Spirituality How spiritually "free" are you, really? Let's discuss how LIBERATING your ideas might be. Especially on subjects such as freedom from mental suffering, about serving mandkind, compassion, awareness, spiritual wisdom, enlightenment...
Hi An_li1, good post. Excellent point about it having to do with overcoming resistance, the clinging problem.
I like to just let creation flow and stand in the middle of it, feel the urge to experience more.
I am going to be soooooooooooo enlightened. lol
(without the i of course)
Oh wait, maybe i am already. The master told me wisdom is knowing the world, enlightenment is knowing oneself. It is a relative state. I guess all UE-students are more or less enlightened. They met the master so....
About the list, what comes after acceptance? What is the next phase?
In the acceptance phase we get to face our shadow self, our dark side. All the gathered sufferings from the past, the programming from society, the beliefs etc , all come into awareness. In this awareness they get healed. Negativity dissolves when one is aware of it. Nothing gets healed when we are not aware of it. So in the acceptance phase lasting healing takes place.
The self-acceptence, loving oneself, leads to inner-peace. All gets healed, no more old sadness or anger, no more dissonance. One listens to intuition, not the mind. There is trust in life, learning from personal experience. Flowing with creation etc.
7: Absolute freedom
The inner-peace creates a space where the EXPERIENCE of absolute freedom can occur. The satori or enlightenment experience, the lightning striking. Freedom is then no longer theory but realized reality. Freedom to experience, to feel everything without clinging. It just flows through unhindered. To do what you feel like doing when you feel like doing it.
Nothing more to do, nothing more to gain. Just observing, observing the experiencer experience. Watch reality unfold as by itself.
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Well,just to say again,i think the sequence of these steps depend on the mind,even the culture.
Maybe the research of this sequence has been done in a western country, on western minds.
Westerners have a harder time accepting what is.
Which has all kinds of good things on its own as well,I think
For non-western mindset,the acceptance sequence might go a bit different,depending on the concept of reality.
Some cultures actualy celebrate death,make great joyful events because they think the afterlife is much better,so if one dies faster,by some event,they are considered as lucky...and yet again,those cultures wouldn't support suicide or anything like that,they are not against life,just might see death as a good thing as well.
I think one can be very enlightened,or a great spiritual practicioner,and still resist what is,especialy when "what is" is some painful thing-like a middle of excruciating painful torture..
I like the further sequence of the steps you proposed,
after acceptance "inner peace" seems to be next on the list,
and as for "absolute freedom", sounds good too,just not exactly sure the definition of freedom
Maybe freedom to be your self?
I like the further sequence of the steps you proposed,
after acceptance "inner peace" seems to be next on the list,
and as for "absolute freedom", sounds good too,just not exactly sure the definition of freedom
Maybe freedom to be your self?
Interesting line of thinking, acceptance west vs east.
The definition of freedom? I have read tons of books on it, i am working towards freedom since i met master Dang in 2000, i have had many freedom related experiences but a definition? I do not know any that describes how i EXPERiENCE freedom. I define it to myself by expressing it, every day i learn more on freedom.
Whatever definition, i am convinced freedom to be ones self is included for it to be freedom. Which brings me back to acceptance. How can one be "free to be oneself" without self-acceptance? How can there be self-acceptance without facing our "shadow-selves"? How can one face ones "shadow self" when there is denial?
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, Macmillan, NY, 1969
In the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, the first stage is one of immobilized shock. In order, the stages are: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing, Acceptance.
The first reaction on hearing the bad news is one of classic shock. This initially may appear as if there is no reaction at all to the news. The person may nod and accept the news without appearing to be troubled by it. Inside, they have frozen out the news that has not really taken hold yet. To get the news through, they may need to be told several times.
This is followed by a more external shock, where there may be physical reactions such as paling of the skin, shortness of breath and physical freezing.
When shock occurs, they may need to be sat down (to stop them falling) and given a drink of some sort (mostly as something to hold onto). Show them sympathy and acceptance. If the shock is not a short-lived one, help them get to a place where they can sit safely and let the news sink in.
You can pre-empt shock symptoms to some extent by taking the person to a place where they can safely hear the news. Especially if they are likely to move swiftly into more emotive stages, they will need to be in a private place, away from the embarrassment of public tears, and in the company of trusted friends or family.
After the initial shock has worn off, the next stage is usually one of classic denial, where they pretend that the news has not been given. They effectively close their eyes to any evidence and pretend that nothing has happened.
Typically, they will continue their life as if nothing has happened. In the workplace, they will carry on doing their job even if that job is no longer required.
A classic behavior here is a 'flight into health', where previously-perceived problems are suddenly seen as having miraculously fixed themselves.
You can move a person out of denial by deliberately provoking them to anger. Hold up the future (sympathetically) so they cannot avoid or deny it. Tell them that it is not fair. Show anger yourself (thus legitimizing that they get angry).
This, to some extent, is done on daytime TV shows where people in precarious situations are prodded into emotional explosions that make good TV and (where sympathetically done) may even be good for them.
The next step after denial is a sudden swing into anger, which often occurs in an explosion of emotion, where the bottled-up feelings of the previous stages are expulsed in a huge outpouring of grief. Whoever is in the way is likely to be blamed. In a company this includes the managers, peers, shareholders customers and suppliers. The phrase 'Why me?' may be repeated in an endless loop in their heads. A part of this anger thus is 'Why not you?', which fuels their anger at the those who are not affected, or perhaps not as seriously so.
When they are angry, the best thing you can do is give them space, allowing them to rail and bellow. The more the storm blows, the sooner it will blow itself out.
Where anger becomes destructive then it must be addressed directly. As necessary, you may need to remind people of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Reframe their anger into useful channels, such as problem areas and ways to move foreword.
Beware, when faced with anger, of it becoming an argument where you may push them back into denial or cause later problems. Support their anger. Accept it. Let them be angry at you.
After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.
Bargaining in illness includes seeking alternative therapies and experimental drugs. In organizations, it includes offering to work for less money (or even none!), offering to do alternative work or be demoted down the hierarchy. One's loyalties, debts and dependants may be paraded as evidence of the essentiality of being saved.
When people are bargaining, you should not offer them any false hope. Although there may be practical things they can do which you can offer them, never offer them something that cannot be fulfilled.
Sometimes the best you can do at this stage is point even more at the inevitable, even though this may well tip them into depression (which may well be a necessary move).
When they are in a bargaining mood, sometimes there are things you can offer them, such as support for change or new opportunities. In these cases you may be able to strike a win-win deal, where they get an improved deal and you get collaboration or some other contribution. In a business setting, this may include finishing off some important work before they leave and receiving a special bonus for doing so.
After denial, anger and bargaining, the inevitability of the news eventually (and not before time) sinks in and the person reluctantly accepts that it is going to happen. From the animation of anger and bargaining, they slump into a slough of despond. In this deep depression, they see only a horrible end with nothing beyond it. In turning in towards themselves, they turn away from any solution and any help that others can give them.
Depression may be seen in a number of passive behaviors. In the workplace, this includes physical absenteeism, long lunch breaks and mediocre work performance. It can also appear in tearful and morose episodes where the person's main concern is focused on their own world.
The first thing you can do with people who are in depression is to be there with them, accepting them in all their misery. People who are depressed feel very much alone and you company, even though it may not seem that way, is likely to be welcome.
The second thing to do is to keep them moving. It is easy to get stuck in depression, and the longer they stay there, the deeper into the mud they are likely to slide. So keep up a steady stream of support, showing them that there is light ahead and encouraging them to reach towards it.
In the workplace, provision of professional coaching, counselling and other support can do a lot to help people recognize their depression and find a way to clamber out of the pit.
Even in the pit of depressive despair, reality eventually starts to bite and the person realizes that they cannot stay in that deep, dark hole forever. They thus start looking for realistic things that they can do. These may be taken on as 'experiments' to see if doing these things help the situation in any way. As this activity starts to work, at least in some ways, it is found to be preferred to the depression and so the person crawls out of that dark hole.
This escape is often done with the support of friends, family and professionals who specialize in helping people in whatever situation this is. In medicine, hospices help the terminally ill face their short futures with courage. In organizations, counselors and outplacement consultants help individuals move on to other work.
When they reach out towards the road to acceptance, they are at last on their way out of the mire. Help them try different solutions and to see that they can, after all, have an effect on their future. Hand as much control to them as possible, as this gives them a lifeline of stability on which to pull themselves forward.
The final stage is back to one of stability, where the person is ready and actively involved in moving on to the next phase of their lives, no matter how short. The terminally ill person will be putting their life in order, sorting out wills and helping others to accept the inevitability that then now have countenanced and faced.
In the workplace, people who have lost their jobs will be actively seeking new work, whilst others who have had their work changed will be tidying up and getting ready to move on.
Acceptance is typically visible by people taking ownership both for themselves and their actions. They start to do things and take note of the results, and then changing their actions in response. They will appear increasingly happier and more content as they find their way forward.
Help the person to establish themselves permanently in their new position. Fix them there, ensuring that there is no way back to the previous situation. Congratulate them on getting through the change. Celebrate the completion of their transition.
We are complex animals living complex lives in which we are not always able to cope with the difficulties that we face. As a result, we are subject to feelings of tension and stress, for example the cognitive dissonance and potential shame of doing something outside our values. To handle this discomfort we use various coping methods.
Here are coping mechanisms by type:
* Adaptive mechanisms: That offer positive help.
* Attack mechanisms: That push discomfort onto others.
* Avoidance mechanisms: That avoid the issue.
* Behavioral mechanisms: That change what we do.
* Cognitive mechanisms: That change what we think.
* Conversion mechanisms: That change one thing into another.
* Defense mechanisms: Freud's original set.
* Self-harm mechanisms: That hurt our selves.
Here is a full list of coping mechanisms:
* Acting out: not coping - giving in to the pressure to misbehave.
* Aim inhibition: lowering sights to what seems more achievable.
* Altruism: Helping others to help self.
* Attack: trying to beat down that which is threatening you.
* Avoidance: mentally or physically avoiding something that causes distress.
* Compartmentalization: separating conflicting thoughts into separated compartments.
* Compensation: making up for a weakness in one area by gain strength in another.
* Conversion: subconscious conversion of stress into physical symptoms.
* Denial: refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred.
* Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target.
* Dissociation: separating oneself from parts of your life.
* Emotionality: Outbursts and extreme emotion.
* Fantasy: escaping reality into a world of possibility.
* Help-rejecting complaining: Ask for help then reject it.
* Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired.
* Identification: copying others to take on their characteristics.
* Intellectualization: avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic.
* Introjection: Bringing things from the outer world into the inner world.
* Passive aggression: avoiding refusal by passive avoidance.
* Performing rituals: Patterns that delay.
* Projection: seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people.
* Provocation: Get others to act so you can retaliate.
* Rationalization: creating logical reasons for bad behavior.
* Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position.
* Regression: returning to a child state to avoid problems.
* Repression: subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts.
* Self-harming: physically damaging the body.
* Somatization: psychological problems turned into physical symptoms.
* Sublimation: channeling psychic energy into acceptable activities.
* Substitution: Replacing one thing with another.
* Suppression: consciously holding back unwanted urges.
* Symbolization: turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols.
* Trivializing: Making small what is really something big.
* Undoing: actions that psychologically 'undo' wrongdoings for the wrongdoer.
To help people cope, find ways to let them safely let go of the stress that they experience or gain a greater understanding of the situation.
Remember that coping actions are usually symptoms of deeper problems and addressing them directly can be ineffective or even counter-productive. The best approach is to discover the deeper cause and address this, which will hopefully then result in the coping mechanism disappearing.
Be aware of your own coping mechanisms and move to more functional means of managing stress.
If you are using deliberate theatrical methods during persuasion, feigning a coping mechanism makes it harder for the other person to broach an apparently stressful situation for you.
There has been much written on warriorship in recent times and i-nterest in the subject shows no sign of diminishing. As Pagans we must come to understand our warrior ancestry and, more importantly, adapt its principles to modern life. If we fail in this task, we face the prospect of becoming either meek and herded sheep, or branded outlaws,condemned as were our ancestors, for our heresy.
Although I have read widely on the historical evidence, my own u-nderstanding comes mainly from my training in a living Norwegian tradition and in the Rune-Gild. There are many academic theories and conjectures about the role of the warrior in Pagan society but very few academics who understand warriorship. We Pagans do not have the luxury of theorising, no matter how clever those theories may seem. If they are not of practical benefit to us in daily life, they amount to nothing more than intellectual wankery.
Paganism is about freedom. Freedom from dogma, freedom from our ne-gative conditioning, habits, and inhibitions, freedom from our self--limiting beliefs. We must not think that we can improve our situation if we break the bonds of the Judeo-Christian chastity belt merely to adopt fetters forged from the twisted scrap of a bygone age. Christianity became fossilised before it reached the wisdom and tolerance of maturity, let us not make the same mistake.
Paganism has always had its strength in its diversity and fluidity,constantly adapting according to time and location. The form is always evolving but the essence remains. This fluidity is indeed part of the essence, and differentiates us from the anachronists who seek only relief from reality. To the Pagan, reality is not the tiresome mud of everyday, but colourful clay to be moulded lovingly in our hands.
Paganism is our way and warriorship is our vehicle. Without warriorship, Paganism becomes quaint anachronism. In my tradition warriorship is not about aggression, in fact a warrior has gone beyond the need for aggression. Warriorship is actually magick, the art of manifesting the True Will. An aspect of this is illustrated in our understanding of the Berserk.
The word "berserk" comes from two words, "bare" and "sark" (a shirt). A berserk was originally one who fought without a shirt, bare from the waist up. Not only did they scorn body armour, they even went without the psychological advantage of a layer of clothing between their skin and the enemy's sword.
In our tradition, the symbolism of removing the armour is of great importance, but before it is safe to do so, one must be adept at doing battle with the armour on. Whether on the battlefield or in the marketplace we all wear some sort of armour against "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", or more to the point, the barbs of our fellow humans. In order to operate efficiently we must know our strengths and weaknesses, and become aware of the style and construction of our armour.
As our movements become increasingly efficient, we find that we can afford to shed some of our armour. We then find that our movements become even more efficient with the resulting freedom. Eventually we find ourselves totally open to the world. No longer encumbered with layers of protection we are free to be our true selves. Every act becomes a spontaneous and joyous act of pure will. We become a vortex of pure will force.
Paradoxically, while a novice stripped of armour would be instantly slain, an adept becomes impervious to steel. The berserk ceases to be a target by becoming as if devoid of gross substance. The Ynglinga Saga describes the Berserks when inspired by Odin, "They cut down the enemy, while neither fire nor iron could make an impression on them." That which offers no resistance cannot be cut. That which is flexible cannot be broken.
Anyone who has been in combat situations will realise that uncontrolled anger is rarely a friend in battle. Such emotion may well stimulate enthusiasm and fearlessness, but at the cost of judgement and precision. There is a Samurai saying- "The angry man will defeat himself in battle as well as in life." The true berserk rage is certainly not blind anger. An angry warrior may be frightening and deadly but is unlikely to come out of a battle alive, let alone unscathed.
The secret of the berserk's invulnerability is the ability to let the True Will flow unimpeded. This requires the warrior to be totally calm and centred while at the same time unleashing the destructive forces of the Will. This is a form of meditation infinitely more difficult than being calm and centred in a quiet room (something most people find almost impossible anyway). The slightest distracting thought can be fatal. By not letting thoughts interfere with the flow of Will, the berserk is always in the right place at the right time. Action flows, there is no rigidity or predictability there is nowhere a blade can strike.
The berserk acts without hesitation and is always in harmony with any situation. Harmony in this case means being true to the self and interacting with the situation in a way which is honest with the self. This can only be done when there is no barrier between the self and the situation. One becomes a fluid part of the situation without losing one's individuality, an indispensable and autonomous part of the whole, every movement being a vital adjustment of one's position in the universe.
It is only through warriorship that we will be able to practise our varied traditions without fear of persecution, for this fear betrays a lack of confidence in one's own magickal ability and in the power of one's tradition. Like the berserk, those who truly practise warriors- hip or magick will find themselves beyond the reach of any attack, and extremely unlikely to be attacked in the first place.
Judeo-Christian culture has taught us that we are powerless as individuals, that we must follow the mob to be saved. Pagan culture has always taught that we should accept responsibility for ourselves. Our power or lack of it is our own choice. Freedom is ours, taking responsibility for ourselves is the price. Many are not ready to pay it, let them join the sheep of a herd religion until they are ready, they too have a valid place in the greater whole. This is why Paganism does not seek to make converts.
Ultimately warriorship is a path of compassion. When we no longer fear others, we are free to sense their real needs. This is not sympathy or just being nice, sometimes a harsh lesson will be far more beneficial in the long run. Only fearless openness allows one to see the best way to interact. Without fear we can be more tolerant and less defensive, less inclined to take things personally, or become offended when others do things a little differently, or moralise and interfere with others because we feel threatened by their strangeness. Only fear prevents us from achieving our potential. Only warriorship will defeat the fears which divide us.
"The Dark Night of the Soul" is the name given to that experience of spiritual desolation that all students of the Occult pass through at one time or another. It is sometimes characterized by feelings that your occult studies or practices are not taken you anywhere, that the initial success that one is sometimes granted after a few months of occult working, has suddenly dried up. There comes a desire to give up on everything, to abandon exercises and meditation, as nothing seems to be working. St. John of the Cross. a Christian mystic, said of this experience, that it;
"puts the sensory spiritual appetites to sleep, deadens them, and deprives them of the ability to find pleasure in anything. It binds the imagination, and impedes it from doing any good discursive work. It makes the memory cease, the intellect become dark and unable to understand anything, and hence it causes the will to become arid and constrained, and all the faculties empty and useless. And over this hangs a dense and burdensome cloud, which afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good."
Though the beginner may view the onset of such an experience with alarm (I know I did), the "Dark Night" is not something bad or destructive. In one sense it may be seen as a trial, a test by which the Gods examine our resolve to continue with occult work, and if you are not completely whole-hearted about your magical studies, it is during this period (at its beginning) that you will give up. The Dark Night of the Soul should be welcomed, once recognized for what it is (I have always received an innate "warning" just before the onset of such a period), as a person might welcome an operation that will secure health and well-being. St. John of the Cross embraced the soul's Dark Night as a Divine Appointment, calling it a period of "sheer grace" and adding;
"O guiding Night,
O Night more lovely than Dawn,
O Night that has united the lover with his beloved
Transforming the Lover in her Beloved."
When entering the Dark Night one is overcome by a sense of spiritual dryness and depression. The notion, in some quarters, that all such experiences should be avoided, for a peaceful existence, shows up the superficiality of so much of contemporary living. The Dark Night is a way of bringing the Soul to stillness, so that deep psychic transformation may take place. All distractions must be set aside, and it is no good attempting to fight or channel the bursts of raw energy that from time to time may course through your being. This inner compulsion to set everything aside results in the outer depression, when nothing seems to excite.
The only thing to do is obey your inner voice and become still, waiting for the inner transformation, (which the "Dark Night" heralds), to take place. You may not be aware for a very long time of the results of that inner change, but when the desire to work comes again and the depression lifts, the Dark Night has (for a moment) passed. No one can help during this time, and in many cases there is hardly anyone to turn for advice. One must disregard the well-meaning advice of family and friends to "snap out of it" this is no ordinary depression, but a deep spiritual experience which only those who have passed through themselves (in other words to a magical retreat) but for many, as the routines of everyday life prohibits this, all you can do is cultivate an inner solitude, a stillness and silence of heart, and wait, (like a chrysalis waits for the inner changes that will result in a butterfly) for the Transformation to work itself out. There are many such "Dark Nights" that the occult seeker must pass through during the mysterious process of mitigation. They are all trials but experience teaches one to cope more efficiently.
With fractalic greetings and laughter
* Fra.: Apfelmann * http://www.paganlibrary.com/editoria...night_soul.php
“Zorba is the foundation and Buddha is the palace. Buddha is the peak, but the foundation stones are laid by Zorba. It will be foolish to choose to be a Buddha without having the foundation stones.
“I am absolutely mathematical about it: Zorba should be there and the stronger a Zorba is there, the better a Buddha is possible. So I can become Buddha any moment, Zorba is absolutely needed as the basic energy out of which the Buddha is going to be carved. Zorba is the marble rock out of which the Buddha statue has to be carved. I choose the rock...and Buddha is easy. “It is just a question of opening your eyes. I don’t bother about Buddha; I am worried about people who are not Zorbas. How will they become Buddhas? They don’t have the basic material out of which a Buddha is made.
“And this poverty has been given to people by our religious leaders. They have been told not to be materialists. They have been told to be celibate. They have been told to live in poverty. They have been told that life is out of sin. All these things have destroyed their Zorbas. Otherwise, every man is a born Zorba the Greek.
“And if everything goes according to me, every man will die as Zorba the Buddha. Between the Greek and the Buddha there is not much distance, but first you must be the Greek.”