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Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

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Excerpt from Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man … a work-in-progress

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So here again is something that makes us distinct from those beings still in Nature, those not prodigal, not “fallen.” We are, as I have been saying, different from those in Nature in our having created a birth that is more painful than any other in Nature and that leaves us born more premature than any others. We have seen how this prematurity leads to even more pain likely in our lives because in our earliest time of development we are not assisted by a near-perfect Nature, but must rely on damaged adults—who because of these things are even more damaged than if they had been adult planetmates in Nature. I have detailed how this has led to a split from Nature, the development of unnecessary spoken and thought symbols of Nature—language—which actually hide Nature more than it reveals it; so therefore also we have this overcomplication of Existence. It became clear how this separation has led to a fear that has caused us to forego Natural blessings and to believe that we are independent actors capable of creating our own blessings.

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But we saw how in attempting to do this, we needed to control everything and everyone around us. We saw how this perversion—something we do about all other of the flaws which distinguish us humans from Nature—we spin as being some honor, achievement, or proof of superiority. It became clear how we call that perversion to control, “free will”; thus making of ourselves separate gods to make up for the loss of the knowledge that we are God, yes, but inseparable from Nature or each other—One God. It is clear then how and why we rationalize this delusion of “free will” into a “crown” proving our superiority, thus enabling us in even greater and more harmful controlling. I described how this greater controlling leads us to ever more complications of existence and separation from it … and then around again, in a vicious cycle. And finally, we see how, all in all, this has resulted in our creating the most miserable lives among all planetmates on Earth.

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So this is another thing that distinguishes us as humans. We can be said to be those planetmates who have created the most painful lives. We have blown up the acceptable and necessary “darkness” of life into something that can often be horrifying in the degree of its pain….

Why would beings want to do this? For what reason would any being desire such darkness as humans have managed to manifest in reality out of their tortured mentality?

But we humans have done this. And in keeping with the Divine perfection in which we exist but which we deny and mentally separate ourselves from, this seeming flaw in our perception, this magnification of pain into horror, making darkness darker, is that which, perfectly so, through Divine Providence, provides our actual salvation from all we have wrought. Our very survival … indeed our redemption … lies in this unique and strange capacity of ours to make darkness darker, but then also it makes possible that light can be brighter, that the experience of life can be even more wonderful than it is, in essence….

Redemption

It should be clear we need redemption. For we have created horror here in Reality, to match our imaginings, that is of a nearly perfect wrongness. This is the blackest of nights that we have brought down upon ourselves, but it is made that much worse in that we would, in our insanity, pull all of Creation, all living things, as well into this hell we have created … this utter darkness.

So we need to redeem ourselves by reconciling with that Creation, which we so arrogantly threaten. It is arrogant, because we give nary a thought to that which we do. We have this claim of high morality—another vanity we have blessed upon ourselves in rationalizing our inferiority and wrong-gettedness. Yet where is our morality as concerns the most basic fundamental thing about life: whether it goes on or ceases? We have laws that say, “Though shalt not kill.”

Once again, it is clear we tell ourselves these things and put them on high to rein ourselves in from doing that which we in particular are inclined to do. For, in our fallenness from Nature, we have become not just suffering ape, but also killing ape. We would bring down our entire species—committing a most unprecedented humanicide—but participate in the ending of all other species as well—commit an ecocide.

So, how exactly does such a killing species reconcile with a Creation in which everything in it has become its enemy, including itself?…”

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Welcome Home

So, do you not see the Divine Providence you have turned your back on, resisted, even defied appearing here and now to welcome you home? Do you not see that, like the Prodigal Son, you are being invited back into Eden in all this? If Reality were of a malevolent character, would it not spite you rather than enlighten you? Would it not strike you down for defiance instead of lift you up into illumination? Would it not let you stew in confusion and misery rather than raise you above the trials and travails you continually create for yourself?

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It is for you alone to decide, then. Not we as a species, for we are only many you’s and I’s acting individually out of the inspiration we each receive from within, sometimes stimulated and risen to awareness, only, by our interactions and communications with each other. It is for you to decide whether you, yourself, in this very moment, will allow yourself to be welcomed back into the Divine fold: Will you continue your delusion—your human separation from Nature and All That Is—to an ungodly end for you and us all? Or will you accept the warm embrace of Benevolence that is being offered you? You must choose….

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If a sufficient number of us do not choose to take up alliance once again, like we did long ago and for much of our time as a species on Earth, with all of Nature and act to nurture and defend the exquisite Creation on this planet, that indecision, that refusal to become transformed, will become known to all of us very soon in the events that will come increasingly into our lives, disturbing us, inconveniencing us, making us suffer, and causing for us a miserable, agonized end. With global climate change, worldwide pollution of air, water, and land, and the likely detonation of our nuclear arsenals at some point, we may well look on the days of Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and Fukushima as the glory days … the halcyon days of yore.

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However, what we can do instead is to stop running away and start “standing” and “facing” what we are manifesting—having the faith that not only will we be able to do this, but that it will teach us, lift us up, inspire us into right action as regards these unprecedented unfoldings, ennoble us, guide us, and, greatest of all, sanctify and fulfill our lives bringing them once again into perfect resonance with the Good of All, the All That Is….

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[excerpts from “Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man” … a work in progress]

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human

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Apocalypse No: Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious … the book

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Apocalypse No:
Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious

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Complete Book Chapters with Links

This book is being offered in its entirety online, free of charge and with complete graphics and audio-visual media, at this time. This policy may need to change when it is published separately and offered for sale in the very near future.

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These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days” — while so horrifying that we are in denial of it and hardly speak it — hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.

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This book — Apocalypse No, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious — awakens us to the unique character of our times. There are powerful factors and unconscious influences erupting into our world now which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways … for good and ill. This unprecedented era in history is rife with the perinatal, that is, with repressed memories locked into us arising from our experiences of birth. We see that our impending apocalypse has to do with birth feelings, birth trauma — an emerging perinatal unconscious.

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Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern world and life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. We begin to understand how and why this is happening now. Knowing this gives us the power to do something about our dire situation. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.

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More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation for ourselves. For we see that in the heart of this darkness we are bringing down upon us lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle — one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.

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We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.

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We will either heroically, somehow, save our species and our planet, which will require a change of our human nature unlike anything that has been asked of our species ever before, or we will be witnesses to the elimination of life on this planet in some way that we cannot imagine but can only be horrific in the extreme. This book is about facing, not denying, the uniquely dire character of our times and finding out what it says about us and requires of us.

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There is much here to see, and so much of it the mainstream would never touch for fear of creating a panic. Still, to survive our species must face our problems, not look away. And there is a nobility in doing that, which is unlike any kind of nobility or heroism that has been asked of our species before.

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However, this time brings with it an advantage and opportunity also unprecedented: Never before has it been more clear what is right and what is wrong, what is worthwhile and what is not, what is life … what, death, and what is noble and what evil. At no other time has a higher calling or a path of true nobility of soul been more visible. To align oneself with this cause lifts one out of oneself and one’s petty concerns into a heady and invigorating life purpose. We might die in our efforts. There is every likelihood that we will be unable to reverse our dire trajectory. Still, should that occur, those who face and take up this challenge will not suffer the agony of regretting that one could have done something but did not.

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On the other hand, though we will need many noble souls to reverse our current downslide into oblivion, it is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world. I hope, for the sake of us all, that you are one of those heroes.

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Chapter One: Strange Days

Chapter Two: “We Ain’t Born Typical””

Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media

Chapter Four: Twenty-First Century Life – Table of DisContents

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Chapter Five: Birth Wars, World Woes

Chapter Six: Healing Crisis – Getting “Sick” To Be Well

Chapter Seven: Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances HerSelf

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Chapter Eight: Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence

Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society

Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects Versus Surrender Solutions

Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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Chapter Fourteen: To Move the World – A Race Against Time

Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

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Continue with Book Five: Wounded Deer and Centaurs

Return to Apocalypse Emergency – Book 3

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An Angel of Death Guards the Gates of Heaven: Becoming Separated from Our Bodies at Birth, We Are Separated from Archetypal and Karmic Patterns, from Our Spiritual Selves

leave_eden-2_thumbThe Second Fall From Grace, Birth, Part Two — The Creation of Ego: There Is a Separation from the Natural and the Institution of a Substitute Human Nature at Birth

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Nonetheless, in “labeling” this confinedness in the womb, or “walling-in,” as “wrong” we seek to escape from it into a world of “right.” Therefore, out of the original creation of self and Other or organism and environment—with its concomitant of organism and obstacle (world-obstacle)—we have created the splitting of primary Energy into energy inside and energy coming from outside, into right and wrong, and therewith, pleasure and pain.

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We Create Time to Escape from an Insufferable Now

Furthermore, since we cannot escape pain into space (we cannot move away or out . . . yet), we create another duality: the duality of time—of past and future. The fetus, in that time prior to birth (“up against the wall”), seeks to escape into memories of a sweetness just recently removed. With this move we have created the duality of life and death, of being and nonbeing. We have created nonbeing in that we are trying to escape the Now into the past which is a mere memory, an idea, a reflection only of the Now. Herein we have the beginnings of becoming just an idea.

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Grof (1976, 1980, 1985), in his many works, describes vividly this creation of death at the time of birth. His growth modality, called holotropic breathwork, uncovers conscious and palpable awareness of death alongside the agonies of birth in thousands of participants and thereby demonstrates their interconnectedness. Similarly, Janov (1983) points out that for many of us the time of birth is the closest we come to death for our entire lifetime, until of course our actual physical demise.

In reliving their births, participants gasp for air, turn red, scream, struggle fiercely—exhibiting to all about the terror of death and the titanic will to survive . . . being vs. nonbeing. But the neonate cannot escape into space, and is only little able to escape into time.

Therefore, as Wilber (1977) put it:

[I]n fleeing death, man is thrown out of the Now and into time, into a race for the future in an attempt to escape the death of the timeless Moment. The Secondary Dualism-Repression-Projection, because it severs the unity of life and death, simultaneously severs the unity of the Eternal Moment; for life, death, and eternity are one in this timeless Now. In other words, the separation of life and death is ultimately and intimately the same as the separation of past and future, and that is time! Hence is the Secondary Dualism the progenitor of time. And this means that the life in time is the life in repression, specifically, the Secondary Repression. (p. 124)

Similarly:

[M]an’s flight from death also generates the blind Will to Life, which is actually the blind panic of not having a future, the panic that is death. . . . Under the anxiety of fleeing death, the life of the organism itself is severed, its unity repressed and then projected as a psyche vs. a soma, as a soul vs. a body, as an ego vs. the flesh. (p. 124)

Further on:

[M]an, not accepting death, abandons his mortal organism and escapes into something much more “solid” and impervious than “mere” flesh—namely, ideas. Man, in fleeing death, flees his mutable body and identifies with the seemingly undying idea of himself. Corrupt but flattering, this idea he calls his “ego,” his “self.” (p. 125)

0009-5468768281Joseph Chilton Pearce (1980) describes this separation from the natural and the institution of a substitute “human nature” at birth in this way:

Future historians will shudder in loathing and horror at the hospital treatment of newborns and mothers in this very dark age of the medicine man and the surgeon and their uses of chemicals and cuttings. (p. 44)

[T]he aftereffects of technological hospital delivery are permanent. We have built an elaborate body of knowledge not only rationalizing the damage we have done, but also accepting the damaged product as natural and inevitable. And we accept all the massive problems resulting as “human nature.” (p. 45)

Having severed its self from its body—the metaphorical reflection of which, from a physical perspective, is the actual separation of mother and child at birth with the severing of the umbilical cord—the newborn has severed itself from its archetypal and karmic patterns, its relation to the Universe, its innate destiny and purposiveness. These realities lie ever afterwards out of reach on the other side of death.

Should there come a time in adulthood when the ego seeks intentionally to retrieve them, they will await a confrontation. They will be released only upon the acceptance, reliving, and integration of that darkest face from which one has flown . . . whether that integration be a holotropic death-birth experience, a primal-like reliving of birth trauma, a mystic dark night of the soul, a descent into hell or journey to Hades, the crucifixion/ego-death/resurrection scenario of a benign psychotic “break,” or a worked-through “spiritual emergency.”

However, this idea of ego into which one has fled is at this point newly formed and empty. An empty vessel or blank slate, it is ready to be filled with the contents of or written on with the concepts of culture. Dependent and helpless in its doubly separated state, it is eager now to mold and shape its newly created sense of self—as idea, as ego—with whatever patterns of experience present themselves. Buoyed up by concept against the tide of death’s muted presence, the ego is eager to fortify itself . . . for the smell of darkness is still close; the echoes of hell too recent.

This then is what remains of Energy, of Mind, of Absolute Subjectivity, of God. An angel of death guards the gates of heaven.

Continue with The Creation of Loneliness and the Expulsion from Paradise at Birth: The Why and Way of Mind, or Ego, Separating from Universal Consciousness

Return to We Create Time to Escape from an Insufferable Now … Therein We Create Death: The Beginnings of Diminishing Divinity and of our Becoming Just an Idea

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Continue with The Creation of Loneliness and the Expulsion from Paradise at Birth: The Why and Way of Mind, or Ego, Separating from Universal Consciousness

Return to We Create Time to Escape from an Insufferable Now … Therein We Create Death: The Beginnings of Diminishing Divinity and of our Becoming Just an Idea

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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The Beginnings of Diminishing Divinity and of our Becoming Just an Idea: We Create Time to Escape from an Insufferable Now … Therein We Create Death

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The Second Fall From Grace, Birth, Part One — The Wall: The Creation of Pain, Time, and Death Occurs with the Encounter with the “World-Obstacle”

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The Secondary Dualism

Ontogenetically, the second fall is birth and correlates with Wilber’s secondary dualism, which he relates to the creation of time. As Wilber (1977) puts it, “the why of time’s genesis . . . it is nothing other than man’s avoidance of death” (p. 120).

He continues as follows, quoting Benoit (1955):

It is with the arising of the Existential Level that there occurs the infamous debate of “to be or not to be;” because at the moment man severs his organism from his environment, then

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Suddenly he becomes conscious that his principle is not the principle of the universe, that there are things that exist independently of him, he becomes conscious of it in suffering from contact with the world-obstacle. At this moment appears conscious fear of death, of the danger which the Not-Self represents for the Self. (1977, p. 122)

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The Creation of Death in Encounter with the World-Obstacle

We see that fear of death arises out of suffering from contact with the world-obstacle. The metaphorical reflections of this, biologically, are the fetus’s encounter with suffering in the later stages of pregnancy. The fetus encounters the “world-obstacle,” the uterus, with the confinedness in the womb and its attendant suffering increasing daily and hourly. The fetus becomes even more conscious of this obstacle—and more identified with its physical form—in reaction to the Energy eruption from frustration.

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The Wall

So it is here farther along in the gestation process that we feel the separation (from divinity) with the encounter with the wall of the uterus. People use that metaphor: “I hit the wall.” In other words, “I’ve reached my limit.” This harkens back to that time in the womb.

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Shoham (1990) writes, “[I]n the midst of his omnipresent egocentricity, he experiences disastrously hostile surroundings” (p. 36). Though Shoham likens this to the “expulsion” phase of birth, this experience actually begins a little earlier, during the BPM II phase of birth—that is, in the late stages of pregnancy prior to the onset of labor.

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Let me clarify this. With the primary split, occurring with the creation of sperm and egg from no-thing-ness, one’s intention can be different from the intention of Other. (Indeed, one perspective on this is that a difference in intention causes the creation of sperm and egg—i.e., the foundation of the world is wrought of an initial rebellion from God.)

Regardless, up until this point in the developments prior to birth, these two intentions have rarely been at odds: The self’s intentions to grow and to expand have been nurtured and aided, in a wonderfully synchronistic way, by the Other—in this case, specifically, by the environment of the mother’s body. [Footnote 1]

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Toward the end of pregnancy, however, the organism’s intentions to grow and expand are contrary to the environment’s intentions to resist its further growth in response. By this I mean simply that there are limits to the elasticity of the womb and the mother’s body, which result in its becoming an increasing contrary pressure against the fetus’s growth. To the fetus, however, with the possibility of a different perspective—a “bi-focal” world arising with the primary split—it is as if the environment has “turned against” or “betrayed” it.

At any rate, this friction of opposing intentions (or perspectives) is Energy, just raw Energy until it is labeled. As Wilber (1977) put it:

As an example of this entire movement, let us again use the mobilization of anger, as when a person strikes me. The actual strike itself, in its simplest form, is just a movement of the universe, but as the primary dualism starts to occur, I sense a mobilization of energy arising within me. At this stage—before the primary dualism hardens—this energy is still pure, informal, intemporal. . . . (p. 190)

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The Creation of Pleasure and Pain

In our example, of course, it is not someone striking the fetus. It is someone opposing the fetus’s uninhibited growth. The pattern is the same, however, in that “in its simplest form” the actual blocking of the fetus’s free movement “is just a movement of the universe.”

However, then the fetus does what indeed we all did. Since we were not “wholly” enough to accept this pure energy as simply our energy, our divinity (the consequence of the primary split), we make it “wrong,” we “label” it pain. This, of course, is not conceptual labeling here since concepts do not exist as yet. Rather, it is pure, organismic avoidance/rejection . . . a kind of cosmic mistrust.

Nonetheless, in “labeling” this confinedness in the womb, or “walling-in,” as “wrong” we seek to escape from it into a world of “right.” Therefore, out of the original creation of self and Other or organism and environment—with its concomitant of organism and obstacle (world-obstacle)—we have created the splitting of primary Energy into energy inside and energy coming from outside, into right and wrong, and therewith, pleasure and pain.

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We Create Time to Escape from an Insufferable Now

Furthermore, since we cannot escape pain into space (we cannot move away or out . . . yet), we create another duality: the duality of time—of past and future. The fetus, in that time prior to birth (“up against the wall”), seeks to escape into memories of a sweetness just recently removed. With this move we have created the duality of life and death, of being and nonbeing. We have created nonbeing in that we are trying to escape the Now into the past which is a mere memory, an idea, a reflection only of the Now. Herein we have the beginnings of becoming just an idea.

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Footnote

1. There is much variation here, but it would be distracting to go into it too deeply at this point. Suffice it to say that everyone’s experience in the womb is not so marvelous. Too frequently—and more frequently in modern times with the advent of wide-scale drug use, unwanted pregnancies, and unnatural and chemicalized food supplies—the secondary shutdown-dualism occurs much earlier in pregnancy. The encounter with a “world-obstacle” and a “frustration” of fetal intention can occur even in very early stages of fetal development. In such cases, later womb experience takes on hellish tones and this has far-reaching ramifications throughout all later life.

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Continue with Becoming Separated from Our Bodies at Birth, We Are Separated from Archetypal and Karmic Patterns, from Our Spiritual Selves: An Angel of Death Guards the Gates of Heaven

Return to Womb Existence Is a Separate But Connected State, of Space But Not Time, an Eternal Now: The First Fall From Grace, Part Six — Womb with a View, the Transpersonal Bands of Consciousness

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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The First Fall From Grace, Sperm/Egg and Conception, Part Three — “Theurgic Conception”: The Scattering of the Divine Sparks and Divine Symbiosis

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Before Conception, We Experience Omnipresence and Omnipotence, Knowing We Are Particles of Divinity. In the Womb, We Sense a Euphoric Symbiosis with the Divine

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Divinity “Contracted Himself”

This is the actual coming into form of sperm and egg from undifferentiated reality and infinite potentiality; experientially, the self has “contracted.”

It is also the first “split”—the first creation of something Other than One-Self.

So what I’m proposing about the experiences surrounding conception, I contend, is a better analogue to the mythological Kabbalist depiction of Tzimtzum, contraction, and the thin pipe from Infinity, than is Shoham’s interpretation of it as the umbilical cord and nourishment from the mother.

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The Scattering of the Divine Sparks

Further support for this move in placing these interpretations farther back in time, to that of conception, is given by considering the Kabbalic mythical depiction of the breaking of the vessels and the scattering of the divine sparks. Shoham (1990) tells us,

The myth of the breaking of the vessels relates to the birth-giving mother and the ejection from the womb, whereas the myth of the scattering of the divine sparks, which in Lurianic Kabbala occurs as a result, relates more directly to the neonate himself. The newborn child feels himself to be a precious particle of Divinity, omnipresent and hence omnipotent, because at this stage of his life he cannot be aware of anything or anybody except himself. (p. 36)

In this way Shoham relates a myth of vessels breaking and a related myth of a scattering of divine sparks to the time of birth and the actual delivery. Contrary to what Shoham believes, I think the scattering of the divine sparks is a much more accurate depiction of what we might call “the scattering of the sperm.” For it is always sperm that need to get scattered, widely disseminated, because they do not all survive. Fish fertilization, for example, involves male sperm being scattered over the top of the eggs.

Furthermore, “The newborn child feels himself to be a precious particle of Divinity” (p. 36). Regardless of the truth of that, more obviously we re-create the universe coming into form in the spewing out into form in an ejaculation: There are these hundreds of millions of “sparks” that go out from the father and each one of them is a precious particle of divinity in that each one could create the child.

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Shoham adds, “Omnipresent and hence omnipotent because at this stage of life he cannot be aware of anything or anybody except himself.” Once again, this does not fit with the later time of birth but with conception. For, as we see most clearly further on, at the time of birth and prior to it, the fetus is actually distinctly aware of an Other—distressingly and confrontationally so. Whereas around the time of conception there is that quality of omnipresence and omnipotence (more so at some times than others).

One has created form in the creation of sperm and egg, but one is only slightly removed from godhead; one still thinks oneself to be part of Everything.

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Divine Symbiosis

It is not until one gets farther along in the gestation process that one feels oneself to be truly distinct or is truly aware of the separation that has occurred. This happens with the encounter with the uterine wall during the latter stages of pregnancy. And yet Shoham, in referring to this time of breaking of vessels and scattering of sparks, uses the terms the “theurgic conception” of the Kabbala. He means this in a way much different than biological conception, yet I feel he may unconsciously have revealed the more accurate interpretation. It is interesting how the unconscious will lead us along, manipulating us to reveal the hidden truths, even in the very words that come to mind and despite our conscious intention in their use.

Further support for this interpretation occurs in his use of words after “theurgic conception,” where he is overtly describing events occurring after birth. He writes, ” . . . sees every human act as having an immediate effect on Divinity. This makes for a symbiosis between God and man.” Once again, I believe he has covertly revealed the correct interpretation—in his use of the word symbiosis especially—that this is the time after conception, not after birth. During the intrauterine, post-conception time, there is exactly that quality of closeness to the Divinity. During this “BPM I” time, we have this dialectic going: this flow-in, flow-out between us and the universe, which is reflected physically (biologically) in the flow-in, flow-out between us and the mother through the umbilical cord.

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Continue with Mythology Supports What We Have Learned Experientially — The Release of Sperm and Egg Is the First Removal from Divinity: The Breaking of the Vessels and the First Separation

Return to In the Beginning, the “Thin Pipe From Infinity” … “Emanated Light Into the World”: We Begin with “Contraction” … Biological and Spiritual … How We Tell Ourselves That in Myth

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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Sperm Journey: From Father to Womb

Inside Testes

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Ejaculation: Phoenix Rises from “Ashes”

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Sperm Journey: “Immortal” Dragon Deity.

Feeling of Omnipotence. And Carries Some Personality and “Skandhas” of Mostly Negative, Some Positive, Karma from Previous Life/Lives

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Sperm cell, SEM

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Sperm Journey: “Scattering of Divine Sparks” … The “Brotherhood” of the Sperm

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The Egg’s Perspective of Sperm and the “Magical” Womb

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Sperm Journey End: Sperm Head Explodes and DNA “Package” Delivered

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Early Womb Life

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Continue with Mythology Supports What We Have Learned Experientially — The Release of Sperm and Egg Is the First Removal from Divinity: The Breaking of the Vessels and the First Separation

Return to In the Beginning, the “Thin Pipe From Infinity” … “Emanated Light Into the World”: We Begin with “Contraction” … Biological and Spiritual … How We Tell Ourselves That in Myth

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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We Begin with “Contraction” … Biological and Spiritual … How We Tell Ourselves That in Myth: In the Beginning, the “Thin Pipe From Infinity” … “Emanated Light Into the World”

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The First Fall From Grace, Sperm/Egg and Conception, Part Two — Divinity “Contracted Himself”: “A Line Like a Thin Pipe Extended from Infinity to Create the Worlds.”

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The Thin Pipe From Infinity

Despite his placing the first separation at birth, Shoham (1990) does see that some elements of the mythic projection need to be interpreted farther back in time, into the intrauterine state. He writes,

Before birth, there is the process of pregnancy and the formation of the human fetus to be considered. This, we claim, is depicted mytho-empirically by the Kabbalist dynamic of Tzimtzum (contraction). Rabbi Haim Vital, the foremost disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria and chief exponent of Lurianic Kabbala, describes the process of Tzimtzum:

[Emanating Divinity] contracted Himself, a space round all around was formed. . . . After this contraction, a space was [thus] formed for emanant creatures to be created . . . and a line like a thin pipe extended from Infinity to create the worlds. . . . [T]he pipe line created a round form . . . linked to the emanator (Infinity) by the pipe line only . . . and the line is thin so that it emanates light [livelihood] by measure and ration as needed by the emanant.

This would seem to be a plastic mytho-empirical depiction of the formation of the fetus within the round womb, fed by the umbilical cord stemming from an unknown emanator (to the fetus) in the away and beyond, perceived by the nascent awareness of the fetus and later projected onto mythology as Infinity. (1990, pp. 35-36)

But we see indications going back still farther, to the time surrounding conception, in what Shoham presents here. The earliest events he cites are the formation of the fetus in the womb through the “thin pipe extended from Infinity to create the worlds.” He claims this describes the situation of the fetus in the womb, being fed by the umbilical cord. However, with a slightly altered viewpoint on his depiction, his earliest events take on the characteristics of the earliest events, viz., surrounding conception. This may be either an additional meaning to the myth or the more accurate meaning of the myth, however you choose to consider it (the multilevel quality of myths is well established).

At any rate, consider: In the process of contraction, Tzimtzum, there is this space in which things can be created. I have no quarrel with Shoham that the space described represents the womb. But there is this thin pipe from Infinity extended, the pipeline created around form, linked to the emanator by the pipeline only. Considering the near-universal relation of Infinity to the male (as contrasted with the similarly universal analogues of maternal to the manifest or temporal), I believe a masculine interpretation is warranted. You thus have a masculine Emanator Divinity contracting and being linked to this round place by a thin pipeline.

Then, right in the beginning, Divinity contracted himself. There’s this round form linked to the emanator by the pipeline only. The line is thin so it emanates light, livelihood, measure, and ration as needed by the emanant; and it does so into the round place. A more accurate depiction of sexual intercourse and ejaculation from the viewpoint of the cellular would be hard to find.

There’s a pipeline that’s connected to “Himself” through which He emanates things out into the universe and creates them. According to the tradition, the line emanates light. Are these not the sperm coming out? The energetic sperm, biologically speaking, can be related to sparks of joy or sparks of life—as they have been described experientially.

Yet Shoham writes that this would seem to be a plastic mytho-empirical depiction of the formation of the fetus within the round womb during gestation. From this alternate perspective, however, the thin pipeline is not the umbilical cord. It emanates light from “Himself,” the Father-God—who in reality is the father. Another way of saying: the father ejaculates sperm into the womb. Is not the inside of the penis, taking the sperm’s perspective of course, also to be likened to a thin pipeline?

Shoham writes “fed by the umbilical cord stemming from an unknown emanator.” I believe this is incorrect. This makes the “contraction” be the actual pregnancy; whereas the meaning of contraction is more accurately fitted to the processes, physically, of ejaculation on the part of the father and, spiritually, on the part of the newly created individual going from the Greater Reality into form.

Divinity “Contracted Himself”

This is the actual coming into form of sperm and egg from undifferentiated reality and infinite potentiality; experientially, the self has “contracted.”

It is also the first “split”—the first creation of something Other than One-Self.

So what I’m proposing about the experiences surrounding conception, I contend, is a better analogue to the mythological Kabbalist depiction of Tzimtzum, contraction, and the thin pipe from Infinity, than is Shoham’s interpretation of it as the umbilical cord and nourishment from the mother.

Continue with The Scattering of the Divine Sparks and Divine Symbiosis: The First Fall From Grace, Sperm/Egg and Conception, Part Three — “Theurgic Conception”

Return to Cellular Consciousness and The Chonyid Bardo: “Like a Prodigal Child, I Had Run Away from my Macrocosmic Home and Imprisoned Myself in a Narrow Microcosm.” (Paramahansa Yogananda)

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Continue with The Scattering of the Divine Sparks and Divine Symbiosis: The First Fall From Grace, Sperm/Egg and Conception, Part Three — “Theurgic Conception”

Return to Cellular Consciousness and The Chonyid Bardo: “Like a Prodigal Child, I Had Run Away from my Macrocosmic Home and Imprisoned Myself in a Narrow Microcosm.” (Paramahansa Yogananda)

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More Nestling Up With the Implicate Order, Or Before and After the Western Fall (Split): Tribes and Wonder Versus Civilization and Suffering

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The Priests in the Church Were Keeping Out All the Screaming People, Forcibly Repressing, Refusing to Acknowledge It: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Seven

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(continued from The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review [Footnote 1])

More Nestling Up With the Implicate, Or

Before and After the Western Fall (Split) (June 19, 1992)

This is a holotropic session of this day:

It started out when the music was very rhythmic, and the hands were doing a lot of fertilized-egg kinds of movements and embryonic kind of stuff. And sometimes I was having images of Prague and of inside the city—especially Old Town Square and the towers. [Prague is where the holotropic workshop was being held.]

And I kept having pictures of people who had lived here, and all the suffering that had gone on here, and the striving. I kept picturing the people who had lived and written books and everything, plays and philosophies, inside their little rooms—all the different kinds of lives that people had here [Prague].

I kept picturing Swami [Sathya Sai Baba] and kept saying: “Oh Swami,” as if I were feeling and acknowledging what had gone on here: the feelings and desires, the struggles and the yearnings, and all those human things and feelings that had passed through this place. And I felt sad for all these people, the hardship they had gone through and all the feelings. And then I got up and went to the bathroom.

And when I came back it was just very peaceful. The drumming and everything was just something that was there. And I enjoyed parts of it: There were African parts, and they would have drumming and I would understand what it would be like to be an African person in a tribe.

At one point, however, the African tribe music sounded different or not good. And I had the feeling that this was singing from another tribe, not my own, an enemy tribe or something; I didn’t like it.

And then as it went off into different phases of music I would often feel very good—very interesting and beautiful in a certain way. And then it went into Native American chanting; and I thought that was incredible, that I must have been an indigenous American at one time … just wonderfully beautiful.

And it was either just before or just after that there was this Gregorian-type Church music. And one of the things that I kept having—scenes from Prague going through my head the entire time—and one of the scenes was the inside of a church.

And when the Gregorian music came on, I pictured the inside of that church again. And one of the interesting things was I realized at a certain point that people in the room around me were screaming [they actually were, in reality]—and there was a lot of that going on—and I had this feeling as if—when the Gregorian music was on—that the people in the church, the priests that is, that they had this reality going on in which they were keeping out all the screaming people, they were keeping them all outside the church, trying to repress that, trying to deny the reality of that. And so I felt like I was tuning into the reality of this place: That they [the priests and ecclesiasts] would forcibly try to repress this other element and keep it out of their consciousness, would refuse to acknowledge, let alone deal with it.

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An Afterthought

As many as 30 million women were murdered horribly over a period of 300 years during the middle ages for having any trace of free-mindedness. This was done under the direction of the Catholic Church. They were often burned at the stake.

It is no coincidence that what followed for next four hundred years of Western “civilization” was a pall of Stepford wifery unparalleled among the cultures of humans, which we are only with great difficulty over the last hundred years awakening from.

Yet these forces of repression and murder continue with us today wishing to take us back to such middle age benighted views. They exist in the anti-abortion movement, even among mainstream Republicans, again with women as the direct target. And they exist in the tea party and conspiracy circles, even among some progressives, where feminism and progressive-liberal ideas are called “illuminati” — showing again that free-thinking women and enlightened views will not be tolerated … and will be scapegoated for all the horrors of the 1% and the powers that be, just as they were in the times of Catholic tyranny.

By the way, I’ve been misunderstood if anyone thinks this is just an attack on the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the primary evil then. I mentioned Western civilization. There are many more evil perpetrators today. It is not about blaming any institution. This is a product of our “civilization” and its anti-body, anti-sexual, anti-Nature insanity and the inherent evil of hierarchical societies in general.

Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

Having established the legitimacy of transpersonal aspects of prenatal, and especially cellular, re-experience, it remains to be seen what light this new perspective throws upon traditional formulations. I suggest to you that this perspective is a catalyst to a radical reformulation of traditional concepts of consciousness and development. My understanding is that it supports a view compatible with Eastern, Platonic, and “primitive” philosophical renderings—which can be characterized as Emanationist —and completely undermines the dominant Western evolutionary paradigm. I delineate such a perspective, which I call the Falls from Grace Theory, beginning in the next chapter.

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However, let us first take a look at a sampling of the kinds of experiences and perspectives that are possible at this cellular and prenatal level of re-experience before attempting to see deeper into the structure of consciousness and development, presented immediately afterwards, which contains and makes sense of them. The current chapter—A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness—contains transcripts of cellular/transpersonal experiences I had through the modality of holotropic breathwork. In order to retain the flavor and potency of the raw experience itself, these transcripts are only slightly edited and are from the descriptions of my experiences I recorded immediately after having them.

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Continue with Biology as Metaphor and Mythology, Part One: “The Map Is Not the Territory” and Biological Phases As Levels of Consciousness

Return to The Bliss of Connection with Others … But There Is a Pain in Unexpressed Love: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Six — Womb with a Review

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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There Is Always Grace: A Foray Into Cellular/ Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Three — Life Is a Sickness … for the Purpose of Getting Us Well

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Love Is “Just a Membrane” Away: No Matter How Bad It Gets, There Is Always Something to Keep You Here … to Comfort You When You Really Need It

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chiron_by_summitstudios_thumb0017-chironachillesthetis(continued from We Are Always and Only “Just a Membrane Away” … from Understanding Everything: A Foray Into Cellular/ Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Two — “Juicy Caring” and the Answer to Pain [Footnote 1])

The Real Reasons for Being Alive

541404_132777083566784_1428132205_nAnother thing I was thinking about in the course of my session was what good work this holotropic breathwork is and how—regardless of what I had been thinking about it when I was doing it with Stan Grof a couple of weeks ago—that I feel like this is certainly taking me to all kinds of goddamn places. It’s certainly getting me past where I was in primal, getting me beyond that; so certainly it’s damn good stuff.

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1345645KUAN YIN GODDESS OF COMPASSION,LOVE & MERCYI mean I just kept thinking that this is something that reminds people of the real reasons for being alive; and if that’s not important, nothing is. But, if nothing else, I sure as hell felt: it works! The music was great; it did all kinds of wonderful things to me, taking my mind into all kinds of incredible places; it was almost like being stoned or like being on acid.

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Cosmic Frown

images (3)jesus20at20gethsemaneI remember thinking at one point about Mary Lynn and the cat and the dog that I had when I was a kid. I was thinking about how much pain there is in angry dadexistence, and how my life has been in pain. For example, there was one time when my face just angry-dad1went into this incredible frown, and I was crying and crying after the frown happened. I began to realize how that was my essence: this Frown, a big part of me—there’s just so much sadness in my life. I was thinking about what just happened recently with my father and all kinds of stuff. There was just so much sadness.

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But There Is Always Grace

487085_405457372846821_2017737770_n199706_344732748948898_302708152_n_thumbI was grieving hugely for that, and then I was also thinking about how there were also things in my life that were good—like Mary Lynn and the cat. And I was thinking about our trailer, and about the kind of a life I have now, the cozy times we have. And then I was thinking about how there was that dog when I was younger, various cats, and so on. And I was thinking about that time in Puttaparthi when that cat came to me, and I realized how there had always been something—that no matter how much pain there was, there was never too much pain. That’s when I got into the feelings about the membrane, or maybe that wasn’t when I got into those feelings.

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Life Is a Sickness … to Get Us Well

occupydenver-2_thumbIt was as if your needs are taken care of in some way or other. Life really was a sickness. But the sickness was for the purpose of you getting eventually healthy, that you weren’t given more sickness than you could handle; there was always something to alleviate the pain, to enable you to continue on; that you would always be able to stay one step above the “pit” so to speak. You would be kept above it.

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The Fact That You Only Get as Much as You Can Handle Is Evidence of the Divine in Life

Your purpose here was not to be “tortured” or irrevocably damaged by pain—it was to be able to learn from pain, but mercifully so, so there was always something to keep you here and to comfort you when you really needed it. And I was feeling like that was God’s evidence in our lives, that He’s always just a membrane away making sure it doesn’t get too extreme here.

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Joyful Compassion

kwanyin10034-chironwoundedOne last thing I should mention is that after this final crying during my breathing session—about all these people in my life and my connection with them and that juicy feeling I had when I was a kid caring for everybody, really wishing I could do something to help all my family, and not feeling that I was helpless, but really caring, really wanting to help—well there was this feeling of huge compassion, and it was a good feeling. I mean it was actually joyful—it’s hard to describe.

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A Place on Which to Stand

p105606_2387765_308339679179024_203799022966424_1348799_1719099873_nBut anyway after that I was left with this huge, very deep feeling of relaxation like I have rarely experienced, if ever. And I didn’t want to come out of it. I lay there for a while after that feeling like I was an energy field, especially in my hands. I felt like a locked-in energy field just buzzing, and I didn’t want to come back. I was so calm, not in pain, so comfortable that I felt like I wanted to keep this feeling with me always; it would be a wonderful place to come from in the world, to have inside me, to stand on, from which to view the world …

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Continue with Past Lives, Other Lives, and The Vast Hole of the “Not the Tribal”: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Four — Sidling Up to the Implicate Order

Return to We Are Always and Only “Just a Membrane Away” … from Understanding Everything: A Foray Into Cellular/ Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Two — “Juicy Caring” and the Answer to Pain

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Footnote

1. Cellular/ Transpersonal Experiences

Having established the legitimacy of transpersonal aspects of prenatal, and especially cellular, re-experience, it remains to be seen what light this new perspective throws upon traditional formulations. I suggest to you that this perspective is a catalyst to a radical reformulation of traditional concepts of consciousness and development. My understanding is that it supports a view compatible with Eastern, Platonic, and “primitive” philosophical renderings—which can be characterized as Emanationist —and completely undermines the dominant Western evolutionary paradigm. I delineate such a perspective, which I call the Falls from Grace Theory, beginning in the next chapter.

246489_213601765436874_1705444143_n

However, let us first take a look at a sampling of the kinds of experiences and perspectives that are possible at this cellular and prenatal level of re-experience before attempting to see deeper into the structure of consciousness and development, presented immediately afterwards, which contains and makes sense of them. The current chapter—A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness—contains transcripts of cellular/transpersonal experiences I had through the modality of holotropic breathwork. In order to retain the flavor and potency of the raw experience itself, these transcripts are only slightly edited and are from the descriptions of my experiences I recorded immediately after having them.

269823_220951214701929_2125157710_n

Continue with Past Lives, Other Lives, and The Vast Hole of the “Not the Tribal”: A Foray Into Cellular/Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Four — Sidling Up to the Implicate Order

Return to We Are Always and Only “Just a Membrane Away” … from Understanding Everything: A Foray Into Cellular/ Transpersonal Consciousness, Part Two — “Juicy Caring” and the Answer to Pain

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The Psyche Heals Itself … If Only Allowed to Do So: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Thirteen — The Agonies and Ecstasies of Exquisiteness

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“The Only Way Out Is All the Way In”: The Eye of the Hurricane, The Cosmic Adventure, and Being Here … Why Would Reality Not Be Real?

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Such it is that we can be in the midst of life, fully experiencing it, and yet be aware of its illusionary quality, hence be unattached to it and more able to flow with it. Let us say “Zorba the Buddha.”

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The Eye of the Hurricane

From this view we see that it is our attitude toward intense experiences, not whether or not we have them, that is important. The I Ching addresses this in the hexagram, “The Arousing (Shock/Thunder)”: “[T]he shock causes no loss, because one takes care to stay in the center of the movement and in this way to be spared the fate of being tossed hither and thither” (p.200).

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“The Only Way Out Is All the Way In”

18108_519324861411937_1438199268_nOne is reminded of Heider’s statement that new members of a group may be badly frightened in viewing another member who, in the midst of catharsis, feels no feelings of fear about it (1974, p.37). Or, as one primaler put it, “It is not feeling one’s feelings that is really painful” (cf. Janov, 1970, pp. 98-99). Thus, by plunging in and surrendering to it, one can be aware of a calm center within the chaos that is imperceptible on the periphery. Or, in another primaler’s words, “The only way out is all the way in.”

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Again, Be the Observer

230px-NatarajaHAforsaleThus, it is a matter of whether or not we get caught up in intense experiences and make them part of a personal drama … “acting out” is the primal way of saying it … or we simply allow them to flow through us. In the first case, we give these feelings a status in our lives they do not deserve and increase the time required to work through them; in the second, we maintain an attitude as of a channel for experience, not an originator of it.

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Cosmic Adventure

In this regard, we note Grof’s statement that at advanced levels of transpersonal experience, beyond ego death and rebirth, “it becomes . . . a cosmic adventure in consciousness aimed at solving the riddles of personal identity, human existence, and the universal scheme” (1980, p. 215). Or in other words, we still carry water, but we are not attached to it.

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Process Is Process

Therefore, I am saying that much has been made of a difference between primal and meditation for what is primarily a difference in technique. Both can be seen as ways of attuning us to a spiritual/growth process that is common to us all, affecting our daily happenings and the life choices and directions we take in either direct or distorted fashion.

Meditation Is Technique. It Is not the Process Itself

For meditation the confusion seems to have arisen from viewing it as the sole means to growth, rather than simply a means to get in touch with a process that is growthful both inside and outside of meditation. And when we open up, what arises always is different from what we expect and includes all sorts of phenomena and experiences, all linked to our growth and resolving our blocks.

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Primal Aids Learning Surrender

Likewise, an important benefit of primal is that it can teach us an attitude of surrender to process. That we can throw ourselves, time and again, into the maelstrom of catharsis and still, somehow, be upheld and even embraced, despite ourselves, gives us confidence in a beneficent universe and allows us to foster surrender in our attitudes to the pushes and pulls of process as it makes itself known to us in our daily life.

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Being Here

Both meditation and primal can be seen as techniques to help us “be” where we are “at.” And to be most fully where we are means to be most fully in process. So it is just that at times they employ different means to get us in touch with the underlying flow that is the epigenetic protagonist of healing and creation, growth and transcendence.

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And once attuned to process, one can “be here” while working, walking, primaling, or engaging in “zazen”; it then becomes ludicrous to talk of different techniques or different levels of growth. Ultimately, when we are “on track” the process takes over, leading us onward to more encompassing realms, regardless of how we get on track.

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Evidence for this is given by meditation research as cited by Earle (1981). Although physiological correlates differ with different techniques at beginning levels, later stages show a convergence of the correlates.

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The Psyche Heals Itself

… If Allowed to Do So

There are striking similarities in the descriptions of the deep-level growthful experiences found in the spiritual literature, the psychedelic literature, the ethnographic literature, and in some of our primal reports. But what we find, in primal anyway, is that the psyche “heals” itself, if only allowed to do so, and in a way that is reminiscent of the way the body does. And so it is not so surprising that the manner in which it does so would be so similar in different places, at different times, and using different techniques for allowing it.

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Why Would Reality Not Be Real?

It is equally not surprising that we should find examples of spiritual phenomena occurring during primaling or “primal” phenomena occurring during meditation, or either occurring under LSD. For why would we expect to have anything but a common heritage and for reality to be other than itself? Is it not only our dichotomizing mind that construes such dualities to obscure and make more difficult the path that we commonly tread, that tragically serves to neutralize the compassion and interrelatedness that we would otherwise feel?

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The Agonies and Ecstasies of Exquisiteness

The point being made is that the primal process of which we speak is the same as the spiritual process. Both catharsis and calmness are natural parts of the same flow, mingling and alternating with each other, and emanating from each other, sometimes in a linear way. This flow is a natural process of creation that encompasses both types of phenomena, the agonies and ecstasies of existence, and harmonizes all of reality, both internal and external, in a pattern that is unique for every individual and oriented toward one’s patient unfolding in the path of exquisiteness.

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Summary of “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality”

Contrary to Janov’s assertion that spiritual experience is derivative of primal pain, there is evidence that primalers are encountering transpersonal phenomena at a deeper level of the primal process. I relied on my experiences and those of other long-term primalers, along with the evidence of meditation and LSD research and the current spiritual literature, in proposing an alternative explanation of the relationship between catharsis and spiritual process in which they are seen as complementary, not opposed, processes.

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At a certain level of the spiritual process “primal-type” experiences often occur, no matter how interpreted. A primal-type therapy, therefore, can be an invaluable, perhaps indispensable, aid in higher consciousness. Primal therapy reduces the symbolic clutter and cerebral “noise” that characteristically obscure the perception of spiritual realities. It thereby enables spiritual access that would be unavailable to some people conceived into less than ideal life situations. Beyond the primal-type levels of the spiritual process, deeper levels are encountered that do not give indications of containing elements of repressed pain or need, and that can be accurately termed transpersonal.

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Therefore, primal therapy and meditation represent an identity of ends and an antithesis of means. Both catharsis and meditation are techniques to help us to “be” where we are “at” and thereby to be more fully in a “process” that transcends techniques. For “when we are ‘on track,’ the process takes over, leading us onward to more encompassing realms, regardless of how we get ‘on track.'”

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Continue with The Spirituality of Cells and Seeds of Light in Every Darkness: All the Things We Do in Life Are Distant Reflections of Our Earliest Life as Cells

Return to Enlightenment as an Attitude of Adventuring … Eventually It Is Simply About Staying Open to Experience/Process: A Primal Perspective, Part Twelve — Zorba the Buddha

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Zorba the Buddha: Enlightenment as an Attitude of Adventuring … Eventually It Is Simply About Staying Open to Experience/Process

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Ecstasy Is Intensity … Catharsis and Calmness in Spirituality: Spock Should Hardly Have Been the Poster Child for Mysticism … What’s so “Alive” About Acting Like a Machine?  292766_217737858356598_441894144_n

images (1)eastwoodSpock is hardly a role model for spirituality … quite the opposite. Do you not think it awfully convenient that the role models for mysticism promulgated in the media—Unfeeling Machine Men—would be exactly what totalitarian societies want to create?

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The Big Primal ~ Instant Satori

Buddha enlightenmentAnother perspective on this subject is suggested by Heider (1974). He says that an emphasis on catharsis is rooted in “a model of growth and transcendence based on the concept of the sudden satori” (p.41), which is considered unrealistic. It is true that this situation existed among many primalers. Many of us initially, and in line with Janov’s assertions, did assume this dependence on and/or expectation of the “big primal”: 297289_219836374813413_1020054870_nthe primal that would make it all different and change our lives forever. In fact, letting go of this expectation began to be seen as a mark distinguishing advanced from beginning primalers. More experienced primalers began to see primal as a tool, not an end in itself. We began to see ourselves as growing and living both inside and outside of our primaling, and to see feelings as going on all the time, not just when we were lying down and “catharting.”

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…if we do not “be” with our illusions, we cannot know them…

The initial confusion, however, is understandable, considering the inaccurate impression engendered by the early primal that all feeling that is not primaling is somehow unreal. jesus20at20gethsemaneThis myth serves to negate all that passes through one and all that one feels between primal experiences. Janov was trying to make a point, and an important one at that: Much of what goes on inside one’s self is, in fact, elements of primal complexes and therefore is not accurate perceptions of self, others, and world. But an important facet to this is that it remains important to “be” with all that material, whether objectively valid or not, in order that one may link it all together and have the connections and insights that can occur during those catalyzing events called primals. For if we do not “be” with our illusions, we cannot know them. Hence, how can we discard them?

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Certainly the awesomeness of some forms of catharsis, the energy release involved, helps one to downplay the significance of the in-between times. But subsequently such plateau or calm spots, preparation or postcathartic periods, even the activities of our daily life, took on an importance previously unacknowledged. We began to understand that it is not a matter of catharsis for catharsis’s sake, or just of emptying one’s “Primal Pool,” in Janov’s terms.

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In that sense I am in agreement with Heider’s (1974, p. 41) direction in leaving an emphasis on catharsis and beginning “to rely heavily upon spiritual disciplines, both as preparation for the release of tension and as a maintenance program designed to enhance and prolong the desirable effects of the encounter experience.” For, using meditation in the sense that Rajneesh (1976) does, that of being with where one is in the here and now, it makes perfect sense to me that a spiritual regimen can and should be used during the in-between times to help us to stop and be aware of the continuing process within us, if that is what it takes.

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Being Where One Is

An important sidelight, however, is that for many primalers this sort of structuring may be unnecessary. As mentioned, the results of primaling, in the postcathartic period, may be the same as the results of meditation. Consequently, for many advanced primalers access is only too apparent during the between times. Therefore, to “be” where one is often only requires that we leave off avoiding, through distracting ourselves in work, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, and various other ways, the primal/spiritual process that continues within us between sessions. At this point it becomes a matter of staying open to Experience/Process, allowing it to flow through and teach us.

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Meditation Can Be Anti-Spiritual

In fact, there is the known danger in using a spiritual technique that it can be used to defend against “process.” As Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 145) put it, “Meditation experiences may be used in both adaptive and defensive ways.” And a meditation that is used solely to force us into relaxation or into a concentration with a specific focus as a way to defend against “process” and the occasional peaks and valleys that are part of it would, in my opinion, be antiprimal, indeed would be antispiritual, antimystical, antigrowth.

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Zorba the Buddha

The-Atonement-of-Jesus-Christ-Landing-2011-01-24Therefore, in general I agree with Heider’s shift in emphasis away from catharsis and to the postcathartic period, but not nearly to the extent to which he apparently has. For I do not see a need to “transcend” catharsis or go “beyond” it as he does. Certainly Grof, Muktananda, E23439Pic13374and others would concur that even the outer reaches of transpersonal experience do not entail a cessation of conflict, resolution, growing, and learning. Similarly, Epstein and Leiff (1981, p. 144) have pointed out that “meditation can be viewed as a developmental process which can produce side effects anywhere along the continuum,” and so one would wonder why we would leave off catharsis as a tool for dealing with such blocks.

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Ecstasy Is Intensity … What is so Alive About Being Machine-Like?

asfadfa553096_245884038875313_518942495_nI should point out that the experience of nearly all primalers is that the need to cathart becomes less as time goes on. But additionally, I do not see a need to posit a point beyond catharsis, for I do not see anything wrong with catharsis, with enjoying the capacity to experience intensity of ecstasy, desolation, or insight. It seems to me that this capacity can add color and vitality to our lives. Indeed, it may be that which, at times, makes us feel we are alive!

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It Wouldn’t Be “Up” if You Never Came “Down” from It

475px-rembrandt_christ_in_the_storm_on_the_sea_of_galilee-web_thumbBut Heider certainly does find something wrong with catharsis, and our differences bring up an important point. He points out that he left off inducing catharsis because of post cathartic depression that would ensue. it is my opinion that occasional catharsis can have just that sort of effectGrofChristStan_StormySearchicon if we acknowledge the depths of primal and perinatal phenomena extending all the way back through birth and womb material. Therefore, anything short of a thorough working through of these deeper levels always will leave one susceptible to relapses, postcathartic depressions, and return of symptoms in that these catharses represent further access as well as resolution.

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Enlightenment as an Attitude of Adventuring

To that extent, I believe that Heider has not gone far enough with catharsis to those areas where the most substantial gains can be made … although even then we can expect”relapses”happiness if we employ the model that Grof, among others, presents of “enlightenment” being an attitude toward the process of becoming, of adventuring deeper into the cosmos, rather than a static serene state of inaction. Grof has shown us how deep one often must go before one can expect real resolution; or, in other words, just how deep within us, and how far into our past, the roots of our present concerns extend.

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Spock is Hardly a Role Model for Spirituality

we-seek-to-keep-out-these-filthy-others448 Saint Spock webA passage from the I Ching may help to clarify this point. It is possible that because of our Appolonian Western heritage we have a tendency to view an unaffected, somehow undisturbable state … as in our common conceptions of the results of meditation … as a goal. But not all cultures and spiritual disciplines posit it as such. In the Wilhelm/Baynes classic translation of the ancient work it is written,

While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement” (p.201).

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Apparently, an unmovable state is seen as neither desirable nor possible; it is indicative of death rather than greater life.

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It continues further on:

True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward.

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In this way rest and movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life.

ShivaShaktiWhen a man has thus become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed for understanding the great laws of the universe and for acting in harmony with them.

Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.

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Such it is that we can be in the midst of life, fully experiencing it, and yet be aware of its illusionary quality, hence be unattached to it and more able to flow with it. Let us say “Zorba the Buddha.”

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Continue with The Agonies and Ecstasies of Exquisiteness: A Primal Perspective on Spirituality, Part Thirteen — The Psyche Heals Itself … If Only Allowed to Do So

Return to Science Has Uncovered Something Subtler Than the Physical, Undergirding One’s Life, and Interconnected with All and Everyone: Deeper, and Higher, Spiritual Realities

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