What I am up to
1/31/2010 I finally finished my book on apohatic mystcisim and have started publishing some material on scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21661555/Is-there-any-truth-to-apophatic-mysticism (The best way to find my work on scribd.com is to go there and put my name in their search engine.)
Also I have a page on facebook called "apophatic mysticism."
Summer 2003: Mike Butler is helping me rewrite the website.
temporary location for new additions:
Index of the new additions below: (Please scroll down until I learn the new links software :-) )
One: An Unreasonable love for God
Two: A sudden shift (contributied by Terry Stiemsma, author unknown)
Three. Being present to the giving and taking of life. by Kheyala
“This nothingness is her falling into the certainty of knowing nothing and wanting nothing. And this nothingness of which we speak, called Love, gives her all.” Marguerite Porete
Love and be loved by God completely, so much so, that soon you will no longer insist that she exist.
If you love God fully, you will not demand, nor will you deny her existence. Where there is intense unconditional love, there is no insistence on the beloved to be anything in particular, there is simply reciprocal love. Consummate love occurs in that intimate relationship which does not insist that the beloved be anything other than lovable. When there are no ontological demands placed on God, when one does not insist that she be this or that, exist or not exist, she is quite lovable and amazingly loving.
God pours her love upon the one who surrenders and loves her unconditionally, who loves her and cares not whether she “is” or “isn’t.” Such a lover insists only on love, and with divine love returned the lover suddenly realizes the joy of sovereign contentment. This “wish-fulfilling jewel,” is the splendid treasure which God gives to her unconditional lovers, those who trust her completely.
What is mysticism?
It is a complete surrender to a relationship with that which cannot be described with words. Even less than being described, this "that which" cannot even be said to "exist" or "not exist," its ontological status is well beyond the reach of the philosopher's stone. The relationship between the human being and the unspeakable other, becomes manifest in a place that is entirely dark to conscious vision. And yet the encounter fills the body and mind with an unmistakable presence. In a certain mystical disposition, which seems to be best described as a "union," body and mind are gripped by a love and equanimity that are far beyond the expectiatin of any reasonable mind. The Chinese classical daoist called this experience "rong," a total embrace of everything that is.
The personal experience of the universal
The most compelling deliverance is non-sectarian and non-theological. It is complete release, blessing the seeker with an ability to joyfully embrace the entire world of phenomena unconditionally. To receive this exquisite gift of universal love, one needs to undergo a thorough deconstruction and reintegration of personality.
Such a comprehensive transformation will require an initially frightening surrender of the world one knew, and then an enduring emotional fervor to continue the commitment. This total surrender and enduring fervor is best cultivated and sustained with an intensely intimate devotion to an extremely personalized characterization of divine force.
Thus the paradox, the sincerely impassioned seeker becomes the one member of a unique devotional sect consisting of only she herself; and yet she realizes a love for the world that is ubiquitous, completely non-sectarian. She worships a God that is and is not; hers is a personal encounter, visceral and immediate; experience, not belief.
The delivered one obtains favor from one who has no favorites.
A sudden shift (contributed by Terry Stiemsma, author unknown)
i cannot say that i achieved.
i can only say i tried so much that i was annihilated.
i tried so much that any effort became absurd.
and a moment came when i was not trying ...
when the mind was not ...
when i was not thinking.
then there was no future and no past ...
i was mindless ...
then something happened.
i can only say that it is always happening ...
and i was not aware of it before.
i cannot say that it happened in that moment ...
it was always happening ...
only i was closed.
it IS happening ...
Being present to the giving and taking of life. by Kheyala
When we got home that night I was feeling extremely bare and open. Physically, still being pregnant, I was a bit "off" and queasy, and I fell asleep just as soon as I'd laid down. In the morning, I found myself at peace lying on my back with my hands resting just above my pubic bone, on what was now the shallow dome of my womb. 'Whoa,' I gasped. Jim came in. 'This is it. This is that vision happening right now!" We were both silent. The circumstance was definitely not how we had imagined it was going to be!
I called up a friend to see if she could take Ananda while I went into labor. I had walked into the bathroom for privacy during this conversation and caught my reflection in the mirror over the sink. "Oh my gosh, you should see me," I told her. "I look so soft...and...I have that glow!" I lifted my shirt. My skin was as smooth as Zack's. My breasts were bigger and rounder and my belly was softer and fuller than I had previously noticed. I started to cry. "I can't believe I wasn't able to see this before now. And I had been giving myself a hard time for not being more patient, for not doing enough, and for putting on weight, too! Oh my gosh, why didn't I *know*?!" My friend was very supportive; she just listened. It was exactly what I needed.
That night as I drifted to sleep, the last words I whispered to Jim were that it seemed the pill was working. My energy had shifted and I did not feel pregnant anymore. In the dark hours just before sunrise, I woke up to a tightening sensation in my pelvis. I took this as a sign that my body was ready for the next phase. It was time to take the second set of pills that would help my uterus to purge and cleanse itself. Jim carried Zacky into the living room and I lay on the bed as labor began. I made an intention to be as aware as I could be, to learn all I could, and I sent out a prayer for this induced birthing to be as graceful as possible.
Thankfully, it was. When I managed to catch and distinguish what looked like a little pink sponge in my hands, this "genetic material," as the nurse had called it, my heart burst open. There was so much love! I had felt grateful that it had come into me, even if it was only in order to leave me. I was sorry that I had not been more present for the life it lived inside me, and I vowed to never again be so out of touch with the workings of my feminine self, with my womb. After I had tenderly cleansed my body and also the messes in the bathroom, I called Jim to me and told him it was all finished, that the passing had gone well. I introduced him to the small, fleshy mass. We agreed to bury it with respect in our orchard.
I am still bleeding and cramping a little, but I'm feeling okay. It has been bittersweet. While I wish I could have embraced this new life and welcomed it into myself, my family, and my home, I am grateful in a way...because it almost feels as if, ultimately, that's actually what happened.
Read more from Kheyala at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rasaranch/