Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beginning the ascent

In his Mount Analogue, René Daumal describes explorers who, having successfully arrived at the base of the mountain, become distracted by preparations. They discuss their impending journey, buy supplies, draw maps, wait for better weather and the time passes and passes. They do not begin to climb, their plans remain plans. Eventually a crisis is reached. Only then is the gulf between theory and practice bridged.

What delays us from beginning our climb? perhaps it is a question of energy - focused attention requires much energy. And so the whole notion of energy becomes an important one - how it is generated and spent, how it might relate to the mystery of consciousness.

The body accumulates a finite amount of energy through food and sleep. This energy is expended in our daily activities, both those of the body and those of the mind. But on a closer look, it seems we use far more energy than these tasks alone require, we enjoy no surplus energy even when our physical labours are minimal.

So where is this extra energy going? If I am observant I may notice that my body is almost never relaxed. My jaw is tensed or I hold the muscles in my face. I may fidget, wiggle my toes or furrow my brow. I continually use more force than is needed - gripping the steering wheel of a car or tensing my upper body when walking. Most of the time I am completely unaware of this. I pour a huge amount of energy into these unconscious tensions all the time. This is the first way that I unconsciously expend my stored energy.

If I go deeper into this question, I may notice that my emotions and thoughts consume almost as much energy as the body. Particularly negative emotions - everyone has felt how exhaustion always follows outbursts of anger or fits of tears, these are the extreme examples. But anxiety and depression, obsessions and compulsions, also consume large amounts of energy. Conversely, it seems that some positive emotions create energy in us - this could be an illusion.

One only has to stop one's thoughts for a few minutes - by meditation, contemplation, listening to silence, or by other means - to experience the contrast in the amount of energy used. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a connection between nondirected thought and tensions in the body. When the mind is wandering the body becomes mechanically tense - consciously directing attention to the body relaxes it again.

We use our energy, then, to carry out our daily activities and, also, for the mechanical, wholly unconscious habits of the body, emotions and mind. And, as a result of these 'leaks', we do not have the requisite energy to put our ideas into practice. Without a more economical use of energy it is likely that our question about consciousness will remain theory only - we will stand at the base of the mountain and never attempt the ascent.

Perhaps there are ways of increasing energy levels - but perhaps this question is unnecessary. We waste so much force each day through unconscious muscle tensions, the expression of negative emotions, through nondirected thought, through uncontrolled speaking and so on, that simply reducing these 'leaks' will effectively give us more energy. And we need this energy to begin to unfold the question of consciousness - because this is not an abstract question but a practical one.

It is valueless to simply accumulate data about consciousness - this must be understood, lived. We have to know, to feel, when we are just automatically articulating data we have collected about something. When we speak from real understanding it has a different quality - quieter, calmer. We must learn to to cultivate silence in ourselves - silence of the body, silence of the mind and the emotions. Then we are no longer like colanders, pouring out our energy unconsciously. We become instead like coiled springs - the body is relaxed and the attention focused - our energy held in reserve for conscious tasks rather than unconscious ones. Wild animals have this quality about them - humans usually don't.

I propose the following methods by which one can try to stem the unconscious use of energy, there are probably many more I've not thought of:

1. bringing attention to the body through daily meditation, contemplation or sensing exercises (possibly also through tai chi or martial arts, yoga)
2. reducing the unnecessary force used for physical tasks as well as unconscious physical habits
3. attempting to consciously control the expression of negative emotions
4. attempting to rise above the stream of nondirected thought and to limit the expression of that stream in words
5. bringing as much silence into our lives as possible - actively seeking out silence.

There is a time for planning and a time for climbing the mountain. To begin to climb requires courage, honesty and strength - all these things require energy. Where will our extra energy come from?


  1. The question of energy for the ascent is a critical one for me personally. I've been in something of a fugue state for some time - drained of necessary energy by many of the things you mention, H.K. Ill health, busyness, negative emotions and the energy it takes to convert or divert those, the chaos of scattered thought and the energy required to bring some clarity to those. It seems to me that even inertia takes energy though that would seem to fly in the face of physical laws - "a body at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by some force, etc." Sometimes, I am energized by intangibles - love, beauty, connection - and those perhaps I do find in silence. But at other times, are we not acted upon, moved from our inertia, energized by words, conversation, dialogue that are fuel, energy for the soul, the spirit, the "I" we seek to discover? Having gathered all our maps, equipment, supplies at the base camp, will it help us at all to just sit and meditate at the foot of the mountain? Or do we not have to move in the direction of the peak and believe that we will be exhilarated by the climb itself? The explorer, to my knowledge, never climbs alone - or it's a very foolish explorer who tries to. I climb, trusting that when my energy flags, when I lose sight of the peak, that one of my fellow explorers will have an "energy bar" in his/her backpack and words of encouragement that re-energize me. I firmly believe that the energy of which you speak is the source energy into which we all tap but must allow to travel back and forth on the currents of connection between fellow travelers, else the "battery" dies or the circuit breaker blows. Maybe that happens best in silence but maybe it doesn't.

  2. This is a fantastic question. Just some thoughts. I want to absorb this a little more before going to far. My immediate thought is that we have limitless energy but through living in the false self have separated ourselves from it. It is still there and available. I would like to come back to this.

    As for why we start so late, my thought is that it is you are born without a false sense of self. We are taught by our parents to have one. Given a name which further strengthens the false self. If you look at a child, there are no beliefs which is why they can solve so many things so easily. They have not be taught yet to limit they're thinking, they have no need to be right, etc. The are born without ego's. Kids feel like they can't be hurt, they're free until we teach them otherwise. Each year/moment of life we put more bricks in their pockets, more walls around them, more obstacles in their paths, more rules, more emotions, teach them about time (which I don't believe exists). Strip off their superman capes and send them to school to be intelligent when (forgive me) I think they were already born more intelligent coming from the all knowing. But we teach them our version of intelligence. I think that we do to them and what they were born with what space does to the human body, it atrophies, loses energy. I think its entirely possible that what we have come to believe as the 'right' way to live is simply not conducive to our primary purpose. If you accept that your primary purpose is to gain/maintain consciousness/awareness then your secondary purpose should align with that. I would say ours does not, our jobs, our lives many times do not align with realization of being/God. So after time we either totally lost contact with being and reach death unknowing or through some event or tragedy it sparks awareness or possibly if gaining enough awareness to realize there is something more, etc., start to search. Just some ideas, again I would like to come back.

  3. Also, just to clarify when I speak of intelligence I mean the 'knowing' that comes from being. I mean no disrespect to formal education or educators. Please forgive me as I might have followed my first thought and waited before I wrote that and perhaps worded it better.

  4. Dear Lianne,
    You raise two excellent points - firstly that we are also drained by inertia, that our inertia consumes force. This is undeniably true and something I need to think about more. I wonder why this happens? what laws govern it. But you have discovered something very interesting indeed. And, secondly, that we receive energy from the climb itself, from our companions - that we can lend each other energy for the question. Yes, that is another undeniably true observation. We can't sit in silence all the time, no argument about that - nevertheless, some silence is also necessary I think. Silence can become an inner state too. Thanks so much for these thoughts - there are unexplored avenues here!

  5. Dear Anthony,
    Yes, I quite agree. Education does not educate. We pass on our mechanicalness, our prejudices, our deification of thought over all other intelligence . . . we divide our children internally. In better conditions perhaps we would not have become so fragmented. I'm not sure how limitless our energy is, but I would agree that for all practical purposes it should be more than sufficient. And I also agree that we are cut off from the source of it. The energy that we do manage to accumulate is quickly lost and we are left feeling intellectually and emotionally depleted. This is a very real problem that requires a pragmatic solution. I believe it can be solved, or at least that the problem can be reduced. Thanks for your thoughts on this!

  6. I didn't mean to imply that silence is not necessary. I do believe that it is - it's the space wherein we "recharge" the batteries, that allows us to be open to the currents of energy available to us as well as the space from which we send that energy out to fellow travelers.

    Like Anthony, I think the source energy is limitless but our understanding of how to tap into it, use it, share it, IS limited. Formal education may be responsible for that to a greater or lesser degree, exalting thought over other means of exchange, suppressing the instinctive sense of self with which we are born. And yet, are we so enamored of the "natural human" - a la Jean Jacques Rousseau - that we forget that even as children, before formal education begins, we learn, we become more self-aware, gradually coming to a "knowledge" of differentiation between self and others? Would the infant, the toddler, the child, left to fend entirely for itself, ever really develop that consciousness of "being" - the meta-awareness of which we are speaking here? Perhaps I'm a bit defensive about "education" because even though I recognize the very serious drawbacks that H.K. has identified here, I do have to acknowledge that I'd not be able or willing to participate in this discussion - this vital discussion - without it!

  7. @Lianne
    I'm not sure that you wouldn't still participate Lianne, even without education. Not to minimize education but having to have a level of education would seem to (in a of itself) imply that you need 'something' before you can become aware. Perhaps I'm holding onto a concept here but I don't feel there could be anything that one must have. If so privileged people would have a leg up so to speak. I believe that the one thing it takes is awareness, however it does seem that with some people and in some cases it 'happens' and they don't know why. Quite a few of the cases it seems there is some traumatic effect, a near death, or something which removes the ego/false selves.

    Education, sports, athletics or any other thing we might want to achieve is fine as long as we don't create an identity with it. Education is good and of course makes it easier in many ways here but my thought is it is not 'necessary' for awareness. My thought is that the moment you identify with it you create yet another self from it. Now I'm smarter than him, I know more than they do. It would seem the ego is always measuring and either happy because we have more or more than likely creating the feeling that there is always one more book, one more tape, if I could just learn one more thing then I could do X. So in the end it is the attachments we make that is the problem. Me the weightlifter, me the Basketball player. I believe in the light of awareness those false selves would dissolve.

    I think you have described stillness/silence. Though still hard for me sometimes, I do spend quite a bit of time in silence. I also do feel quite energized from it, even healing in many ways and I'm sure I've barely scratched the surface. I like how you described it as also a language because it does yes seem to speak to me in a way that is not usual to me. I believe it is many things I have yet to feel but will make every effort to. I am excited about this discussion and I'm glad to be part of it. Great discussion all.

  8. @Hsien-ku
    Sorry, I meant to write "I think you have described stillness/silence perfectly".

  9. In the context of stillness/silence the ratio is backwards for me. In that where much is chaos and I visit silence, where I would propose that it should be the other way. If we can get to the point where we are always still/silent and only visit thought when we need it. Meditation of course does help, but I believe a walking meditation/awareness would be needed to stay in silence. It seems we always want to do, when perhaps doing is not what is needed. I know I expend a lot of energy either complaining about how things are instead of accepting (denying the now) or trying to change it at all costs. I'm not happy here because I want to be there. That moment is going to be better than this one. The whole concept of 'waiting', all these things go away when you live in the now. So much of my energy is misspent. The list you have above is really important. I would like to come back to this again.

  10. Hello :)
    These are the exact things I have been actively working on in the past few months: sensing the body/breathing into the body, and by this, understanding what that means. Understanding can only be found by the many roads leading up to it. One can read a thing--specifically a heavy/thick body of work, written with many layers: this is why G says read this three times, each time another level of understanding, specifically found at the "right" time, if one has not left the path leading to the third read.
    Also, the self observation. My task for the past few weeks has been taking two, 10 minute blocks of time each day to self observe intently. this seems like a small thing (I am just beginning, remember, so to some, this may seem a small measure) but for me--for where i am now, this has made a huge difference in my understanding of many things. I managed to do this almost each day, and some days (a few times) went on for longer spaces of time--30 minutes or so, in which I, without intent, held that slippery thread. and I felt that engery grow like an expanding light in my belly, radiating outwards to the tips of me--perhaps beyond, I do not know. but the difference is that, as opposed to the other times was remarkable. and when I was not doing this excerise, I was aware of my self much of the day, and when sleep took me, I found my way back not too long after--or at least, not as long after as before I began this excersise.
    the other thing I have been doing this past week is trying actively to keep any energy/will gained or renewed energy for myself--becoming the egoist, as G said. I was the one who gave away what little I had to so many--mostly strangers (sad old men at the side of the raod alone; dead animals, praying for them; surrounding other with light--protecting or healing) and I understand now, that this was illusion; how can I give away that which i do not possess? or how can I be helping anyone, until I help myself? My goal, one day, is to be able to do these things...but first, I must do for myself: it cannot be any other way. now, I understand, and probably not fully yet either, but for where i am, I understand this.
    as well as watching, and holding in many negative emotions; and observing myself when i forget: by body, my breath, the I...has been amazing.
    and as far as education goes, I a a high school grad. that's it. any study has been on my own time and terms; and even then, I intuit more than I can say I actually "know" from formal study. I feel if one is to find this path, there will be that one centemeter of chance window...either one will see it? or one will not. the rest is up to you. but that window is a miracle in and of itself. where does that window begin and why--this is the question i have.
    thank you all for listening, and for enlightening me with these discussions.

  11. oh yes, and as always, please pardon any typos, my laptop keyboard is mad. :)

  12. There was no email address so I'm posting this as a comment. Please remove after reading so as not to distract from your page.



    This is a selective invite to a new forum. By 'selective' it means that those whom I have sent this invitation to is because I found something interesting with their writing and fields of interest on their website, blog, or from somewhere else and sometimes it was just the feeling I got between the lines that I thought they might be interested in this type of forum.

    It's called, Nowhere Forum and whenever convenient please visit to have a look and read the introduction, "Welcome to Nowhere Forum" in the 'Center' section to get an idea of the intent for it. It has been been online for over three months now and has 32 participants thus far. There's no rush to fill it up with names or postings, the premise is somewhat different than other forums and the reasons for that are also noted in the intro.

    Though this invitation can be regarded as a solicitation for registrants, my personal attitude is more that I'm letting some individuals know of a place on the map and they can decide for themselves if it suits their itineraries. :)

    (By the way, the extra energy could possibly come from the particular level achieved. This is also related to the idea that we die when the physical body can no longer handle the newer energies in our evolution. New energies, new experience in which to use them.)

    Thank You and Best Wishes


  13. Thanks Kristin, Anthony and Lianne,

    A visitor to the blog left this insightful comment but it seems to have disappeared from the thread. I've cut and pasted it from my email notification because it seemed pertinent to our discussion:

    "By the way, the extra energy could possibly come from the particular level achieved. This is also related to the idea that we die when the physical body can no longer handle the newer energies in our evolution. New energies, new experience in which to use them."

    This is something to consider too - that the accumulation of energy created through a combination of stopping the "leaks" in the way we've spoken of already, and generating new energy in the way Lianne has pointed out (comradery or positive emotions), may cause a change of level: a new consciousness. And this new state itself might generate energy - just as a fire requires a spark only in the beginning. Food for thought . . .

  14. @Kristin
    Its good to hear you are making progress. I have been doing similar things. Fortunately for me my job allows for a lot of quiet and silence. My office is in the basement of the building and it is extremely quiet. This allows me to access or become aware of the silence throughout the day. I think that it is exciting that we are seeing progress out of the very things that Hsien-ku has listed.

    That is a very interesting point about energy level. One of the things I ran across years ago was many studies on how vibration changes matter. I have often heard that through alignment of chakras or energy centers that you can raise the vibration levels of the body. The study showed that using colloidal powder on a tin sheet and applying different levels of vibration caused the powder to change into mathematically perfect fractal patterns ( To tie this into our topic, maintaining a level of stillness/silence perhaps may allow us to align or closer align with our true essence which might be at a different frequency but align us with more energy. There is a huge amount that can be discussed when it comes to quantum physics and our topics. I don't want to derail us so I will wait until that might come into our discussion.

  15. One of the things I wanted to finish a thought on was adding to false selves. Whether it is money, acedemics, athletics, or popularity it is of relative benefit at best (my thoughts here). Being the fastest, or smartest, or richest might mike your life here marginally better but I don't think it has any true value in the context of being. If you are the fastest you will some day be slower, etc. If you are rich, you might live in a bigger house and be a bit more comfortable but it would not get you to awareness or being. In fact I believe that is why so many rich people are unhappy. Once you realize that you have the money to get anything you want and you're still not happy where do you go. The answer at that point is drugs, alter your reality. It would seem the worlds purpose is to turn you inward. If everyone were good looking, rich, smart, lucky and popular you might never seek God. Many people think the world is somehow going to make things 'turn out right'. In the end the world is already 'right' or more acurately 'as it should be'. I think one of the primary gotcha's is looking 'out there'. As has been pointed out here, it is inside of us that we need to explore. I don't believe the answer is out there. While reading more books, dvd's might be fun I don't believe it will lead you to 'knowing'. I don't believe it can, it is part of the false self. Only by going inward do we find the truth. Awareness of our bodies is key, maybe even the only key. This also for me ties into more, the ego would always have you looking for more. I believe awareness will allow you to see there is nothing you need. One last point has to do with the methods we are using, while I believe 100% they are the right methods, they are in fact methods. To help us we are putting something between us finding or being aware of our true essence/being. At some point we will have to release these methods, the won't be necessary but will get in the way, in the way that training wheels would to a child that has already learned how to ride. They are pointers to the truth, not the truth. I hope that does not confuse things. For now there is no doubt they are helping me.

  16. As luck would have it, I misspelled academics. Like Kristin please excuse my typos.

  17. From Jim:

    From my experience/study/self observation energy is empowering different identity states at different times. Look at chinese medicine, and you will see that the organs have a clock, 11-1pm the greater chi is in the heart channel, 3-5pm is the bladder etc. The psychological expression of the organ, the identity, survival mechanism is highlighted then ie the nasty restrictive bladder may be more moticeable at 3:30 in the afternoon, the moralising heart more before lunch.

    This is not the only clock, there are more sophisticated organisations of chi and earth time that reveal the specific cause of the identities if you are trained to listen or notice them in others. Energy is a singular force, but has multiple expressions and applications. We tend to have a naivete and say “all wasted energy is the same” but not really examine the intricate differences between how it occurs. When you have the freedom to say “Oh that is my bladder reacting” or “my liver is getting cranky”, a new level of consideration opens up. The best way to understand your mechanical nature is to see how the clock is built.
    Energy is sort of halfway between expanded lawless space and matter, so we should learn something about it. It seems to contain both the structure of physical law and the quantum miraculousness of consciousness. So its tricky, but since we are here in the swamp of energy we should try and pay attention.
    One of my points in the last comment was that we have to repair the damage before we begin, the damage of wrong living, of the mistakes we have made that have cost our organism. Also these days there are electromagnetic and chemical pollutants that intefere greatly with our subtle bodies. Gurdjieff said that only the “good householder” can proceed, that is someone who is grounded in the world but cynical enough to know there is more. It should be pointed out that, these days, getting to that level, of good householder is an attainment in itself. We are raised to be schizophrenic intellectuals, completely out of touch with our instincts, intuition, body awareness. To renounce all that Luciferian stuff and come back to your body again is no easy feat. I know myself how unspeakably difficlut it is to rehabilitate and face the damage site with humility patience and good temper.

  18. Please excuse my abrupt jumping in. You have a conversation going that get a sense of, but don't know what all has already been shared and chewed. Thanks for understanding. I hopefully won’t write so much after this, but think it’s important to introduce yourself a bit when you are the new kid on the block.

    I live in Sweden near the largest spiritual retreat center in Scandinavia. One thing that has been happening here, through a rich diversity of expressions over many years, is a returning fully into our bodies, fully inhabiting them because, contrary to the mental paradigms we have been presented, the body/mind is one organic system that exists within the field pure consciousness. When the mind separates itself from its body intelligence systems artificially through believing certain concepts and then tries to "conquer" it rather than cleanse, heal and free it — the mind and body get a tad crazy. But the craziness is so wide-spread and invested in that everyone mistakes familiar for true. What kind of mind hates or is addicted to its own extended intelligence system?

    My body/mind separation created energetic reversals, whirlpools of anxious disturbances, blocked energy flows, and frustrating repressions. This is the stuff of demonization.

    At this point in my life I’m only interested in what actually works, what both Taoism and Jesus call The Way. Christ said, live into the Light you have and more will come. In other words, the teacher is inside us as an active process of unfoldment that cannot be realized in mental abstractions but only directly and energetically. I love this, and find it to be utterly true.

    I spent years trying to overcome my body (and ego, another subject) and experienced crash after crash. I discovered through failure and frustration that the only thing that works is the miracle of Life itself unblocking us so that the way it naturally swells a tight bud into bloom also blooms us. This unblocking, swelling up and splitting wide open is the process we cannot skirt around. We must follow it fully. Through it we recover primal purity of being… and the wonder of becoming harmonious and natural at last.

    I have been so blessed to experience that when people really let go of means to the end, (this teacher, that technique, etc.) and just fully support Life beyond names unfolding in each one of us, it becomes such a beautiful feast of creative freedom, healing and loving togetherness. Life, Love, Light unwrinkling us, relaxing the chronically tense, soothing our most tender, intimate cores… challenging us, piercing us at times with searing grief, even scaring us half to death. Meanwhile, without a blink of an eye, the Witness soaks it all in with an everlasting smile.

    Thanks if you read all this. Look forward to exchanges with you beautiful souls.

  19. Hey Blake--so very good to see you here. :)

  20. Very pleased to have you commenting here Blake - what a wonderful opportunity you have living so close to a large spiritual centre. I'm not sure about the relationship between what people call spirituality and the question of being - perhaps sometimes there is a shared path. Like you, I'm only interested now in what works - finding a practical path to understanding, to direct experience. The gurus and philosophers can keep the rest for cocktail parties (but a little part of me really wants to get invited to those parties!)

  21. @Blake Steele:

    Great comment obviously based on true-life-experience of being. I hope that you continue to share your thoughts with us here.

  22. Re: spirituality and being... I believe in any conversation that is meaningful we must continually clarify our terms, for connotations can vary so much from soul to soul. Some of these terms are so widely used with so much diversity that in any serious discussion group must work together to clarify. We could possibly differentiate by calling Being pure consciousness beyond all form, essence, utterly silent, still, and empty of all but Pure Being, (the Beingfull Void), and spirituality as the process of bringing soul into resonance with Pure Being. My use of soul is similar to the Sufi: soul is the traveler, the ground of accumulative experience, the collective memory of all past experience, the mystery that spans worlds and can hold within it the opposites as well as unitive experience, dark and light, ignorance and illumination.

    Karmic Maya I would define as the conditioning that blinds us from clear seeing. It is the soul projections out of harmony with the divine nature of Pure Being.

    By enlightenment, if it is to be a goal that I aspire to, I understand it to mean purification — to come into a relaxed, natural, and spontaneous harmony with the Divine Nature, and to be settled into this state. It is child-like, joyous, simple, innocent, wise, pure, free, compassionate, able to move through the entire range of emotions from grief to bliss without being stuck in anything... just be fully real to what is happening. To me, this union of the Divine and human natures is the New Creation Christ was actually after (it got hijacked in a totally different direction). I feel it is a presumptuous err to try and transcend our humanity. That happens naturally at death in the way a caterpillar naturally emerges into a new kind of creature only at the right time. On the other hand, to become fully human is not possible without purification and freedom from our inner constraints of fear, trauma created defense mechanisms, etc.

    Oh... Divine Nature: to me, Love, Light, Freedom, joy, wisdom, kindness, acceptance, healing, humor, and not the least, creativity. Not an inclusive list by any means.

    I look forward to your responses about terms.

  23. My understanding of these terms is very similar to yours Blake, with some differences in shade perhaps:
    (1) Being - pure consciousness, essence, utterly still and focused through form (because we have a body and it is our own consciousness we are curious about)
    (2) Soul - something other than body, intelligence, spirit, not the 2nd body of the Christians or the 'body kesjan' (astral body) of Gurdjieff either - the third body that may arise from those other bodies. My understanding is similar to that of the essenes. I would think of the sufi soul as being more like essence - but the word 'soul' is problematic for me because of the assumption (one I think is false) that without efforts of any kind a person possesses a fully developed soul. There are human beings that are living testimonies to the contrary view - that a person develops a soul (or does not)
    (3) Karmic Maya - the simulated world
    (4) enlightenment - a process and not a state to be achieved and then slept in. Your definition is the best one: just to be fully real. Most of us don't know this state - or we know it in flashes. But whether death brings enlightenment to everyone, I don't know. I suppose I'm leaning towards the Tibetan Book of the Dead on this one and saying 'it depends'...I should say, though, that I agree totally that it would be a presumptuous err to try and transcend our humanity - but my view is that humanity is still a far goal for many of us (myself included).
    (5) Divine Nature: your list is perfect. I would add grace, compassion, understanding, brilliance and repeat creativity . . .

    this is a good exercise.
    I would also add these terms:
    Knowledge: the empty accumulation of data
    Understanding: the combination of knowledge and being
    Body: a dying animal - also an antennae, a microscope and a telescope.
    Human Being: an apparatus for the transformation of one kind of energy into another kind of energy (ideally).

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  25. A few things that jump out for me in reading your responses are:
    Judith says, "this is a good exercise..."

    I see spiritual growth as experiential exercises (aka living). Through spiritual exercises we gain experience, and sharing experiences in order to gain perspective is essential because of the danger of extreme subjectivism that isolates rather than unites us in a journey of Love. I have found that growth is a whole being thing that includes working with our bodies, not just our minds. Mind and body are one intelligent unit. This artificial body/mind division must be healed so we can open and unfold, as we are designed to, by the energies of Love and Light.

    I would like to share experiences and explore spiritual exercises together as well as working on understanding the bigger picture, which I also believe is essential — mainly to undo fears we have inherited from the past. One of the main thrusts of my creative work has been to restructure my understanding of the Divine from a Semitic tribal deity to the Universal Source of infinite existence, from conditional to unconditional Love, full of grace, compassion, understanding, brilliance and creativity as Judith stated.

    The ancient Semitic conceptions of the Divine are mingled with fierce tribal pride and fear… pride of we are the ones and fear of stepping outside the “covenant faith.” This is still so evident in fundamentalist forms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Those outside the circle of the faithful are deceived and in danger of damnation. This fear wounded me down to my core fear of being deceived and rejected in the end. This fear runs deep and at some point must be made conscious and faced.

    What is the Ground of existence like really? Does it captivate us, enthrall us, ravish us, inspire us, draw us ever onward in Love? Are we utterly in love with the Divine? I know the east calls this Bahkti... the path of devotion, and it is considered to be one choice, but I see God as Love, so the way to ultimate Love must be Love. This core of Christianity I have kept: God is Love. That opens up the question then, what is real Love really like: what is the nature of Love?

    Love has been teaching me the nature of Love. We learn to love by loving. It grows through practice. And, there is so much freedom in real Love. I think this is what often confuses us. We don't understand how free the Divine is, how free and creative Love really is. “Everyone becomes a poet when they fall in love…” Love opens the beautiful to us, the wondrous, the magic of Life. It fills us full of hope and good will. It makes us feel so welcomed, desired, known. I believe it alone opens us in ways we can never open ourselves through any self-efforts. In this light spiritual practice becomes our action to reconnect with the freedom of the Spirit of Love which does the actual healing, transforming work in and through us.