the gospel of Philip) and how people would go from being “dead” to alive, I felt like I was seeing how they were describing awakening. The more I read, the more I saw this pattern in their language emerge. It was curious, too, because these Christians were branded heretics and stamped out over a period of about two to three hundred years. In truth, the effort continues to this very day, but the main part of their work was done between about 200 to 400 A.D. more or less.

In their earliest writings these early Christians spoke of the “left and the right” of the “father and mother” coming together in the bridal chamber and out of their union came the Christ. While Christianity and Judaism before it had a notable and solid use of “left and right” meaning the goats and the sheep, the bad and the good, it certainly appeared that these Christians were turning these old conventions on their head (in the same way that they were turning the creation of Eve from Adam as that moment when our whole being was cleaved from its primal natural state into one that was responsible for our Fall even further because of some bite into Knowledge). Further, in the Gospel of Philip he goes so far as to say that those who do this aren’t just Christians, they are Christs. Whoo boy, nothing gets the Orthodox in a lather faster than insisting that the Christ dwells in all people and that this state of being comes about through the feminine and masculine coming into union with one another (the father and the holy ghost or sprit). Further, the feminine was revered by this group because it was she who brought so much wisdom, the ability to see deeply into things, to know (gnosis), not to simply believe (which is a poor substitute for knowledge) and to even heal.

Ideas like this sound strange to us today because we have about sixteen hundred years of entrenched belief behind the notions that we think of as Orthodox (a compound word from the Greek meaning “right thought”), but for those early Christians whom we call Gnostic, this was the authentic path to becoming Christ. And precisely because of this constellation of the feminine, masculine, and the indwelling Christ (which was treated in the same way that the Buddha is in the East which is to say that the Buddha is not a person but a state of mind that each person has within them, but is in slumber…..or more accurately, the person is slumbering before their own inner Buddha), was why this was too much for the Orthodox wing of the church to handle. Hadn’t Eve been the one who brought down the whole house of humanity? Hadn’t it been Lot’s wife who turned to look back even though she was told not to? David can go on for chapters in Psalms about how many people he has killed and no one bats an eye. Never mind that he was transgressing against the Law of Moses.

When I felt this triadic quality in myself, I thought how perfect that was: as above, so below. We make babies through union physically and we make a new level of consciousness inwardly with the two like-male and like-female parts of ourselves, an engine for enlightenment, with these two qualities which are in ourselves. This was much more natural than the Orthodox way which was an all-male club. It just seemed more perfect, more in keeping with how we are actually composed esoterically. And what better way to fold the feminine into our spiritual lives here on earth by making her the mother? The Gnostics believed that two people so awakened to this inner seed of light in themselves should have babies because that light be would all the more be kindled in their progeny, the result being an elevation of the spiritual quality in humanity.

If you want to see mysogyny in motion, you need only see how Christianity stripped itself bare of any kind of decency in what it did with the early Christians which we now call the Gnostics. To do that, you have to dig into the texts (history) because you wont see any evidence in today’s church save for cries of heresy whenever such a thing is brought up. You have to look at what the heresy hunters had to say about these people in order to know what they were fighting against. It all sounded strange to them because they didn’t understand, they didn’t have that seed of light in them which would grow like a mustard seed. And yet, traditions throughout the world describe a means of reaching an exalted state of being that required no belief, just a few very simple methods for turning the attention inward and which often involved the union of opposites within. Meditation techniques work as well as they do because it is there in such a place of quiet mind that you can begin to glimpse the lightening strike that is the realization of who you really are inside. No two worlds could have been more different though: one was literal and linear and cramped and stuck-up sexually and the other was ecstatic, vibrant and full of inspiration and light where the masculine and the feminine merged in order to form a “ladder” by which your own consciousness could ascend into the heavenly states simply and in a natural organic fashion with those two working together, not against one another. This is the core of the secret, and the mystery of the divine marriage within. The failure of the Orthdoxy was one of awareness, knowledge, and imagination, three elements crucial for navigating the numinous.

When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the kingdom].

The Gospel Of Thomas, James Robinson ed., p. 129

I use the above quote because during what I later learned was a temporary “kundalini flash” a few months before the full rise of the energy, I wrote a piece that contained a passage nearly identical to the quoted passage in Thomas above. I posted it online on a forum. My friend who gave me the meditation technique pointed out how it was similar to Thomas. The only problem was I didn’t know that Thomas even existed. I really didn’t know, and I read it for the first time in the Fall of 2006 online. My jaw dropped to the floor. They were describing an arrangement by which one reaches a state of inner unity where the spark of awakening is kindled. I would later realize that none of this was an accident, and it had unfolded in the way that it had in order for me to realize something very important about earliest Christianity (and my role in it in the Fourth Century). It was known that there was a quality that was like a man and woman, and that they were arranged as if one was on one side of the body and the other on the other side of the body, very much in keeping with how the Hindus described it. This wasn’t an article of faith, but was instead the very thrust of the Gnostics which was they knew. They didn’t need to believe because what they had was the indwelling awareness that made union with the divine possible. And you know what? They were right.

Today as I worked in the studio, I entered into that familiar place I go where ecstacy waits. Nowadays, I don’t have to be deep in meditation, all I have to do is open to it and there it is. I have learned that this state, like the inspired state, is one where I let myself be seduced, to surrender to something higher where I then rest in a state of deep devotion and love as I go about my work. I can listen to a radio show, I can get distracted, I can even get frustrated now and it comes right back. It didn’t used to do that. All of this took time to cultivate, and I have largely done it on my own. No guru, no teacher, but a series of events and people who all had something to teach me as they came and went. Others are also doing this in their own way all across the world as more and more of us continue to awaken all on our own. Ripe. Vibrant. Alive. Awake.

What the Orthodoxy failed to see or grasp was how important our sexuality is spiritually. The reason why it is important is for the same reason why awakening happens in the first place, which is a union of opposites brought together in a rare moment where often there is a roar of sound, a sudden riotous vibration, or a flash of light (as was in my case). When I give myself completely over to this ecstacy, my mind opens like a flower opens and new faculties show themselves. I do not have to have any article of belief, but I know something divine is at work. Yes, there is nothing that compare to it except the orgasmic, but with a difference; it is as if the electrons go into a glorious precession that acts as a waveform that unites my being and in a state like there, wherever I put the beam of my awareness, impossible things begin to happen. I might think of someone and know something I can only know was true only later, or I might peer into the core of matter, or I might gain insight into something that I need to do, this insight being like a vast bundle like how a dream is often untangled or remembered after a night of dreaming. People call this today a “download” and certainly the term is apt because sometimes it can take hours for me to feel the bundle unwind. I often will remember that I had had a dream about this issue years ago, different state of mind are touched on, and none of this process is in the least logical but is driven instead by what I sense is a superconsciousness and intelligence that I rarely possess in my day to day except for when I am in love with the universe and it is in love with me. All of this sounds like what a mad person might say except that as a practical mystic, I have always sought to try and note my experiences, jotting them down when I can, to see if there is any correlation later with something in physical reality. Many times I have seen things there was no way for me to see and known things that had I told a physicist, they would just assume I was lying, that I had read a journal somewhere. I know that this experience, this ecstacy, opens us to our greater potential. And while I really take no joy in writing about it because of how it is often frowned upon because it seems boastful, I only mention it here because doing so is like me shaking your arm and pointing to the phenomenon because I know that it is possible for you to do the same. “What I do you will do also, and you will do even greater things…”

Kundalini has been described as a “libidinous” force, sexual in character, and while this is true, that it sparks sexual energy, that isn’t all that it is. I have found that everything that we have in the body exists first in spirit, that everything we are emerges out of consciousness, not the other way around, and as such, what we think of as sexual energy here on earth, which makes new life, there is a higher dimensional aspect of our sexuality which is connected to our spiritual selves, that part which survives physical death and which exists in all time. It is this aspect, which we call “sacred sexuality” which is, to my mind, nothing more than the spiritual compliment to our sexual selves. It is this part of ourselves that allows us to have union with the divine. And while some will cry heresy, I can tell you that when the moment comes when you do reach union with the divine, it will be that part of you which surrenders like one surrenders to a lover, that will make such a union possible. I can also say that when you do touch the divine, the divine will have zero shame about any of this, unlike ourselves who try to point fingers and try to make a beautiful thing an object of shame. Some of us, it seems, have a lot of growing up to do. This isn’t a mental exercise, but is instead something that encompasses parts of yourself that you may not have even known existed before. Instead of feeling shame, you will come out of that cloud of light renewed, healed, revived. Each time you step into that state, it seems as if some bit of the hard crust falls away and the mind is opened more and the logic centers go quiet because none of this is the domain of the logical. The only thing it can do is to write down what it is that that happened to you, and it will always do so poorly because language exists in the left brain and this experience cannot be contained or compassed by words.

In awakening, it is known that those who are too logical have a very hard time of it. Taisen Deshimoru, the Zen master, who taught in France said in The Ring Of The Way that monks who are “mental” were the ones who had the hardest time with Cosmic Mind. You just can’t get there with the left logical mind. You have to use the part of the brain that specializes in the holistic, the nonlinear, and that is the right brain. In fact, Dr. Taylor came back from her stroke describing the brain in just this way, despite what all of the researchers might want to say (she was there, she saw it happen in motion as a trained researcher in the field). The biggest lesson that I learned was how to stop trying to understand everything logically, to learn how to FEEL (this is not to be confused with emotion—feeling is a capacity that we have like intelligence is a capacity that we have intellectually for example). When I did this, I shifted more into the right brain process and moved into the much larger realm of awareness. The logical mind was never intended to grasp the mysteries of the cosmos. It’s job is to learn how to build a ladder to the stars, not contemplate the meaning that is behind them. It is the feminine in us that alone has the wisdom to open us to ever-larger realms of awareness. And to be clear; the two work best when the feminine is given the room she needs while not being silenced by the left brain. The feminine must now find her voice in all of us. In the process, we will all grow wiser because of it. We might even help stamp out mysogyny and begin to craft a new way to be in the world. The Gnostics had a word for those who had discovered this inner feminine and masculine trait in union: syzygy. Some have referred to it as an androgynous outcome to enlightenment, but I have not seen it this way at all. Instead, I experience it as a highly cooperative and dynamic state where two rely on each other for what it is they themselves do not possess, and which, I will point out, is very similar to what two people fall in love do, which is to admire and even lean upon those opposite traits in their beloved which they do not have. In the process of this that is spiritual and individual, it fuels the outer process as well (how we relate in the world). I know what it is like for a woman to love a man and I also know what it is like for a man to love a woman. My own gnosis has shown me in those moments of ecstacy how it must be or can be if we just learn how to develop or cultivate this form of inner and outer cooperation. I can dream.

The left brain reflects on what is known or what it think it knows. The right brain does not, in my experience, have this facility. Instead, it does the opposite; it looks much more impartially at what is happening in the present. There is a reason why so many, since Buddha first mentioned the power of being fully present, have gone on to write books about the awareness that happens in the present moment. Ram Das wrote “Be Here Now” and Tolle wrote “The Power of Now” and they are both saying the same thing that Buddha said first. This is a right-brained activity, this ability to be in the present. But more: quiet the mind so that you can begin to sense what is beneath all of the mind-chatter. It is there, they all insist, where the greater awareness lies. It is not something that you do, it is something that you are and which your thoughts keep you distracted from perhaps ever finding. The left brain will always be in a prejudiced state, and it is this part of us that seems to be running so much of the show when it comes to awareness. It think it knows, but it is only basing its thoughts on conjecture based on what has happened in the past. To know this new state you must be open to what can be, not what has been. I contend that when you can reach into this silence in yourself you are quieting the mind and that this allows you access to the parts of you which are not wed to time and space. This is the same space that is written about by the Gnostics, the Pleroma, the fullness. We are all related, we are all family, from the largest to the smallest. It is an unimaginably large family, but knowing your place in it will forever alter any sense that you have that you are ever alone or set adrift or singular only. Even in the synoptic gospels Jesus reminds the Pharisees that their scripture did say “ye are gods.” What the Orthodoxy could not imagine was that we all are. Did they just want Jesus to be that beacon of a light on a hill that we all seek to give ourselves to? Was it all just a way to herd the sheep into an ever-tightening space spiritually for control? Or was it just a conspiracy of ignorance, a failure of imagination?

Contained within these two parts of us is all the wisdom and knowing that we need to navigate them. You literally have access to vast amounts of information that is part of what the Gnostics called the Pleroma (Koinē Greek: πλήρωμα, literally “fullness”). It is here that the sacred marriage of takes place. It is firstly within, and can be bolstered by others who are likewise centered and known to themselves. Staring into the awakened can be like staring into the same infinite that one feels within ones own self. This is also where the “deficiency” that the Gnostic Jesus spoke about was resolved. This idea that we are not good enough, this feeling that we are set adrift, sinful, bad, and unloved. All of this is washed away or redeemed in the Pleroma. And Jesus was showing the way.

Even as I say all of this, you cannot get there simply by becoming more aware of what the right brain can do for you. Something else needs to happen, and unfortunately, even the yogis of India, for as good as their systems are for explaining all of this based on numerous observations by monks in the past, cannot explain what happens when we awaken. The energy rises, they say….it is aroused, they say. But by what means, exactly? The Gnostics explain this simply: by becoming one with ones self, to become known to one’s self, and then by going as deeply as one can in silence, you can then touch on that place where the union of the opposites creates the spark that cracks open the wall separating you from a super-conscious state. “Remove what divides you” said the Gnostic Jesus, something I read six months after I had done exactly this very thing which I knew at the time was the first step into self-initiation into the mysteries of the kingdom. Once there, it is a self-sustaining font of energy which gets busy clearing the “knots” of emotion, the samscaras in the Sanscrit, of the stored emotion which is out “baggage.”

It is a quantum leap, but once you reach it, you have it forever. Its power may wax and wane over time afterwards, but its force will purify and clear you so that you can be a vessel for both the divine and who you really are. In many ways it has felt like my whole body became a sensing organ, a body of awareness. Was this new mind tapping into the wisdom of the body? Do all of the neurons scientists have found existing in our organs also provide thinking potential, as vessels for awareness also? I am afraid we don’t know yet, but I have a sinking suspicion that there is a connection whereby what we think of as the brain extends itself in awakening to include the body, and expresses its twin character of like-male and like-female qualities of what the Gnostics called “the left and the right.” When I say all of this I also know that awakening itself is a fairly simple thing, but it can take years to get there. It seems you have to want it badly enough, because who else could stick with its relentlessness, its intelligence, long enough to allow the changes to take place that makes a broader awakening possible?

Achieving this state could be done through years and years of preparation. What I know is that it is possible for it to happen much faster than that. I would suggest that you don’t do that, though, since getting yourself ready for it can be of immense importance. It is true as many in India have suggested, that this is in all truth, a more deeply fundamental state which is less something that you reach for but is instead something that you already are. It seems to be activated, but it is more like waking up to what you already are. It is your get out of jail free card. I ask; are you really ready to be that free?

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