Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ignorance and Bliss

William Blake
I became a “Jesus freak” when I was a teenager. On the one hand, this was a good thing because it kept me out of trouble and provided a community of wholesome friends. On the other hand, it imposed a kind of mind control on me—and that control happened outside of my parents’ knowledge or involvement. The group I was involved with was run by a couple, who was the Catholic version of fundamentalist Pentecostals, and a nun who was probably specially trained in a BDSM workshop about how to wield a ruler.  But being an independently intellectual and philosophical sort, I broke out of the trap. Specifically, an interest in the writings of the friar Father Thomas Merton and contemplativism (the Christian equivalent to “meditation”) led me to an interest in ecumenism, universalism, and ultimately, Advaita Vedanta (Hinduism of a kind, that is).  Well, the Holy Rollers didn’t like any of this.

The couple who ran the Christian youth group I belonged to decided I needed an intervention. I was invited to the couple’s house to have a talk. During this encounter, the man was oddly handy-dandy, leering and making comments that seemed suggestive in between his good Christian solider advice, especially when the wife stepped out of the room now and then. His tone toward the wife was also rather abrupt. Among other things, this, sort of behavior made the light bulb go off about why the wife and daughter always looked so quiet and brittle.

I was dealing with something that was really encroaching on my innocence. An illusion about my reality was shattering. So, upon departing from this couple’s abode, any reservations I had had about following a new, improved path and having a mind of my own were effectively resolved.
Is hypocrisy and narcissism unique to zealot Christian folks? Hardly. Thankfully, I never got roped into a guru cult or became an acolyte of some New Age voice of “enlightenment” in my travels, but I did have my brushes and close calls with a character or two—and I’ve known lots of people who were embroiled and manipulated and pick-pocketed in these kind of scenes. 

In pre-Judeo-Christian creation mythology, the ever self-renewing serpent-god is the bringer of wisdom and culture. Also, the Roman god Saturn is the king of a Golden Age of prosperity when cultural arts and cultivation technology emerged and flourished. In Judeo-Christian mythology, all this is turned on its head. The serpent is an evil influence because it tempts humankind with knowledge. Beings responsible for bringing culture and technology to mankind are the fallen angels. And Saturn, in medieval Hermetic Christian spirituality, is equated with snake in the Garden of Eden whose job now is to impede passage from the mundane to the transcendent. Naiveté is, thus, a virtue and ignorance is bliss because…how else are you going to be controlled and manipulated?

Meditation from Cassiel: You are the primeval maya, the source of the universe…. By you, Oh Goddess, this whole world has been thrown into an illusion. If you become gracious, you become the cause of freedom from this world. From the Devi Mahatmyam 11:5

Excerpt from The Savior at the End of Time  From Chapter 20 A Snake in the Grass

Zosi began to be spotted in flamboyantly full ceremonial regalia within the Mercury Gardens. He would wear a tunic of thick raw silk and tightly fitted, black leggings that were made of tanned leather and full of straps and whips of lacings. Over this, he would wear high boots that matched a mottled, purple-black tanned leather cope embossed with images of ourobori, moondragons, and griffins. His hair was meticulously plaited and decorated with pins and ribbons. His head was topped with a black double-cone hat that was rakishly crimped and folded over so that the tips of the horn-like cones, embellished with opalescent jingle bells, menacingly flounced and jangled in front of his face. He wielded a rather large and tall staff, the core of which was made of slender poles of cedar and fennel stalks. It was wrapped in embossed leather that matched his ensemble. Like a sinister maypole, the staff’s leather sheath was itself wrapped in a filigreed design of cords and leather straps on which gadgets and flotsam were affixed and that dangled, flail- and cat-o-nine-tails-like, from the staff’s finial, which was a gold spearhead in the shape of a fish with an acorn protruding from its mouth.

Like that, he would stroll about the Gardens and then stop here or there to deliver a sermon that attracted larger and larger crowds as word of the spectacle grew. He would begin the rant in a gentle voice with the words, “See the illumination at the center of being,” and materialize some small sparkly object that would fascinate and mesmerize onlookers.

“The body and all phenomena arise causally and provisionally within absolute being,” he would continue, yet still in a very meek and quiet voice. It would be trembling and barely audible despite his ferocious appearance. “There is no time and no dimension to space, both being mere adaptive projections of mind. The personality is an interdependently arising construction of circumstances and experiences, driven by reactivity bred by conditioning devoid of awareness or true will. What is it to wake up from the idea of yourself? Heaven, hell, God, the Adversary, pleasure, pain, and all the pairs of opposites are projections of your own consciousness. You project ideas out of yourself. Treating them as independent entities, you go into them, fear them, and allow them to have power over you although they are your own creations. No one is there to deliver you; you must deliver yourself. Glimpse self-effacement and the root of your existence. Reality is silent, blissful, self-composed Being. This is the Redemptive Principle, the Christos, the Ground, and the Life beneath the mechanism.”

Then he would walk off to another part of the Gardens and say it again even though people weren’t really listening and hardly understood him; they were just grooving on being part of the show and the very groovy euphoric feeling Zosimo’s magical words incited in them.

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