The Better Angles

Christianity is my north star. It is not my religion, I am a secular mystic. I believe things are as they are and I believe that is understood, absolutely. I am a product of my parents circumstance. I’ll call it; Original Fate. That includes my birth as a Catholic, as a Christian. Basically, that is what providence looks like. In other words, the direction on the sign begins with: You Are Here.

As a Catholic youth in parochial schools I was taught to be Catholic. The best thing about being Catholic was Heaven. All Catholics in good standing went to Heaven. Everyone else was going to Hell. It was hard for me to understand this as a good thing. Fistfights with my neighbor resulted. He was my friend, but he was not Catholic. I was so upset that this friend of mine was going to Hell, that my frustration lead me to punch him the face and initiate a fight.

There is no Hell, at least not one that is eternal, and Heaven, is the same way. Heaven requires Hell to exist. The same is true of Hell, without Heaven, no Hell. We have made these things up. Imagined them to be true. It is a terrible thing because there are real consequences to thinking some deserve Heaven and others Hell. The typical model has a lot more people in Hell than can ever hope to know Heaven.

These considerations, in turn, are how we model society, and as we have only ever imagined a Heaven and Hell, we are the God that owns it. An imaginary, yet brutal, God.

Christianity has its better Angles. The God that would create each and every one of us, individually as some sort of hobby, and then send nearly everyone to an eternal Hell, this psychopath, is also all forgiving. People hope to spend an eternity with that God. I am not one of them.

Okay, better Angles. Clearly all forgiving and eternal damnation are not compatible. All forgiving works for me. Eternal damnation, that just seems ridiculous. How is it sustainable? It would require a God, or whatever, to be determined that a misery so incomprehensible as to only be understood by its unending certainty and perpetual escalation, be maintained. An all forgiving God simply makes that impossible. Obviously.

These silly expectations are not necessary. They only matter to, and impact, the world we live in, enjoying no durability beyond human societies and cultures. It is sad that we would imagine such injustices, and then, turn a blind eye to the suffering they perpetuate, blaming God, instead of shouldering our own responsibility. We create these conditions and then we assign their consequence to an “all-powerful” God, a God whose true power is our denial. Our denial the we are that God. An imaginary God entirely of our own design and limitation.

I do believe a true God must exist. One that can only be known and understood by experience. We can understand God by the observation of what must be absolute. That which can only be known by a singular measure, complete in-and-of itself and immune to compromise. Unable to suffer injury or slight. The truth, understanding and compassion are three such things.

All efforts to define God fail as God is not of us. We are of God. We simply lack the authority to define God. God is to be understood by experience, by acceptance, by understanding and there is simply no way not to do this. We can imagine what is naught, we can deny, yet we can not escape God.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

Living the Life of Christ

The idea of Christ has gripped my curiosity all of my life. I was born in the shadow of Christ as a Catholic child. In hindsight, I never truly believed the church, although I did feel committed to it and expected to forge a life of service as a priest. I was indoctrinated. When young, I accepted the normalcy of my circumstance with naivete. Trust was my blanket and the questions that naturally arise were kept behind its veil. As I consider who I am, and the child I grew from, I see that doubt was a constant companion. While trying to negotiate the articles of faith, I only ever considered Jesus as a man. The sort of person anyone might aspire to be.

That was the undoing of my religious faith. As I grew, the thin veil of trust dissolved in the floodwaters of reality. All who are delivered here by their mothers womb are human. God is not so enamored by the beauty of a woman that a child is born. If God could be insulted, blaspheme, that nonsense would pretty much do it. Of course, the God of Abraham is fiction, as is noted by this silly story and countless others.

That does not mean that the story of Jesus is fiction, just that it is obscured by it.

I see very little evidence that Jesus intended to or did found a church. From my reading of history, it was Constantine who hobbled together the teachings and texts that formally founded the Christian church. For over three hundred years people had told the story of a man named Jesus. He was deified and and set apart as some impossible sort, except, for his Godly heritage. That Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman so pure that even God was smitten and a child was born. After three hundred plus years of storytelling, that is what Emperor Constantine’s Council in Nicaea came up with.

No. I don’t think Jesus ever told this story. I believe that whomever Jesus might have been, his story was distorted with the passage of time and the retelling of his story.

Miracles? No, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I believe in magic and creation. I think magic and creation are the natural way things are and that we fit the rules of reality to create a static environment suitable for community and humanity. The life we share.

Explain Wim Huff.

The stories we spin around our memory of Jesus, and others, tend to forbid. Look what happened to Jesus. Humiliated, tortured and brutally murdered. Abandoned by all of his friends in his time of need. And he was God. That is the story. It is a clear warning. One, you are not God, two; humiliation, torture, murder. The Catholic Church, I was raised in, would even have you sent to an eternal Hell if you imagined Jesus was like you, an ordinary human being.

Assuming Jesus actually did live, he would have been as we all are, an ordinary person living an ordinary life. The extraordinary and supernatural are fiction, while being unusual is normal. Someone else will do and live as Jesus did. It is inevitable. It is likely certain that others have.

I believe much of the story is fiction. The allusion to the sort of God involved is too much for me. Hell, is a ridiculous notion and a person the likes of Jesus would have recognized that. That wrinkle alone destroys the Christian notion of God.

I do believe there is plenty of evidence, in our world, to support the miraculous claims attributed to Jesus. Not the specificity but what these claims allude to. I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in nature and its laws. I believe that some people are more in tune than others and the story of Jesus alludes to that. It is an example for others to follow.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

The Nucleus of Creation / A Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity: Awareness, Being and Now. Together they are the nucleus of creation. Not some human-like God, just the unadorned nuts and bolts of existence. These three guarantee experience by simply grinding out creation as an unavoidable proof. Creation is the consequence of Awareness, Being and Now. It is inescapable. This nucleus of creation, can not be without a reality to support it.

On considering consciousness we imagine a progression, and that our species, the human race, is the crowning example. Certainly here on earth we demonstrate an organizational intellect that is unique. I don’t know that it is a higher consciousness. A higher responsibility, that seems obvious.

As we experience creation, creation is our companion. We imagine that a God, much like ourselves, is the creator, but we are that God. We have the authority of creation to create and we have created an imaginary God, that must in turn, be us. Creation on it own, is true, but what we imagine that distorts creation, is our own. It is not true. This does not diminish the existence of God.

I do imagine that a true God exists due to our own sentience. Sentience; it does exist. It exists now, and now absent a beginning, has no end. It is eternal. There must also be an eternal aspect of sentience, and clearly, we are not that. At least not as we consider ourselves.

We have the authority of creation but largely just let it slip. Some authority beyond ourselves is to blame. Whether that be for good, evil, or whatever. We do this as group while considering ourselves to be individuals.  Kind of like individual brain cells imagining themselves independent from each other. That would be a little confusing.

I write as the Mystic Tourist and what is read here are my personal considerations born of mystical contemplation. My mind won’t let it go. I have been snared by this from birth and I hope to write my way to freedom. That is my disclaimer lest anyone think more, or less, of my words.

I am drawn to the notion of Divinity. The incarnate expression of eternal sentience. What we all must actually be yet are determined to imagine otherwise. To the extent that we are able to imagine what is naught, to be what is, we do compose ourselves of what is naught. Just a flash in the pan. Conversely, we must also be able to imagine our self to be what actually is and live a divine life. I believe many people actually do this in the quite resolve of their personal life. Quietly making a real difference in the circumstance of fate.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

 

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

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