The Vacancy of Faith

How is it that there is a God and we are charged to revere said God through faith? If we are to have any hope of a productive association with God, we must first accept on faith, predetermined parameters that fix God and our proximity to God. This seems an exercise by which faith is vacated rather than expressed.

If we truly had faith in God, surely we would allow that God is competent, able to make an appearance and representation, free of intermediaries. Any actual God would have the confidence and authority to express God, without help or supervision. This is the conclusion I reached as a young man in my teens. I began to see religion as community service, a basic social-political framework intending to build behavioral norms into our shared experience. Norms that we expect to carry value. As I observe the results, I see a mixed bag of conflicting consequences. Some good, and others not.

I do believe religious faith is powerful and I believe that God is part of the mix. There is great power in community. There is great power in the comfort carried by the certainty that is attached to faith and its symbols. There is great power in God, no matter our considerations or the actual fact of God.

Many seem to believe in God yet don’t believe that they are allowed to know God, to behave as if God is available to them and that they have the liberty to express that outside of strict established guidelines. In spite of that, much definition has been spent on God and that definition carries the weight of consequence.

The God worshiped in Abrahamic traditions is brutal. This God is the deliberate creator of every single thing, is all-knowing and all-forgiving, yet is so petty we are to be forever fearful of this God’s wrath. It is difficult to reconcile these contradictions in one God. I do it by dismissing Abraham’s God as fiction. It is clear to me that this God is a projection of our own insecurities. An insecure God is a truly frightful. Being imagined does not diminish the fearsome reality spawned by such a monster. So many worship and do believe and that is real power.

This template is common in human culture and society. We have long used it as a formative stamp. It is pervasive. The Christian tradition gleefully awaits Armageddon, the final judgement. Justice. The chosen will be saved at everyone else’s expense. We use this Godly template to justify injustice and suffering, to imagine it is deserved. We expect that even we might deserve such ourselves, but for the favor and grace of God.

I have no use for such a God. The idea that God would create each person individually, and then send most of us to an eternal Hell, just doesn’t hold water. Heaven after all, is an eternity with that God. That sounds very unpleasant. What does it say of those who would accept God’s favor knowing the cruelty imposed by their God? It is a model that fails of its own absurdity. Heaven exists in juxtaposition to Hell, without Hell …

These Hellish trappings of God seem certain to be our projected insecurities.

We do exist. We are aware and do experience it. The singular gravity of all that is known to exist and to be experienced, is now, and now, is without beginning. Without a beginning, there is no end.

Whatever God may or may not be, I am certain, fear of God is pointless.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

The Fog of Time

Divine living is the idea that a better representation of being can be realized. A more complete expression of awareness. We can not deny the fact that we exist. We imagine ourselves to be independent of others. I do not know that we are. We have an independence of person as individual people, but existence and awareness seem to be of a singular quality. This singularity is implied by existence itself.

We exist, yet without awareness, there is no existence and these two give rise to being.

Living beings are imbued with awareness of existence. Being, awareness and existence seem variables of a whole. Interdependent functions of a greater singularity. As human beings we imagine a beginning and an end, yet only ever experience now. Awareness, existence and being, sustain each other in the eternal embrace of now. Now neither begins nor ends, it is the gravity of eternity from which there is no escape.

Being, awareness and existence, exist now, and that implies an eternal presence.

The people we are exist in a framework of time to which we attach ourselves. We imagine and do spread ourselves across a past and future expanse, but only experience now. It is this past and future distraction, from now, that prevents divine expression. Divine expression incorporates the temporal reality, as an example and expression of the eternal reality.

As living beings emanating from a singular source, we none-the-less have the impression of independence. This is coupled with the beginning and end sensibility so pronounced in our shared experience. In that there is no beginning or end to now, and at no time past or future will anything ever happen, everything housed between the bookends of beginning and end, is fiction. That does, it would seem, include our person in as much as we define it within that frame. This fiction would then be for the observation of our eternal being.

As a singularity that imagines its self as a community of independent selves, we remain connected by our singular nature. The connective tissue of this is spirit. Spirit is what animates us and we are animated by countless spirits. These spirits are known and shared. Just as we obscure now and ignore it, we ignore these spirit influences and imagine them as fiction, or in some other way, distant from us. Untenable variables, even if we think some validity is their due.

Not to be dismissive of life as simply an imagination, a false construct made of some fiction we call time, it is more than that. It is our shared responsibility.

We exist, we are aware and we are animated by spirit. This implies that there is some spirit that is also eternal. Spirit is known to exist. Being is an animated experience and it is spirit that animates it.

In looking to demonstrate human life as a divine expression, I find myself in a fog of spiritual chaos. The spirits I encounter go largely ignored by everyone I know. This does not diminish our mutual awareness and spiritual complicity, only that we exercise this condition in ignorance.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

God is not a Monster

Is life really just preparation for Heaven and Hell? A cruel joke intended to end in eternal damnation, or the alternative, Heavenly glory. Is there a God that creates each one of us and then subjects us to seemingly random identities, vastly different circumstances through which we are charged with pleasing said God, or, suffering God’s eternal wrath? I was taught that something like this is true. At the end of my life, I would know an eternity of unimaginable suffering, or God’s eternal blissful favor.

Growing up Catholic I was taught that only Catholics go to Heaven. Everybody else was going to Hell. Just being born and raised Catholic, might not guarantee your salvation. Your faith would have to be properly maintained, and a slip up, could land you in Hell. That is how I understood Christianity as a Catholic. Other versions carry the same theme of salvation, for the chosen few, while all others are going to Hell.

In 2010, only 23% of the world population was Christian. Due to technicalities, not all of them will qualify for the bliss of an eternity with their God, a God that singled everyone else out for eternal damnation. Think about that. This God is said to have created every person, individually, and then sends almost all of us to an eternal Hell.

It is my consideration that this God, so many live in fear of, is a false God. I believe that has real consequences. We imagine much about this being, and in so doing, create a spiritual framework for our “God”. This spirit requires a lot of our shared spiritual space. I think that is harmful.

Satan’s Demon’s and Devil’s, are the supporting cast of this monster we call God. They don’t exist without it. Together, they are the two sides of a worthless coin by which we make a spiritual purchase. It is a very poor investment.

We need not define God. It is an exercise in absurdity to imagine any definition of God, is within our grasp. What if God does, or, God does not exist? What possible difference could it make? It is enough to accept things as they are without pretext or preconditions.

This is how I imagine God.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2018

The Pillars of Experience

Mysticism. I say this is how I am, that I found myself captured, by this condition, and left to fend for myself. What does it mean?

My entire life I have felt a devotion to God. As a boy growing up, I imagined that I would become a priest. I only came to see myself, as mystic, after losing all faith in traditional paths related to God; religion and the written word. Whatever God might be, surely God alone was capable of expressing it. Only a firsthand account would do. To rely on secondhand accounts, is a demonstration of doubt. Not faith.

After decades of mystic life, I reached the conclusion that faith, is a poor vehicle for understanding God. Confidence serves best. A certain confidence that God alone defines, and is God. Any attempt to otherwise define God, is failure. By lending my definition to God, I create, and no one has the authority to create God.

I am here (being). I am aware. I exist. I do not believe these conditions are born of some accidental biology. That anything is known to exist, implies a timelessness that obviously includes awareness. Of these three, awareness, being and existence, awareness is the most curious. Without it, nothing exists. There is no being without awareness and nothing can exist without it. Obviously, stuff does exist. Awareness seems an attribute of existence, but existence, might just a well be a product of awareness. Being represents awareness coupled with existence. It would seem that the product, the creation of existence and awareness, is being.

These three seem fundamental to all we experience, and now, seems the only force able to sustain them. Now, absent a past or future, is eternal, as then it would seem, so too is existence. That which has no beginning has no end.

I addition to the pillars of experience, I have been discussing here, Existence, Awareness and Being, there is understanding. Understanding seems an absolute, as is truth. They are magical catalyst’s. Without them, nothing can be organized well enough to exist. Understanding is the foundation existence rests on, and the truth, is omnipotent. While understanding allows for all existence, it is not in itself true. It is indifferent to the truth, and the truth, likewise, is indifferent to understanding. This allows for all manner of chaos and confusion, the kaleidoscope we call life.

Mysticism is an act of confidence that the truth can be understood. Not only can the truth be understood, but that it is, and all else is a distraction.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

Being Spiritual and Spiritual Beings

Satan’s, as the Mystic Tourist, I have blogged a few hundred words on them here. In my experience, they are misunderstood. Often those who believe, or are inclined to consider the existence of Satan’s, are frightened of them. I spent much of my life terrified of them.

I am a mystic. Like being alive, I simply realized one day, this is how I am. As a Catholic youth, I imagined that my religion held the answers I desired. I came to realize that my confidence was misplaced. The first blow came in sixth/seventh grade. I began to doubt credibility. I did not understand why women were thought to be so poisonous that marriage would despoil a man, making the priesthood, no longer an option. Of course, there is a much broader dehumanization of women enshrined in that doctrine, and that seed, eventually destroyed my religious faith.

It was very difficult to let go of my religion. I came to accept that its promise, was a lie, and I felt betrayed. I did do a stint as a “Born Again” Christian. Very short-lived. I was seeking shelter from my drug addled youth, but what I found, was the same emptiness and deceit. Again, very hard to let go. The comfort of knowing (religious faith), and the community it provides, is very powerful. I returned to the drugs and proceeded to ruin my life.

I survived religion and the ruin I brought against myself, born, of my disappointment. I wanted the ready answers that are the false promise I found in church. I wanted to serve the true God.

Faith has its place and its worth, but you don’t need it to know the truth, that is just a lie.

I have no qualms with Jesus. If I have a hero, it would be my consideration of the man he might have been. I have no reason to believe he formed a church, or that he equated himself with God. I believe it is possible to live a similar life, to have that human experience. I believe that is the message, the invitation made by the story of Jesus. I believe others, men and women, have found the same path, seen the same light, and, accepted the truth independent of the preconceived conditions of religious faith.

So what of Satan’s? The fingerprints of my religious youth are all over my spiritual considerations. As a young man, I realized, what I sought would not be found in religious text or doctrines. Dogma, could only lie. I still believed Satan would pursue me if I sought God on my own, without the stamp of religion and it’s shield; faith. I was terrified.

Eventually I came to realize that my fear was misplaced. Other human beings are much more dangerous than Satan. Just ask the kids in Parkland Florida or a Syrian refugee.

None-the-less, I have experienced what I believe are Satan’s Demon’s and Devil’s. Angles as well, and Ascendant Beings. Such is the life of this mystic.

We are made of carbon and water, animated by spirit. Satan’s, like Angles and such, are spiritual. Satan’s Devils and Demon’s influence and animate us. I believe they have no durable quality whatsoever, beyond the illusion of the past and future. They are made of the same fiction. The only authority they have is what we grant them. We are that authority, by our freedom and power; choice.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

The Gravity of Now

The future. We design our expectations of life, projecting from our experience and capabilities, into the opportunities that our circumstance allows. We consider this a progression of time. A past distinct from a future. It seems to me, that the past and the future, being made entirely of each other, are actually the same thing caught in the gravity of now. It is our determination of things past and future, as being independent of each other, instead of dependent pieces inseparable from each other, that traps us in conflict. Imagining what is naught, as being what is, is conflict.

Everything that exists, represents success, by the fact of its existence. Conflict and success are mutually exclusive. The mere fact of existence, being an obvious success, tells us that conflict is imagined. That it is independent, divorced from the fact of existence. It is imagined.

By our determination to imagine our future separate from our past, we create fiction. In this fiction we live in the past as much as we do in the future, when in truth, we are only here now. The future, never arrives, and the past, is absent. Yet we persist; now.

It seems to me that we have, and are, just one being. A timeless being from which everything is imagined . Much as a dream. It would seem that being is an expression, or component, of now. That like now, without a past or a future, it is eternal. It can neither begin nor end, as it is, and always has been, here now. That which has no beginning, has no end. Awareness also exists. Many attachments are made to the tenants of being and awareness. Some, more permanent than others.

In considering now/time/being, as I am doing here, it is also so reasonable to think that not all that exists, is of a durable nature. As persons of free will, we might choose to drift so far from now’s gravity, that it no longer holds us, and without now, we don’t exist. It is also reasonable to imagine that we might allow our self to become so weighted by our past and future, that its gravity pulls us into now and we expire in the process. Certainly, the animal that we are, does not survive, and the person we are is very much produced by that animal existence in time and space.

Still, the tenacity of our experience and the reality it generates, keeps us in the orbit of now while we seem unable to settle into its gravity alone.

This leaves us with now. With being. With awareness. All of which exist. It would seem that these have an eternal nature. Our temporal condition, seems improbable, without some tenants that are eternal.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

The Dream and The Dreamer

Long ago, far away, in a distant future lies an illusive throne. Now. In the maddening tangle of the long dead past, and the promise of an uncertain future, now, known to all, hides.

It is this moment of now, alone in the expanse of time, that confuses and ages us. The past and the future are places that do not exist. Nothing ever happened in the past nor will something ever happen in the future. Now is the only time anything ever happens, the only time known to exist. As such, the past, the future, all that has been might and will be, finds its completion, now, and by that completion, is complete, now. Everything exists at once.

How then is it so hard to be here now? To sit on the throne and hold the magic.

We imagine ourselves as having a past and a future, yet if the past and the future don’t really exist, then the person we imagine as our self, and the people we consider as our companions, do not exist. We are instead as a dream. Who then dreams this?

We are the dream and the dreamer.

What happens when the mask of the past and future is removed, and now, is all that remains? Not much. Our consideration of the past and future is fiction, because we imagine they are some time other than now, which simply can not be. To grasp this truth is to let it go. Any time other than now, is a false gravity that pulls and displaces us. I believe it is this dispersal that generates all the people and things we in turn imagine, as being, as existing. All of these imagined beings and things, in turn, generate our collective experience, and again, a false gravity. It pulls us away from the dreamer and we imagine we are the dream.

We are the dreamer and now is all there is. Without a past, there can be no beginning and that which has no beginning, has no end.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018