Over the course of ten years I collected little pieces Iíd written on religious topics into a booklet entitled Butterfly Dreams. Most of these were small snippets came from letters I had written to friends, and to she who is known as ďSt. Debra the Patient,Ē i.e., my wife. I organized them into chapters, numbering them as well. The collection went through three versions before I decided it was done and moved on to other things.
The final version was done almost twenty years ago, and since then my views have changed on a lot of it. There are some parts of it, though, that I still like, and since self-indulgence is one of the benefits of having a website I decided to present them here.
As you will notice, the numbers arenít consecutive. I left them as they were in the original, with the missing numbers being those of the fragments I omitted.
Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou.(Chuang Tzu)
3. The Universe (and all Reality) is the orgasm produced by the coition of Infinite Possibility and Finite Point of View.
5. From the point of view of Infinity everything is Nothing, since it is self-canceling. From the point of view of Nothing, there is Infinity. Infinity and Nothingness cannot exist in pure forms independent of each other. It may be said that the Universe is a result of the oscillation between the two and that enlightenment is the direct perception of the oscillation and the extremes.
7. Every moment is a death.
13. All beings are co-conspirators in dreaming the Universe.
14. The Universe is not a circle. The Universe is a Mobius strip. There you stand, and you think there is another side, but if you follow the strip around you find out there's only one side. All along you thought that opposites existed but suddenly you notice they don't.
15. At any given time there is only one: one event, one now. Then I say, Hey, look: there's one!, and that makes two, the one and the I. But from the point of view of the universe, all along there was only zero. You see, in an infinite universe, something is always happening to exactly cancel your event.
21. In the Eternal Now, the Flow of the Tao does not exist, for "flow" is a linear concept, requiring past, present and future. Put that in your hookah and smoke it.
27. Say All is One. And then look around you; choose something and watch it become distinct. If All is One, whence this distinctness? Then it must be false. But it's there; it must be true in some sense, since it's there. But it cannot be true, not on a cosmic scale. We need to stop thinking of true versus false. The Universe is too wonderful a place for such a sterile idea; it is alive, and not to be pinned down like an insect in a collection. The True embraces the False with that love which draws the beloved in: Truth groks Falsehood. Or to William Blake: Eternity is in love with the productions of time. Local definitions, local limitations, bother Infinity not at all.
28. When I say that everything is true, I mean that for anything there exists a point of view according to which it is true. When I say that everything is false, I mean that for anything there exists a point of view according to which it is false.
30. Choose your points of view carefully.
31. Reality is born from an infinite sea of possibilities, continually swept around by the infinite number of points of view which it contains. So that the observer does not create his universe all by himself, but is impinged upon by all the other universes and impinges upon them as well.
37. The Infinite is self-contradicting. - and + are included in Infinity. And the resultant Infinity includes its negation. And so on--infinite progression. After all, it is Infinity.
38. From our point of view we call them contradictions. If we look at them from the point of view of the finite looking at the infinite, we can call them paradoxes: seeming contradictions that conceal mysteries. But from the point of view of the Infinite, they are neither contradictions nor paradoxes. They just are--the infinite pairs of complements that are a necessary
39. Of course, the Infinite has no point of view. Point of view is finite.
40. If reason stands aghast at life and the universe, let the fault be laid on reason: existence was here first.
44. There is nothing behind things; all meaning is in relationships. Nothing has meaning in and of itself: everything is empty and marvelous.
56. Reality = the intersection of Infinite Possibility and Finite Point of View.
67. There is no such thing as blasphemy. The Infinite allows everything, so not only is there no blasphemy, but every description of it is true.
68. Who would blaspheme? And against whom would they blaspheme? All is holy, all is sacred, all is God. The blasphemer and the blasphemed are one. And the commission of blasphemy is a sacred act. There is no such thing as blasphemy.
69. Most people will tell you they believe God is infinite, but they really don't. Ask them: Am I God? Are you God? Is God revealed in other religions? Chances are a Westerner will give you at least one "no" answer. (There are more questions, some suited for followers of Eastern religions, and you will eventually get a "no.") But God is not "no." God is the eternal Yes, Yes to all things. Is God love? Yes. Is God not-love? Yes. Is God hate? Yes. Is God not-hate? Yes. Is God love and hate? Yes. Is God neither love nor hate? Yes. Yes Yes Yes Yes, again and again, and always Yes.
70. God is "beyond Good and Evil" because each of them would limit.
75. We have forgotten the sacred. We look about us, searching for it, and most of what we find we let drop again, saying, "This is not the sacred." And these precious objects fall glittering from our hands. We have forgotten the sacred. We see only the material. We see "only the material"--if we could strike out the word"only", perhaps we would remember the sacred.
76. The sun rises every morning
and still no one wonders.
77. The cypress tree in the courtyard is still standing
the very body of the Buddha.
78. If it were far in the past, we would believe it was sacred. If it was in another land, we would believe it was sacred. If it was in another person's life, we would believe it was sacred. But it happens now, and here, and to us, and how can we believe? If you only knew, you would ask, how can we not believe?
79. Sacred vs. profane is one Point of View.
80. To say there is a God is to deny your own Godhead. Instead try being God.
82. We live God.
86. It is perhaps less dangerous to pay reverence to statues and stones than to ideas. The latter are as much idols as the former, but are of a more subtle kind. They are therefore more likely to entrap us and to cause us to confuse that which we call God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent) or Tao (the eternal flow, the dynamic interaction of opposites) with that which these words are meant to describe. With physical idols the symbolic nature is more evident: the more physical the symbol, the more its symbolic nature is apparent. Abstract symbols are more easily misunderstood.
93. God reveals Himself as person because that is what we are. Or He reveals Himself as natural forces, or society, or something else of which we have knowledge. The Infinite Nothing is beyond our experience, for it is something which cannot be grasped. It is the face of God, which none can see and live.
94. The Gods are not Ultimate Being or a manifestation of Ultimate Being. There is no Ultimate Being--all is Becoming. The Gods are changing: they are the changing of the year, the changing of nature, the changing of the self.
(104-152 are some pieces of madness, speculating on a possible meta-myth. They arenít to be considered to be accurate reports of ancient belief or practice. I like the madness of them.)
104. The dragon--Primeval Chaos, Tiamat, Leviathan. Holding in Her hands the Cosmic Egg--the egg which is also Herself. Out of the egg springs the Winged Man--motion to Chaos' space. First was Chaos, then Eros, binding Chaos together (splitting Chaos apart). The egg/dragon split in half by Marduk, one half the sky and one the earth. The dragon as sea serpent, the West, the sea: MR. And the Winged Man is the angel, the West; is the Spirit of God moving across the face of the waters, is the phallus, explosive force, extension, the great T. The two together are MTR, mother.
105. The dragon beneath Camelot, the center of the new earth--the world is based on the death of Chaos. The crystal towers over the crystal cave--the structured arising from the unstructured. The towers (male) from the cave (female).
106. But the Dragon is not dead. She only sleeps in Her cave, waiting.
107. Chaos is a state of "no difference"--there is no distinction, no order. In Chaos it cannot be said, "Here is this, there is that." All is one. Chaos is unity.
108. Chaos is always moving, always swirling, for to be still would give it order, and to stop would be to die. Chaos is life, is Change; it is only Cosmos that is dead. So in the swirling, in the changing, there arises a local order. True Chaos must have local order. Points of local order in infinite random series are called "Markoff chains" by mathematicians. So in the Chaos a Markoff region arises. And this Markoff region is the point, the germ, the sperm, that gives birth to the Warrior. Like a seed crystal in a supersaturated solution, it gathers the elements of Chaos around it and creates order.
109. There is a crack in the Cosmic Egg through which the Winged Man flies. This is the flight of the shaman, up the tent pole, through the smokehole. The axis mundi, the point where creation begins. "As we have of old been taught that the point within the center is the origin of all things."
110. The division of the egg is the creation of a universe. Motion in space defines limits. Sacred space is created by the reenactment of this original motion.
111. Motion both requires and produces separation; thus the first act of the Winged Man is separation. The God is the divinity of separation, even as the Goddess is of unity.
112. It is order that separates. A place for everything and everything in its place.
113. To be born is both to go from unity to separation and from Chaos to order. The outside world is not Chaos, as some think, but order, for Chaos is unity and the outside world is separation.
114. First comes birth: the mother is split. Then the making of a man: the new world is created. Then the orgasm: the thruster, destruction, dissolution, return to Chaos. From this a sperm, a new Winged Man: a new world is about to be born.
115. Chaos the womb; the Cosmic Egg, the human egg; the Winged Man, the sperm. The sperm on a voyage through the woman, motion through space. The Viking Voyager.
116. The Warrior becomes the crowned king, the orderer of the realm. He becomes the Lawgiver. Soon he will be the Lord of Death, but at first his ordering is creative.
117. Arthur, the warrior, becomes lawgiver, to be supplanted by Lancelot and Mordred, the new warriors. First the splitting, then the ordering. Then along comes the warrior.
118. We have here the Lawgiver and the Warrior; Marduk as Lord of Heaven (head of the divine hierarchy; archetype of the king) as well as killing Tiamat; Horus as double God.
119. Horus: "God is He, having the head of a hawk; having a spiral force." (Oracles of Zoroaster)
120. In the very midst of the moment
I have seen the Warrior arise
with His sword singing;
heard His laughter,
seen His weapon's gleam.
In the very instant
(it is less than an instant)
of Cosmos' crowning,
in that time
(it is before time)
of the imposition of order, I have known Chaos
known its beginning
known how behind things it survives,
waiting to return.
121. The rule of the Lord of Death is an attempt to fight the urge to Chaos within everything. It succeeds temporarily on a local scale, but eventually the dragon Chaos reasserts Herself and gives birth to the Winged Man Shiva/Dionysos.
122. "Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
The Warrior arises again, the rough beast. But He is no sloucher--He is the joyous and dancing Shiva. (And his anarchy isnít "mere", either.)
123. In the midst of Cosmos, Chaos lies hidden, waiting.
124. And in the midst of Chaos, Cosmos lies, waiting, to emerge as the Winged Man. And so on, through infinite time, through infinite space: infinite reverberation. No beginning, no end, no ground anywhere to stand on. Only the Cycle, through which to chart your course, like the Winged Man, or in which to dissolve, like Chaos.
125. Cosmos must eventually return to Chaos because it is a local and open system and must take in energy and substance from without in order to survive. This nourishment must come from Chaos,and inconsistent elements are thereby introduced into Cosmos. Inconsistency is the bane of Cosmos and must eventually break it asunder. It introduces Creativity, the Winged man, into Cosmos, the Crystal, vibrating it until it shatters. The Winged Man that makes order from Chaos and the Winged Man that turns Cosmos into Chaos are one and the same. He is the force of creativity.
126. Cosmos is built of the bones of Chaos. This is its strength and its downfall. Bones are strengtheners, but the bones of Chaos lurk within Cosmos awaiting their chance to break out.
127. The cycle Warrior/Creator-Lawgiver-Warrior/Destroyer is not, of course, a Creation myth in the mundane sense. Way back, in linear time, there was not nothing but the Goddess Chaos, out of whom sprang the Warrior, etc. And yet, it may be said that it is the story of the creation of the physical universe, for about us at all times is Primal Chaos, on which we impose order and call that order real. The instabilities of this order (because of the Chaos on which it is based, because it is a finite apprehension of the Infinite) give rise to the Warrior, who breaks the real down into its original Chaos. This happens in each moment of our existence. The real is then reformed from Chaos, and the process continues. This progression of cycles is called Time.
128. Everything has been ready for you from the beginning. "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be"--but the world's end is now. Destruction and recreation every moment.
129. The Winged Man is event, which gives rise to Time. Chaos is potentiality, which gives rise to events.
130. But Chaos does not exist, since things exist only for an observer, within a point of view. Observation is ordering. Thus Chaos, source of everything, is found nowhere.
131. It is only at this time, in this space, from this point of view, that reality of this sort can be said to exist. Cosmos is a random occurrence of order in a random existence, in Chaos. And the Warrior is a transition state.
132. The Warrior is the act of transition, is the transitioning.
133. The Winged Man is the point, as Chaos is the circle. Not the area within the circle, just the circumference. And not even that, but the formula of the circumference. But the formula is not really the circle until you plug in an infinite number of points.
134. The Winged Man is not only order. He is also breaking asunder, the split in the Cosmic Egg: Shiva, Dionysos. Here is the twin God (or father and son); Janus, the God of beginnings, of cusps, of turnings.
135. Janus, the God of surprise, God of non-attachment.
136. The destruction of which Shiva is God is a return to Chaos, a breakdown into primal elements: creative destruction.
137. The Winged Man is not two Gods, but a dual God. The Warrior and Lawgiver are inseparable, although they can be worshipped as if they were separate Gods.
138. The Winged Man is above all the separator: the Creator Separator (Warrior), the Discriminating Separator (Lawgiver), and the Destroyer Separator (Warrior).
139. The Warrior: Creating. The Lawgiver: Preserving. The Warrior: Destroying. Here is a Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva trinity. The dual God is a triple God, and the Warrior has two faces. The two faces of the Lawgiver are only in the observer: He constructs and preserves order; whether this order is creative or destructive is irrelevant to Him, but the two faces of the Warrior are in Him. Thus we can speak of three Gods or two Gods or one.
140. "Creative," when used to describe the Warrior, is not completely accurate. Chaos is potential; by splitting it open, He changes potential into actual. Thus, in a sense, He kills, changes animal into crystal. The "Destructive" is likewise inaccurate. The Order which is destroyed is stagnant, un-living, stifling. He returns this to the Chaos which promises creation.
141. The Warrior is everywhere.
142. It is fairly obvious that the Warrior has two aspects: the creative, bursting open the Cosmic Egg and providing the original impetus to order; and destructive, Shiva/Dionysos, who breaks apart the world order and returns Cosmos to Chaos. It is not so obvious that the Lawgiver also has two aspects: the constructive, ordering one, that creates Cosmos, building visions of beauty; and the Lord of Death, the stability of Order which prevents change and creativity, which stifles and stagnates.
143. In his form of Lawgiver, the Winged Man may be crow as well as hawk: Bran, Cronos (Chronos), Saturn, Odin. The oracular crow, carrion bird. (But the Warrior slips in as well; the crow is the bird of battles.)
145. The crow is Winged Time, the time that takes all before it rather than the time that takes all within it. This is the first rung of the Mysteries because this is the motivation for coming to them. And at the end is time again, Boundless Time, transformed like the initiate himself.
146. One name of the Lawgiver is Cosmos.
147. Hermes--the Word--is the orderer of Chaos. Hermes of knowledge, the phallic herm marking the boundaries. Hod, which is Geburah in a later manifestation.
152. It is the male aspect (Winged Man/Cosmos) that is externally active and the female (Chaos) that is internally active. The result is that Chaos does not appear active at all, when it fact it is continually teeming within. And the male aspect can appear as either, from outside, a cycle (Winged Man-Cosmos-Winged Man) or, from within, a line, arising out of apparent nothingness, travelling his own unique path. Point of view strikes again.
176. Myth leads us in, myth guides us within, myth brings us back out. Myth is our defense against a takeover by madness. And myth introduces us to madness.
177. Myths may evolve over a period of time, but they are not arbitrary. They reflect certain characteristics of human existence, unfolded to suit the culture which tells them.
183. It is important that a myth be first understood in the context of the culture in which it originated. What did it mean to people who told it? Sit down with it and listen. Listen to the people who first told it. Only after you have listened to it, without imposing your own preconceptions, will there be any value to asking questions of it. Then you may apply the rules you have learned from other cultures to see what it might mean to you.
195. The Primal Act: not just a once and for all, but a continuous act--from manifest to unmanifest and back. Constant disso-lution, constant unification; the cycle of rebirth, Samsara. As in the Book of the Law: "For I am divided for love's sake, for the sake of union. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all." (AL I:29-30)
205. Instructions for a religion:
Step 1. Make the potential convert believe he has a problem (original sin, dukkha).
Step 2. Convince him you have a way of solving this problem (salvation, nirvana).
Unless he accepts the existence of the problem, the path seems absurd.
206. Religions are ways of giving order to reality. Giving it, not observing it.
207. It is thus seen to be true that everyone is religious, for everyone lives in a structured reality.
208. The religious impulse is a search for a metaphor. Meaning arises only in context and ultimate meaning only in ultimate context. Since there can be no ultimate context there can be no ultimate meaning. Metaphor is context. Therefore the religious impulse is ultimately defeated: no ultimate metaphor is possible and religion must be satisfied with the limited.
212. "All religions are basically saying the same thing." In a pig's eye! The Ultimates in the different traditions are clearly different. An argument might be made that they are masks worn by the Infinite of Infinites. But so long as we stay in one religion its particular mask is unremovable. Are those who believe in the equivalence of religious visions willing to give up their own religions to see that "same thing?" Perhaps the experience of the Infinite in a mystical state might be argued to be without a mask. But how can it be grabbed in the infinitesimal moment between the experience and the mask? I maintain it cannot. The mask is a real experience, worthy in itself, not to be denigrated as covering up the more Real.
213. The reason why it cannot be said that two different religions are worshipping the same God is that a religion is an all--inclusive Point of View. Two such Points f View can only be compared in the context of a third Point of View. Thus, since neither includes this third, and since the third treats them externally, the statement that they are worshipping the same God is meaningless.
214. There is God-1, the Infinite of Infinites, sometimes called the Godhead. Then there is God-2, God as we experience It. Every religion is trying to understand God-1 (that's all there is anyway), but each religion's highest conception is God-2, and these are all different.
215. Entropy--a closed system tends towards disorder, towards chaos. But how is a universal system, a religion, to be open? Any opening in a religion must be to the Infinite. And the Infinite is Chaos. Open or closed; it doesn't make any difference. Chaos awaits.
216. You must remember, that when a system is open to the Infinite it lets in a bit of the unmanifest. Order cannot hold out forever.
219. We are all on a pilgrimage to Truth, but once belief becomes established, it is falsehood. Once we have found Truth we have lost it. Once we have left the pilgrimage to live in a shrine along the way, we have left the game, and Truth is gone.
224. What, in Paganism, is man's problem? It is not that he is cursed with an inherently sinful nature. It is not that his desires cause him suffering. It is rather that he has wandered away from his inherently divine nature. If he has any inherent flaw it is the same as his inherent strength--he is free, and thus free to screw up. But he is not some sort of wretch in need of salvation.
249. Nowhere to go,
Nothing to be gained.
Since everything is by nature perfect,
What need is there of salvation?
250. Seeking purification
I spent a hot time in the sweat lodge.
I spent a cold time in the forest.
When all was said and done,
I had found nothing special.
When I had found what I sought, I had found nothing special.
251. Nothing special.
"What did you go out to see?"
"And what did you see there?"
252. For a while I tried belief as a path. That got me somewhere, but not far enough.
Then I tried doubt. I doubted all things. That got me further, but not far enough.
Neither belief nor doubt is enough. The way to take is a third way: Wonder. Wonder at all things; expect nothing.
253. Expect nothing; expecting is the way of belief. Deny nothing; denial is the way of doubt. Wait and wonder.
257. You do what you do. You do your best. And you keep on doing it.
259. Trying to see the sacred will not work if you try too hard. You must try it as if you were falling off a cliff--inch up to it, balance on the edge, and then -- just -- fall.
260. Fall into the sacred. It will hold your weight. You will not hurt it.
263. Home, right now. At this very moment enlightenment is yours to grasp and let go. You've been there all along.
264. This moment is perfect. Everything you have done and everything that has happened to you has been to prepare you for this moment. And now it is here. What will you do with it?
265. "For behold:
I have been with you from the beginning
and I am that which is obtained at the end of desire."
The meaning of this part of the Charge is the same as the following Zen story:
Kozankoku (Huang Shan-ku), a Confucian poet and statesman of the Sun, came to Kwaido (Hui-t'ang) to be initiated into Zen. Said the Zen master: "There is a passage in the text which you are familiar with which fitly describes the teaching of Zen. Did not Confucius declare: 'Do you think I am hiding things from you, O my disciples? Indeed, I have nothing to hide from you.'" Kozankoku tried to answer, but Kwaido immediately checked him by saying "No, no!" The Confucian scholar felt troubled in mind but did not know how to express himself. Some time later they were having a walk in the mountains; the wild laurel was in full bloom and the air was redolent with its scent. Asked the Zen master, "Do you smell it?" When the Confucian answered affirmatively, Kwaido said, "There, I have nothing to hide from you."
Right here. Right now. All has been ready for you from the beginning. Nothing is hidden from you, nothing ever has been hidden from you. There is no secret meaning to these words, no esoteric formulas that must be puzzled out. I come before you as clear as a crystal in order that you might see through me and know that I am hiding nothing.
270. Q: Whom does God worship?
A: God worships Himself.
Q: How does God worship Himself?
A: By being the best God He can be.
Q: How does God do this?
A: By playing the most infinite games He can.
Q: How should we worship?
A: By being as close to the Infinite as possible.
Q: How do we get close to the Infinite?
A: You already are.
--The Stamford Catechism.
272. Why do I worship the gods? Because it is right for me to do so. One can only answer that question by doing and seeing.
273. "Because I like to"--the wisdom of the three-year-old. Why worship the gods? Because I like to.
275. Life is not a battle. It is a game. And not a game to be won, a game to be played. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" is actually true.
278. Did you know that the Void has no point of view?
281. Is there anything more tedious than people who meditate regularly and insist on telling you all about it? (Certainly; people who insist on telling you their dreams.)
282. Q: I want so much to meditate and I know I should be doing it, but I find it so hard to get around to it. What should I do?
A: Don't worry. First you've got to bring yourself, somehow, to meditate just for a week or two. Just keep thinking, "Just seven more days, just six more days." You can do that. Then continue meditating just for that day. Don't think, "I'm going to be meditating every day for the rest of my life." That would be enough to turn off a saint. Think instead, "I'm going to meditate today. Tomorrow I'll just have to see what happens." Two things might happen: 1) This trick will work and you'll keep on meditating daily. 2) You'll stop meditating for a while. But this is okay; you'll have taken that first step on the Path. You may not be meditating, but something will be going on. It has to be; when you meditated for a while you went down to the cosmic doggie pound and got your own little yapper to keep you moving.
There's more to advancement than meditating, you know.
---The Stamford Questions
283. When you practice self-discipline, who disciplines and who is disciplined?
285. Are you meditating for insights? For wisdom? Or even (vomit the word, spit it out, kill it) for enlightenment? Don't be such an ass. Meditate because it is right to do so. You know it is or you wouldn't be doing it.
286. Just because it's right doesn't mean it's easy.
287. Nothing is going to do you any good until you give up. Give up the systems, the organizations; give up the myths. Then it will happen. Just because it's right.
288. Give up. Only when you strive for the sake of the striving alone, with no hope of success, will your striving be pure. Only when you no longer work to achieve a goal will your work be the work of attainment. As it says in the Book of the Law, (AL I:49) only when you are "unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result" will you be "in every way perfect."
297. To act as though the matters of the moment had an absolute importance is to confuse the finite with the infinite. "This too shall pass"--and from the point of view of infinity (or even the point of view of 1000 years from now) it has no meaning.
But there is a complementary mistake. To act as though the matters of the moment had no importance at all is to confuse the infinite with the finite. That way lies apathy, since it doesn't matter from the point of view of infinity (or even from the point of view of 1000 years from now).
Matters of the moment have importance in relation to the moment. They derive their meaning from the finite context (point of view) in which they occur. No more, no less.
But remember--you live in a particular finite context.
That's where you will find your meaning.
306. It is the question of context that has tripped up many people who have been taught moral relativism, as well as many who criticized moral relativism. It is indeed true that the rules of morality arise out of the situation. But that does not mean that "anything goes." It means that we must examine carefully the context of our lives and determine our correct actions from this careful examination. We do not give up our responsibility to act morally, either to a philosophy of "if it feels good, do it," nor to a set of rules that claims to apply to all situations.
313. It all hangs together; it's all one piece. If you pick up trash from the ground you are helping prevent nuclear war.
314. Find a place or a time that is on the border. Somewhere that is in-between. That is where you will find the answers. The balance on the knife edge, the sword bridge that crosses the river or the chasm. Find the between place, find the between time--find these and then find the answers. They wait for you.
318. The little dog that yips at the heels of the Fool of the Tarot is the sheepdog that herds us on the Path. Indeed, once we are on it, we never lose our little canine companion. Though we may think we have stopped doing any work, we are still on the Path; the dog will not let us step off it.
319. The dog isn't just at our heels. He waits for us at the end of each stage of the Path. The little domesticated dog turns out to have been one with the wild jackel-headed lord of death--Anubis, god of initiation, weigher of souls. You must make your soul as light as the feather of truth.
320. What the hell do you want? And what made you think you would find it here? Or maybe it doesn't matter. Think the thoughts, do the exercises, live the myths--and then just see what happens.
321. The most important thing is to begin. Do something, anything. Meditate, even for five minutes a day. Set up a shrine. Say a rosary. You will soon see results that will encourage you. Even the smallest exercise, repeated regularly, will have its effect. You will grow more disciplined, more discerning, more dedicated. You'll see.
322. But don't worry about it. You have forever.
323. To perform one perfect ritual would be enough to redeem an entire world.
326. You have to learn how to worship idols properly.
330. If you can make your whole life a ritual, then you will live in sacred space and sacred time.
331. Any ritual should follow a plan or it will simply be a mishmash. "Spontaneous ritual" is a contradiction of terms, although spontaneity is very often incorporated into ritual.
332. A ritual is a meaningful arrangement of symbolic acts, words, and objects.
333. In a good ritual the acts aren't symbols of something, they are that thing Ė for the duration of the ritual. When we say that a ritual act is symbolic we are speaking from outside the ritual.
335. The symbols must become that which is symbolized. For instance, if a ritual to consecrate a tool contains the words, "let this water be a symbol of purification of this tool", the tool will be cleansed of symbolic impurities. I don't think that is what is intended. You must say instead, "This water purifies this tool" (you certainly may make the words a little fancier), and then the purification will be complete. If you don't believe the acts to be more than symbolic in the midst of performing them, you're wasting your time. Go do something you can believe in.
336. Actions becoming real is the crucial point. Rituals create universes, define the real. That is why the first act in a ritual after purification is either the creation of sacred space or the invocation of the deity: the universe is ordered, the relationship to the Infinite defined.
337. A ritual explained is a ritual destroyed.
350. There are an infinite number of ways that are in accord with nature. The true fate of a person will always be one of them. There are an equally infinite number of ways that are not in accord with nature. The true will of a person will never be one of them.
378. In college a friend, a madman genius, once said as a non -sequitur that we usually think of the male as active and the female as passive because the male penetrates and the female is penetrated, but that it is just as correct to say that the female is active and the male is passive, because the female enfolds and the male is enfolded.
381. "Men are incapable of expressing their emotions" is from Woman's point of view. Men express emotions playfully, as is their nature. And it is their right to do so.
382. When it is said that women are and men do, that is not to deny the doing of women or the being of men. But women do out of their being; their doing is a moving of a being. Men be out of their doing; it is in their doing that their being is found.
387. It is said despairingly by feminists that women's bodies are considered public property. Of course they are. They are the channel through which flows the life of the people. As such they are the servants of the people. But are men's bodies their own? The bodies that are sent to be destroyed on the battle-field, eaten away in the mines, lost in the ocean's storms, risked daily in a thousand ways that have not been required of women? Men give their bodies for the people too. Men bleed for the people too.
388. This is the secret of manhood that many men hide, even from themselves: Men are expendable. Deep inside we know that. It doesnít cause us despair, but rather pride. It burns in our heart's core, warming and maintaining the knowledge of our worth to our people. Expendable does not mean worthless, it means useful.
389. Let this not be a battle of "my pain is greater than your pain." Let us instead accept our responsibilities and not hide from our bodies' uniquenesses.
390. Why are you here, at this place, at this time? This is the biggest of questions.
Why you, and not someone else?
Why this place, and not somewhere else?
Why this time, and not some time else?
399. Karma is not retribution, it is momentum.
405. Q: I feel sometimes as if everything I've ever done was to bring me to this moment? What do you think?
A: You are here, where you are. What else matters?
--The Rockland Teachings
406. In the end all philosophical problems become linguistic problems--or they become koans.
408. After you've practiced for a while, you will come to the Gate, before which stands the Guardian. How will you go through it? The first time Ged reached the Door, he had to give his True Name. The second time he had to learn the True Name of another. After going through all his powers and using all his knowledge, he finally asked and was told. Lugh at the gate was let in because even though there where others with each of his skills, there was no one with all of them. Gandalf, at the gates of Moria, tried every spell he knew to gain entrance to the door that said, "Speak, friend, and enter." When he'd finally run out of spells, he spoke, "friend", and it opened. Another story has it that a strong man and a child reached the gates of paradise together. The gatesman told them that all they had to do to enter was get the gates open. The strong man tried all day to force them open. When he finally gave up, exhausted, the child knocked on them. The gatesman reappeared and the child said, "Please, sir; may I come in?" "Certainly," the gatesman replied, and opened the door. Or, as the Mumonkan would have it:
The Gateless Gate stands open
and no crowds of pilgrims block the way.
During your practice you must build yourself a gate and then confront its guardian. The biggest question of all your practice will then confront you--how do you open the gate?