Beings of Light

Golden rays emanating from center

Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

I’m glad you came back. It can be difficult with the fire shining light in to all your dark places. You want it, yet your ego recoils from it. It’s threatened by your time here. For your whole life it has fought for your survival, blindly entangling you in a complex set of behaviors and thought patterns, which it will fight to the death to keep in place.

Are you holding onto a grudge?

Find yourself constantly belittling your co-workers?

Bragging about your latest purchases?

Do you push away anyone who gets close?

Get defensive at the slightest bit of correction?

Flee to substances and behaviors you know are detrimental to your well-being?

All, unmindful, unhelpful machinations of your determined but misguided ego, that the fire will expose.

It is painful, humiliating to see such things in ourselves, but to free, you must see.

And to see, you must draw near the fire.

Make this your life’s work and you will not only find freedom, but you will be a bearer of the sacred fire. You will shed your safeguarding postures and your unmindful, unhelpful darkness-driven behaviors, and will be free to carry forth light into the dark places of the world. It will spill forth from your being in rivers of light that give hope to the world.

And what are these rivers of light?

They are none other than your love.

Stay here as long as you can. Come back as often as you want.

If you would like to relisten to Volume I of Minute Meditations for the Postmodern Pilgrim, click here to return to The Darkness of Being. Remember you can also download the meditations in any podcast app or download the app in your app store. If you found the meditations helpful, please feel free to share them with your friends and family, and if you are looking for additional resources, please feel free to contact me. May you find the peace and joy you seek, and may you be a blessing to all you meet.

The Secret of Being

Sunrise over clouds

Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

Your consciousness robbed you of innocence but gave you self-knowledge and a capacity, not yet fully understood or realized, for freedom. A treasure but a burden in a bargain you did not make–one forced upon you by the march of time and the mutation of genes, leaving you in precisely the existential situation you find yourself. The human condition.

Do you dare live up to the high calling of our existence, which encompasses but exceeds survival, a difficult but ennobling path pointed to, for millennia, by philosophers and mystics from every corner of the earth?

Perhaps you have already committed to this path.

Perhaps you are still deliberating.

Perhaps you desire the path but still feel dragged along by chains through the darkness, their shackles digging into your wrists, cutting off your circulation.

Wherever you are on this path, lean closer to the fire now, so that I may tell you something beautiful.

Something true and beautiful that the fire will illuminate.

The fire is master of fate.

How can that be, you ask, when the vicissitudes of your existence–your successes, your failures–your survival--are contingent upon so many things? The genetic lottery. Your place of birth. Who holds the power and the spirit of the age. Stock market plunges and solar flares. The bully in your class, the controlling boss, the drunks on the roads, the gangs on the streets. The addictions, neuroses, and fears of others. The addictions, neuroses and fears of our own.

It can seem that we are all just victims of forces beyond our control–battered about like leaves on the wind, brittle, torn, spinning ever downward–but, that is only how it appears when you have not drawn near the sacred fire. For illuminated, these same workings of fate–the mass conglomerate of all the contingencies of your existence–become the path of your fruition, the material with which is crafted a great masterpiece of being.

This is the crown jewel of your consciousness.

This, the true weight of your glory.

Stay here as long as you can; come back as often as you want.

Go to the twelfth meditation, Beings of Light.

Being Transformed

Towering Redwoods with sunlight

Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

Change comes in many ways and at different paces.

Sometimes fate gets hold of us and violently rearranges our lives, and then, stripped of everything, we see with striking clarity, choose with wild desperation, the path of fruition. Such a dramatic break with the old way of being is often experienced by those who previously plowed through life on a path of destruction. Now they pursue their new course with the same intensity they had the old.

Perhaps you know someone like this.

Perhaps this is you.

But for most of us, change is more gradual.

And for all of us, once we start, whatever our beginnings, the path is a windy thing, looping back on itself, meandering in a general direction, wrought through the events of our lives and the people we meet along the way, yielding its riches to whatever extent we are able to walk our path with an open mind and open heart.

It’s hard to say which is more difficult.

Our minds are filled with rigid ideas, reinforced by dogma and ideology, ignorance and a desperate need to be right, chosen, superior….

But our hearts…that precious center of your being where you sit now…well…we have built our fortresses, drawn up the bridges, posted the sentries, filled the canons.

You didn’t know it, but all these years it was your inner sanctum that you were trying to keep safe. You sensed its sacredness. Did whatever it took to keep it preserved and protected. Your ego just went about it all the wrong way.

It’s okay.

You know now.

You know that your strength is in the fire.

That change will only come by way of its power.

And so, daily, you must draw near to it. Stay close to it throughout the day. You don’t even have to wait until you get home or until your are alone. Wherever you are, if you feel anxious or worried, angry or frustrated, lonely or discouraged, let that feeling act as a reminder to you of your sacred temple. Then take a deep, centering breath, and place yourself in the presence of the fire within.

Recall who you are in the presence of the fire.

Recall that you are a child of the light.

Stay here as long as you can. Come back as often as you want.

Go to the eleventh meditation, The Secret of Being.

The Weight of Being

Statue of Two-headed Man

Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

You are a liminal being.

As an animal with a highly developed consciousness and a capacity for ever increasing consciousness, you live, not in two worlds, but in one, richly imbued and ever expanding. Sometimes you glimpse your existence beyond time and space—not in the future—but, rather, now, in its fullness. Sometimes, when the fire burns bright, you see, briefly, the world within a world, and that world, somehow, within you.

But such awareness comes at a cost.

For the price of our knowledge is innocence.

They are mutually exclusive states of being.

There may be other species that have crossed this threshold of awareness, but as far as we understand, at this point in the evolution of life on earth, we hold a singular position. We do not incarcerate a lion, for example, who kills the offspring of a newly acquired pride, because we understand that his culpability, as he acts on behalf of his dna’s drive for survival, is different from our own; that his actions, as far as we can tell, are executed with an innocence inherent to the natural order of the earth—an innocence our species no longer has.

For we are gods now.
Or we are monsters.

There is no going back.

Your choice is to live in accordance with the dignity of an animal endowed with such a wondrous capacity or to spend your days running from your fears and chasing after your desires, driven ever onward by the darkness.

And so, today, as you sit before the fire in silence and solitude, consider the most fundamental question of your existence:

How do I choose to live?

Go to the tenth meditation, Being Transformed.

Illuminated Being

Illuminated Being

Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

Remove your shell. If you want, imagine  removing your makeup or jewelry, changing your clothes or removing your shoes. Breathe deeply.

I’m glad you came back. It was maybe a little rough last time. Yet life giving. Perhaps you have been pondering how things got the way they did. How you got so disconnected from your being.

Remember, it’s not some defect in your person, but something constitutive to your humanity. The same genetic makeup that allowed for the development of a consciousness sophisticated enough to reflect upon itself still has one coded purpose, and that purpose is survival. Pretty much everything you do, if you look hard enough, you’ll see, is in some way aimed at the survival of your genetic material.

It’s an all-consuming affair.

You have been so busy all these years, prodded on by the nagging darkness, that you did not have the time to even consider what the working and the running and the hiding and the numbing was all about.

Now that is changing.

You are making the time. You have stepped back from the frantic pace. You have begun to embrace silence and solitude. You are learning to rest in your being.

All this will takes time.

Years.

But it’s worth it.

You are worth it.

But where is this all going? you ask. Who will I become if I continue down this path?

I tell you, you cannot know now what you will be when you come to fruition, but you can glimpse it in the dancing firelight.

Have faith that if you seek, you will find…

That if you knock, the door will be opened to you.

Have courage.

It might seem easier to drift through life on the waters of oblivion, but in such a life you are really just dragged along by a thousand chains, their shackles obscured by the darkness through which the chains pull you.

To be free, you must see.

To see, you must be near the fire that illuminates the way.

It can be difficult to stay near the fire, because though it warms, it exposes; though it comforts, it reveals.

Alone here before the fire, you feel your vulnerability, but also your possibility.

The essence of your being.

The vitality of your existence!

If you stay near the fire and you shall have life.

And you shall have it to the full.
Stay here as long as you can. Come back as often as you want.

Go to the ninth meditation, The Weight of Being.

The Fullness of Being

Postmodern_Pilgrim_2015 (212)Go to your sacred place. Take as much time as you need, then come and sit by the fire.

I hope you feel at rest, but, sitting here like this, you might feel unsure or scared. Fragile. Exposed.

It’s okay.

You’re in a safe place.

And remember, you made it through the darkness! Through that circuit of never-ending thoughts! You pushed that huge stone across the entrance and tore that shell of a projected self from your body. You are strong. What comes next might be difficult, but have faith.

What is it that makes you most uncomfortable here?

Is it shame?

Sometimes it’s hard to identify, and even harder to admit, but it’s usually in there somewhere. Down very deep in the core of our neuroses, our fears, our unhealthy behaviors. We have invested so much of our life energy in securing our place in the world through our projected self, that we have let our being languish in the dark. We don’t really believe that anyone would care too much for that pathetic excuse of a being atrophying down there.

Ugly.

Fat.

Stupid.

Boring.

Weird.

Average.

Who, you wonder, who would want to see the real you anyway?

Maybe you had childhood experiences that entrenched deep seated self-hatred. You wouldn’t call it that, but you carry it around with you like a dark cloud. Maybe someone didn’t want you around. Someone who was supposed to love you and care for you—someone who could have made you feel like you were the most incredible human being ever born, but who, from their own weakness and suffering, pushed you away, treated you like a burden….

And then, of course, there was middle school.

No one escapes that unscathed.

The age when children ruthlessly arrange themselves into hierarchies. A confusing, horrible time when no one really knows what is going on and everyone is caught up in the unrelenting, biologically driven machinations of social ordering. Friendships are torn apart. Self-images destroyed. Through bloody emotional, psychological—and sometimes physical—battles, alphas emerge, triumphant and gloating, omegas, tortured or ostracized. Everyone in between scrambling to establish the best position they can for themselves, for everything seems to depend upon it. A solid percentage opt out, retreating into drug-induced oblivion. A few, tragically, take their own lives.

 

If this were the point of life—it’s purpose—it’s end—hanging on to the best position you can get, making sure enough people like you, or keeping enough people beneath you—whatever it takes—flattery, gossip, slander, persecution, sabotage, pretending to be someone you are not or even just hiding who you are and what you care about, would be the best possible means to achieve your end. Your dna drives you toward it, and, for many, this unreasoned, primal drive is the determining influence of their lives, manifesting itself in gross and obvious excess in some and subtle life-controlling behaviors in others. Biologically, you are wired for survival, like the wolf, for example. But you are a human being, with a consciousness so developed that you are capable of not only observing this phenomenon as it occurs in the wolf pack and how it relates to the natural experience of your own species, but you are also capable of observing that you are not bound to it in the same way as the wolf. Securing your well-being may be your natural end, but, ontologically—not just in the physical or social dimension of your being, but in the totality of it—you are aware of another end, a telos that encompasses all the dimensions of your existence. One that subjects survival to the scrutiny and priority of being, which by its nature, must be far broader and greater than mere survival.

For life is more than food and the body more than clothing; your being, far more than your position in the world. If you understand this, you understand the darkness, for all the darkness in the world arises from ignorance of this simple truth.

Stay here as long as you want. Come back as often as you can.

Go to the eighth meditation, Illuminated Being.

Your Being Laid Bare

Your Being Laid Bare

Go to your inner sanctum. Use the method from the last meditation or any other that helps you get there. Once you’re there sitting comfortably by the fire, with the stone rolled across the entrance, throw anything that snuck in with you into the fire. Don’t worry if it takes a while. When you’re ready, press play.

Does it feel good to be back in your sacred space? Can you feel the heat of the fire on your face? On your hands? Are you glad for the silence? And the solitude? The freedom? Remember there is no blame or judgment or worry or pressure here. If any of that tries to take hold of your thoughts, just quietly throw it into the fire.

As you are sitting there my the fire, look down at your body. Perhaps you never noticed it before, but it has always been there—a hard shell, like that of an crab, or scorpion, or beetle—covering your torso. Feel how tough it is. How bulky and unattractive. This is the self projected by your ego. The way you present yourself to the world so that no one will see who you really are. We all have one. It’s one of our most sophisticated tools for survival, but such a burden to always be dragging around.

It must be removed.

You will be exposed, but remember, you are here, in the temple, where no one else can come.

Break it open with your hands. It’s a fibrous, tenacious material, and you must wrestle with it, but you can do it. Get a good grip where you can and tear it apart. Remove that chunk in your hand and throw it in the fire. Now another. One more and the whole thing will fall off.

You have done it.

You are free of it!

Throw it all into the fire.

Listen to it crackle and hiss.

Watch the flames consume it.

Take a deep, free breath.

Do you feel lighter?

Such a relief to be rid of it, even if just for a bit.

Do you feel intoxicated by your freedom? Feel like dancing around the fire or chanting some ancient melody?

Maybe you just feel like sitting quietly and savoring the exquisite pleasure of your own company.

Perhaps, it’s been a very long while since you did that.

Perhaps you need some re-acquainting.

Take as long as you want, because I promise, you are worth the time.

Go the the seventh meditation, The Fullness of Being.