Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2010

Spiritual Transformation - A Comment

This was supposed to be a comment on Fra. Peregrin’s last post about Spiritual Transformation or, a whole hunk of questions. I figured that it (my comment) went too long and decided to put it in my own post here in order not to hijack Peregin’s MOTO blog.
The questions raised by Peregrin are indeed good and important questions, and they are eternal questions which kept people busy for a while already.

If I may, I would answer the question “what do you want “ from going back to forth.

Analysing the life situation I live in – my personal microcosm (family, friends, work, closer social and cultural environment etc) as well as the macrocosm (the society I live in as such, the city, country, the world, (mankind - ?)), it seems obvious that “life” as such, as it comes by default is not perfect. Well for some people it actually is damn close to it but also these people have issues. I am caught up in the odds of everyday life, conventions, etiquette, customs etc which are all present at all levels concerning life. This affects my thinking and my acting. I may even be forced to act in way which do not make sense or are unfair. Unfortunately a lot of people settle with this or resignate, in the best case arrange, in the worse case ignorantly live in their own private comfort zone. I should maybe say that it is ok if someone wants to live a peaceful life not being bothered and has either arranged with the daily odds or is happy with things as they are.
However, realizing that there may be more than just that, seeing that life is covered with the daily mud, I would say I want to search out for a way to

1) gain competence over myself and my life
2) gain the ability to see beyond the borders of my comfort zone
3) hoping to find an answer to the questions you asked in your post –who are we, where is our position on earth, in universe, in the creation as such.

This goes beyond the quest for the sense of life. I may even say it has nothing to do with it. You should already see a sense in life. If you have none, well I am not sure that magic or transformation of any form will help you. But however, it may bring other aspects of such a (very personal) sense in/of life.
The thing is that I really do not know who I am in respect to creation. Am I part of the divine? Well I could give a standard answer: all and everything is connected with all and everything. God, or the One is within and around everything, and so on and so forth. And there lies truth within this, for sure. It also reflects the old hermetic principle of “as above, so below”. But it also does not explain much as to why one needs to or wants to transform. Am I impure, dirty, bad? Again, my start would be to analyse my status quo and go from there, hoping that I will find out.

As far as religion/theology is concerned, I agree with you that theology is helpful in practicing magic. I would even say that religion and faith is helpful, if not essential. Within our practice we work with the divine in so many ways and manifestations or representations, that I find it difficult for a real Atheist to transfer all this into simple representations of – well what? – aspects or principles of the universe or reality? Where does the power then come from?

All this may not work for everyone and it may well be that a lot of people start to follow the “path for transformation” (whatever that now means) but will never really transform. There also may be many other, maybe even better ways for reaching the goal – depending on ones very personal background. In Christianity, the mystics did not necessarily engage in magical practice but contemplation and other rituals aiming for the same thing than we aim for (writing this down, maybe it is being closer to God?). I also once read that some “teachers” advise their students – if not request it from them – to have their magical ritual work accompanied by therapy.

I find the questions raised by Peregrin very difficult to answer. They are eternal questions and it seems impossible to give a satisfying answer. However, unfortunately often enough people are not really willing to think about these questions but rather give a standard answer. These may need to contemplate the questions a bit deeper…

At the end, Fra Peregrin raises the maybe most important question regarding how to reach the aim: "What makes an esoteric path effective, what makes it actually able to lead us to the One is death. The ‘I’ now cannot become the ‘I’ we desire, so we must die. Effective esoteric paths shake us all the time; they invite us to die continually and completely. It is up us to choose death or not.” - I have nothing else to add.

Does this make sense?

1 Kommentar:

  1. Care Fr Arcad,

    Thank you for this wonderful post and the clear honesty of your response.

    I agree that life is not perfect, though for some people it seems close. One of the modern western myths is that life SHOULD be perfect. This to me stems from a secularisation of religion, trying to create heaven on earth. Sogyal Rinpoche said that some parts of the western world reminded him of the Gods realm in Buddhist Cosmology:

    “The main feature of the realm of the gods, for example, is that it is devoid of suffering, a realm of changeless beauty and sensual ecstasy. Imagine the gods: tall, blond surfers, lounging on beaches and in gardens flooded by brilliant sunshine, listening to any kind of music they choose, intoxicated by every kind of stimulant, high on meditation, yoga, bodywork, and ways of improving themselves, but never taxing their brains, never confronting any complex or painful situation, never conscious of their true nature, and so anesthetized that they are never aware of what their condition really is.”

    Ultimately though like us, the Gods grow old and die. In this regard I think you hit the nail squarely on the head when you write, “You should already see a sense in life. If you have none, well I am not sure that magic or transformation of any form will help you.” None of the ‘ways of improving themselves’ help the Gods without seeing the sense in life, which must see the sense in death also as death follows life.

    This is one role of religion and theology which I agree is essential in magic, for this and many other reasons.

    The questions I posed are meant to be asked more than answered. Theology should be practiced as an art not a ‘social science’, and like any art can help us reach the transcendent and eternal. It is as much a practice as any ritual.

    Thanks again :)