LOOKING WITHIN

MYSTICISM SAVED MY LIFE

There aren’t very many areas of my personal life that I’m afraid to talk about. In fact, I have found it is easiest to avoid the bulk of humanity when they can quickly label me a pariah. They say “convict;” I say “guilty as charged!” When they say “junkie;” I say “thank God for recovery!” Gangster. Criminal. Thief. Felon. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Where I’ve been has contributed to me becoming the person I am today. If there were no horrendous failures in my past there wouldn’t be a mystical mindstate. Everyday I wake up grateful for a life chopped full of so many mistakes. It’s so so much easier to not be critical of addicts when you, yourself, have been a dope fiend. When you’ve been down in the dumps begging for change to get a couple items off the dollar menu you aren’t so quick to write off a panhandler. When you’re literally stripped naked and doused in lye you sort of learn to overlook the failings of others.

When I first read that I wouldn’t want to shut the door on my past but would welcome the lessons it taught me I was pretty appalled. I had simply done too much. I mean, I’m sure that’s a fine lesson for Joe Schmoe who got falling down drunk and slapped his neighbor once, but me? Oh, I accumulated 4 felonies before I was old enough to vote. That’s right. A narcotics task force kicked in the door to my childhood home and waved guns at my Mother before I ever enrolled in college. Yet here I am today telling it in all of it’s gory detail.

Needless to say the old timers were right. I am now completely capable of sharing those intimate details with crowds of people. I’m not just talking about the faceless type of sharing we do online, but genuine, real deal sharing with actual groups of people. It’s what 12 steppers call carrying the message. I’m in love with the process of it all. I share these intimate details of my life with a group of people who can’t help but relate to the scenarios I’m speaking of, and that light goes on; they realize “give it away to keep it” is more than a slogan, it’s an eternal truth.

Realizing something is more than words is where all mystical experience starts. We begin to awaken to infinite possibilities as the God of our understanding starts to move in our lives. We feel more connected with the person we were, the person who made those mistakes, and the person we are becoming, one who grew from those mistakes. Once we see how every failure brought us a new success we realize the truth; if we learn to see our way through then maybe someone else can be taught to avoid it altogether.

Now then, how does one start? How does one set out to learn these valuable lessons? By falling down and scraping our knees obviously. Learning the lessons is like applying a band-aid; you sort of have to stumble to get there.

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Masonic thought dictates that one should do just as the Buddhists do when they meditate, or the Christian in prayer, and set aside moments for inner contemplation. They will sit in a chamber of reflection and focus on symbols like the one you see above and consider their own inner transformation.

The latin inscription around the edge translates into “visit the interior of the Earth to find the secret stone.” The stone being the world famous philosophers stone, the interior of the Earth a metaphor for our innermost selves. This motto refers to what Alchemists call ‘rectifying the secret stone.’ 

See, the body houses the Divine, and the Divine is expressed through our interaction with the material world.One can do this by simply meditating on the breath and monitoring ones own thoughts. This is enough to awaken a practitioner to a hidden truth. Everything is comprised of vibrating energy and pure consciousness.  If that consciousness spawned from the cosmic mind of God then it would stand to reason that we have some power over our reality because we come from that same consciousness.

As Jesus would say, “Behold, the Kingdom is at hand;” Er go, we all have access to it. However, truly believing we carry the Kingdom of God inside of us wherever we go seems a bit intense, but my meditative experience leads me to believe it’s also quite true. One of the largest parables in the Bible reveals this mystery. “Then the veil in the Temple was torn down the middle,” and that which used to separate us was no longer there. Before, people would bring offerings to the synagogue and have a Rabbi mediate between them and God. 

The meditator, the intercessor, these people go boldly in the direction of God. They do not wait for some guru to reveal the message. Driven by intuition and an intense desire to connect with the Divine they simply tune in. Mystics from all walks of life can be found doing exactly this all across the globe. One simply has to look within themselves to begin.

So, the methodology behind this line of thinking is simple- everything we experience with our senses still begins and ends as a projection of our minds. Er go, if the world we experience doesn’t exist as it seems then only the inner self can really awaken to the true nature of reality. For me, personally, mystical thinking put all of those really pretty pieces into perspective. I began to see how all of my thoughts and deeds have a much greater impact on the world around me and that I’m constantly shaping the world I live in. For good and bad, my perception is my reality. This lead me to treat each decision with a bit more loving care than I previously had.

IN CLOSING

Clearly I see philosophy and religion as two means of explaining the same mystery. I feel that scientific thought is just as relevant as its spiritual counterpart. I believe we are all dancing in the same great cosmic design trying to find our place in it all. The life we all share should always be celebrated, regardless of the words you choose to describe it. We may not share the same belief. I may not pray the same way you do either. That’s okay. When it comes to spirituality it really boils down to you and your walk with God. This is what quiet  reflection has in store for those who seek; a mystical experience beyond expression. Peace be with you.

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