My intellectual effort has led to this: a full explanation of the final book of the Bible, John’s Revelation. I am not capable of a deeper expression of my compelling sorrow and hope.
In Revelation 11, Christ hands John the little scroll, humanity’s portion of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, with the words “It will be sweet in your mouth, but make your stomach bitter.”
This is how sin defeats us. It adorns itself in pleasant expectations, then eats us from the inside out.
Having surrendered myself in the service of love, I expect nothing. But every now and then Sin sends an emissary in human form. I extend my compassion, and it gains a toehold.
When the blasted waste of my father’s brilliance was evident in the collapse of the company founded by my brother, the investor that consumed it sought to turn me to the realization of his dreams. The setting was an insurance information systems conference in Reno. He invited me out to dinner, sharing that his years in the open-cry pit of the NYSE had oriented him to an experience of personal energy that he wanted to share with people through online gambling. Confident in my capacity to create value, I redirected the conversation. As we walked back to the elevators, he offered to stake me at the blackjack tables, saying that he wanted me to know the feeling that comes with winning.
I demurred, and headed back up to my room. That night, I had terrible cramping in my gut, and voided everything that I had eaten. Headaches followed, and I tossed in my bed, unable to sleep. As is my habit, I asked “Where is this coming from?” Absorbing the casino with my mind, I perceived a blue field of energy that was trying to consume me. Returning to the bathroom, a woman’s voice advised, “Let your body do its work.” Squeezing the last contents out of my stomach, the demon was purged.
Recognizing the power of the thoughts carried in my prefrontal cortex, the resistance attacks me through my sinuses. When I become dispirited, I do not maintain my schedule of sinus rinses. My upper sinuses become blocked and the bacteria turn septic.
This was my condition on Thanksgiving. I woke with a headache early in the morning and began the unpleasant drainage, starting with an essential oil rinse. The septic fluid upsets my gut, and violent purges are expected.
But this occasion was worse. A deep part of me was committed to full expulsion. The vomiting continued until only a few tablespoon of yellow paste were produced. Below the appendix, powerful spasms in the colon and abdomen forced everything toward the rectum.
And the images, in this case? Entering through virtuous intentions of our forefathers, having occupied the institutions we inherited: Mnuchin, the profiteer of suffering; Trump, the catalyst of chaos; and Miller, the tormentor of the weak.
You are beaten, boys. Time for you to go.
I do not subscribe to shame. It is somewhat pitiful, rather, that they need it so badly that they rape me in my dreams.
They have been proud of the control they wield over the President, but the hammer blows fall faster and faster. They try new gambits.
So after the rape, this dream: I am appealing to my sons for financial support, and they ignore me. Flying toward an ancient city, I float over a carpeted field of discards. Drawn below, I tug at the loosened ends of a roll. Two ceramic plates? No, they didn’t like that.
A pause, and I try again. Two tablets. I turn the first one on and the dream shifts. The screen displays the vibrantly-hued pages of a comic book. I look around me. Rich color everywhere.
You see, I cannot see pictures when I dream. They have occupied that part of my mind, and do not let images through.
Am I supposed to be impressed? You have trapped yourself in the avenues of my imagination. I will see visions again, with or without your consent. The question is only whether you will be torn apart in the realization of that eventuality.
So, no, I did not feel obligated by the gift. Rather, I calmly asked, “And just what does this do for the people that I love and serve?”
This month Ecstatic Dance LA starts its seventh year. Next month, I start my seventh decade. That could be an a coincidence, but I find an odd meaning in that parallel.
The Hindus chose seven chakras and the Holy Books have seven days of creation. Understood correctly, the two are related. I look back at the last three decades and I see the chakras progressing through the heart (seat of wellness and social trust), throat (seat of social expression), and third eye (seat of personal realization). Looking forward, I pray that my seventh decade will lead to divine manifestation.
In entering its seventh year, Ecstatic Dance LA has no other path forward. Until January, I made the trip down from Ventura twice a month to join you physically on the dance floor. In February, facing financial ruin and suffering from a premonition that disaster was about to befall us, I stopped. It was only a month later that the doors closed and the dance became a virtual experience.
That may be frustrating for many of you, especially those that rely upon physicality to engage reality. The body has its perks, but also pitfalls. Confronting its dominance during the dance, over the years I did my best to raise consciousness. Sometimes the response was grateful; sometimes incredulous; sometimes hostile.
Ecstatic Dance merges personalities through music and movement. Through physical contact, we facilitate that merger, negotiating control and surrender. If Ecstatic Dance is going to survive, we must see beyond the physical metaphor. We must reach up into the divine realm, knocking humbly at the gates of love, and allow it to temper us as we merge in the realm of spirit.
I hope that you will join me there.
We are learning to love
We are each other’s teachers
Mistakes are inevitable, and ancient patterns are hard to break
Joy and sorrow are the only signposts, and
The biggest, most painful lie is that we need to be perfect to get to heaven
For love is constantly guiding us to new experiences, and
We cannot learn without making mistakes
Heaven is a place where we don’t have to hide our wounds
But reveal them so that others can have the grace of healing us
For a wound is an opening in the self
A possibility demanding our attention
The hunger of another for love.
While the material aspects of existence have been troubling, over the last four months I’ve had sublime experiences in the spiritual realm.
Since starting hypnotherapy full-time in January, the practice has been a financial disaster. I won’t go into the details, except to say that it appears that destiny is testing my commitment. By stretching out my credit cards and pulling down my 401(k), I should be able to make it through to September, at which point I’m going to have to throw myself on the mercy of strangers.
But hypnotherapy is only a metaphor for the greater work, and having freed myself from the projections of anger and greed contingent upon my employment, what emanates from me now stimulates grace-filled events.
When walking to Ecstatic Dance LA on Easter, a drunken youth waiting with three friends at a bus stop calls upon me for a blessing.
During a conversation with a new friend, I ask if she would mind if I projected the song she had offered to play for me. It resonates powerfully on the right side of my mind, and my female friends in the office building whisper and bow their heads to me the next day.
Having overcome the political cabal that has sought to suppress my business, female friends start showing up at Dance Tribe on Sunday. In the early morning hours, I have a terrible dream about trying to research hypnotherapy on the web. While one of them waits in the background as a passive support, I can’t type the terms into the search box. Another female presence tries to push me toward her, but I cry out to heaven, “Father! Help me! I can’t do it any more!” I wake up and announce to the air “You’re just trying to beat me down,” while I fix my attention on the female Chinese hypnotherapists that had set up the scenario.
And again today at Ecstatic Dance LA, where on Easter I first called the Tree of Life from the center of the floor. A graceful young beauty appears for the first time. She assumes that I’m trying to seduce her until I project that I’ve got far more important things to worry about. We skirt each other for two hours until the end of the dance, when I hold space for her as she winds herself into my energy. Assured, I reach down and raise the Tree of Life over the gathering. While I project the broad canopy from my outstretched palms, she starts to dip toward the floor before flinging her arm imperiously upward. And suddenly my heart cracks open and I scream in grief – two long agonizing cries before I realize that multitudes of men are escaping my heart. Men that died for love, now seeking healing among the leaves.
I guess that I’ve got your attention, ladies. What happens next?
Out at Thoughts, Prayers & Song, James declares his intention to stop tolerating systems of predation that allow the wealthy to survive by pressuring the poor into situations that guarantee their premature death.
In guiding our sensitivity, James focuses on war and violence. Those are only methods for something more profound: worship of death. Those that flourish by ignoring the costs on others are in fact reliant upon sacrifice. They may willfully ignore that reliance, but death still flourishes as the driving preoccupation of billions of people. Everything they do is driven by that preeminent power.
James hopes for an era of peace, and with Advent that hope focuses on the arrival of Jesus. The lion sheathes its claws to lie with the lamb.
Paradoxically, Jesus’ mission ended at the cross. Death prevails, at least for a time. Even given the resurrection, we might wonder: is the only path to eternal life through death’s door? Is that the meaning of “pick up your cross and carry it?”
I am confident that it is not. That confidence is grounded in the similarities between death and peace when considered as spiritual agents. Peace keeps things apart that might create conflict. The lion does not take the lamb in its jaws; nations agree to honor their borders. Peace becomes death, however, when it asserts the right to claim what it guards as its own.
Jesus died on the cross with perfect love, and so death could not claim him. Instead, he redeemed the peace that was corrupted by selfishness. In loving death, Jesus reminded Death of its of its former purpose. In choosing to accept it, Peace was restored.
The great promise of Rev. 13 is that “those that die in the Lord will rest form their struggles.” Dying in the Lord is to give our souls into the safe harbor of love, and thus to be held in peace until this age of death is brought to a close.
Thus I understand “pick up your cross and carry it” to mean “Do as I did, and reclaim the death that hides your soul from the father.” Have sympathy for the great heart-cry in Eden: “Where are you?” followed by the lament “Surely you will die.” Allow Christ through you to reclaim every smallest portion of his kingdom, until fear and callousness lose their grip, and we enter Paradise.
This came to me Monday night during a scribble response to the Hawaiian practice Ho-opo-no-po-no. The healer enters into a corrupted place and meditates on these four lines:
I am sorry. I forgive you. Thank-you. I love you.
My image started as a hillside with a dip. The next stroke added a boulder, atop which Sisyphus was drawn in contemplation. Death’s skull hovered over the horizon. The redeemed sage addressed it: “Plplplplplplpl!”
And I realized that my subconscious was telling me to focus my Ho-opo-no-po-no meditation in this way:
I am sorry, Peace, that you were corrupted by selfishness. I forgive you, Death, for keeping those I love from me. Thank-you, Death, for preserving their integrity until I was ready to receive them. I love you, Death, and offer you the gift of my love that you might be restored as Peace.
Last Saturday on the way to HMI traffic was slowed around Topanga due to tree cutting crews. I assumed the same this morning as I drove on the 101 through unusually slow traffic past the blocked Moorpark Road off ramp.
I drove out to Las Vegas and flew out to Parkland. Both were disasters cultivated by ready availability of weapons to people susceptible to violent rhetoric.
What happened last night at the Borderline Restaurant bears the same imprint.
So I will be active over the next few weeks trying to heal the damage at colleges and communities traumatized by the end of so many precious young lives. The psychic scars I salve are the tissue from which the barrier to heaven is woven against those that cultivate a culture of fear.
Think of it that way, my fellow light-workers. We can forgive, but forgiveness does not entail acceptance. Not everyone can be saved.
Basta es basta.
The motivations of any professional include supporting themselves and their family. In being drawn to a new career in hypnotherapy, I am somewhat unique at HMI in that I have no dependents, and no expectations that I will have a comfortable retirement. In contrast, many of my peers-in-training are openly concerned about financial success, and some among the instructors project aspirations of personal wealth.
The conversation I walked into during workshop break went a little farther than that. Three students and the facilitator were agreeing that “you can talk about love, but ultimately everything is about money.” I guess that my reaction was incongruous, for they all turned to look at me. I tried to soften the pregnant silence with a jocular “Speak for yourself!”
The retort came from the man lazing in the recliner on the stage. I had to turn to see the subtle smirk on his face after he said “It’s all about money to you, too.” I tilted my head to the side in a manner that I am certain appeared calculating, and he reiterated his assertion. Stepping closer to him, I firmly asserted “You don’t tell me what I think.”
Turning back to the astonished triad, I explained:
“It’s all about power. There are two kinds of power: some power you can store – that’s what money is, in fact, a way of storing power. And there’s another kind – the kind that has to be about the world doing work. In my experience of life, there’s far more of the second kind of power than there is of the first.
“And that is why I love unconditionally: because I like to see power at work.”
The other students opened their mouths, but the facilitator closed the conversation with “Very well put, Brian.”
When I finished the exegesis of John’s Revelation, I went around to several local congregations to advertise the work. I went first to the pastor of the church for the Bible study I was attending – a meeting that went so well that I was soon disinvited from the Bible study.
I then went to the Center for Spiritual Living just two buildings down the street. Having read Ernest Holmes’ work, I thought that the ministers there might be receptive to other work that clarified the intentions of Christ. The conversation with the two female leaders was uncomfortable, the energy shifting decidedly when I handed over my business card, turning even more sour when I suggested that “there were certain constraints on the focus of our intention.” On the way home that evening, I was nearly run off the road by a man that I clearly perceived was under their influence.
Oh, boys and girls.
The marketing of the power of intention for our society – whether as “The Secret” or “Spiritual Living” or “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” – tends to treat it as magic. You set your intention, and the “Law of Attraction” brings together the elements that will manifest your desires.
Unfortunately for the neophyte, the management of intention has a lineage that predates even humanity. Among the pre-historic intentional fields we might include “predation” and “lust.” These fields accumulate power by giving those under their control a brief moment of satiation that requires persistent struggle to attain. In every other moment, their subscribers focus intention toward that satiation, making others in their community susceptible to the same urges.
At one time, human society recognized these intentional fields as corrupting personalities – known variously as devils or demons. But the devil’s greatest trick has been convincing us that he doesn’t exist. The sexualization of romantic love follows from the idea that we’re just acting naturally – like all the animals around us. The “dog-eat-dog” culture of high finance is seen as a defense against the testosterone-fueled aggression of our peers. The problem is with other people and the cultures they create, rather than with the sinful intentional fields we inherited from our Darwinian past.
Purging sin was the challenge of monotheism as undertaken by the ancients. Socrates preached that there must be one God, and this was also the conclusion reached by Abram, the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Both observed that the gods fought among themselves for our attention, forcing upon humanity patterns of behavior that corrupted our societies. So they chose to celebrate one god – a god of higher human intention.
A god that was eventually refined into pure love.
So try not to be distracted by attraction. Yes, it will draw people to you that share your intentions, but when you reach a certain critical mass, you will come to the attention of those ancient animalistic tendencies, and the weight of their power will humble you if you do not take refuge in love.
It’s not magic. There are mechanisms, and the choice of mechanisms is still a choice that binds your soul – even if the devil no longer appears personally before you with a feathered pen and parchment in his hands.
So choose love, and trust that love will choose you. After all, that’s its only purpose.