To The Zoo Fence: What is your take on the Heaven’s Gate phenomenon?
Editor’s Comment: It is inappropriate, ill-advised, immature, and just plain silly to judge the spiritual choices of another. That said, let’s do so.
All we know of the Heaven’s Gate philosophy, other than the broadcast media’s hoopla, comes from a statement written by one of their members or supporters, and reproduced on the Washington Post’s web site for a while after the event. On an admittedly cursory reading, that seemed to us to have been thoughtfully conceived, except that much of what we perceive to be on the inner seems to be presented there as if outer or external. Thus, Heaven is described as being in the astronomical heavens, the Teacher as aliens, salvation as a space ship. All outer. To us, all of that is within.
Also, we do not see the path as a group undertaking. Rather, for us it is an intensely private, intimate relationship between a seeker and God, in which the former is in search of the latter, until their unique shared Identity is Realized or Remembered (”I Am That”), and what was perceived as many is recognized to be, and to have always been, One.
In the Heaven’s Gate document, there is talk of shedding the physical body in order to assume another non-physical, but evidently still separative identity. For us, the physical body has little to do with it. For us, the essential step is a leap in consciousness, not in space, from the perceived separate and separative self to the One (and Only) Self.
Still, the members of the group who were featured on television seemed deeply serious and genuinely motivated, and many of their concerns and observations about the human condition rang true. So, we might say, their position is okay as far as it goes, but don’t stop there. Dive deeper within; accept no solution which casts a shadow. If God is Infinite, then God is all there is. We recommend seeking that high Position, where the Inherent Unity of Life is spontaneously and unmistakably apparent. As for their suicide deaths: Whatever else we may think about physical death, and wherever we may believe it will deliver us, the inescapable fact is, we take ourselves with us in physical death. So, in this respect, we do not see physical death, by suicide or otherwise, as particularly relevant. Once again, all of the real action is within, well beyond death’s reach.
Editor’s Comment: We are glad that the site was helpful, and we thank the chance that brought you here. We freely extend to you our affection and our love.
Since, as you say, the death occurred nearly a year ago, and so by now the wound should be beginning to heal nicely, permit us to suggest that, whatever the appearances, your Mother has not died. To be sure, a woman you knew very well, and evidently whom you loved dearly, has died, but that woman, however close your relationship with her may have been, was not and is not your Mother. You have, we all have, only One Mother – and, for that matter, only One Father – and that is God, Which does not, Which cannot, die.
Now, we realize this may sound like a harsh, even an unpleasant and uncalled-for, nitpick, and we regret that. We hope you understand we say it in love, as a friend to a friend. The principle reflected here lies at the core of every spiritual tradition, and rightly so, for once anchored, this Truth frees us absolutely.
Look at it this way. Every time you or I say or think something like, “She’s my mother” when speaking of a person, our subconscious reasons as follows: “If that woman is my mother, then I am her child, and since her child must be a body, then I must be a body.” After all, the offspring of a human is a human, just as the offspring of a dog is a dog, of a duck a duck, of an apple tree an apple tree.
So, on the one hand, our affirming in prayer and meditation, “I am Spirit,” and then, on the other, behaving in life as if “I am a body,” inevitably confuses the subconscious, which confuses us, which makes us uncomfortable, which in turn frightens us, and we continue living in fear of the things that threaten the body, oblivious to the Happy Fact that we are immune to them.
This, then, is not a nitpick, far from it. In fact, if there is a really simple spiritual practice – far simpler than any yoga posture, earthly pilgrimage, elaborate diet, or tongue twisting chant – surely it is this: Stop thinking of ourselves as the body we seem to be inhabiting by stopping thinking of another body as our parent. There is no practice that will deliver faster spiritual results than that.
Now, please do not read any of this to mean that we cannot love, even cherish one another, and even be heartbroken at their apparent death, for we can and we should do all that, and more. After all, if we cannot relate deeply, cheerfully, and maturely to one another, we cannot relate to God. But, similarly, we must be careful never to deny our Intimate Relationship to the One, even indirectly by acknowledging another as our Parent, for in doing so we deny the Truth, which is clearly insane. So, we join you this Mother’s Day and every day, in extending our love to you and to the woman you love, and in calling upon the Mother of us all to Awaken you, her, and us, and all the rest of Creation, to Her Magnificent Presence in, around, and even as every single one of us all of the time.
Editor’s Comment: As we see it, Satan is a synonym for Ignorance of our True Nature. And because the outer, or what you and I call the world, is a manifestation of the inner, then it is perfectly true that everything within us, including our ignorance, can be seen abroad. That is, the reality you and I live in is ourselves projected outward, like an image on a movie screen, and so we see there whatever we are harboring inside ourselves. The key is not to be confused by the image, and take it for independent reality. If it’s out there, whatever it is, it is because we have empowered it with the energy of our life. If we do not like what we see, there is no point in shouting at it. We must go within to cleanse it, for it is from there that it has come.
To us, the traditional explanation of a Satan created by God simply does not make sense, as follows: (1) Had God done so, God’s House (Creation) would thereby be divided; (2) A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3.25, for one); (3) God being Omnipotent and Omniscient, God’s House cannot possibly fail to stand; (4) Therefore, God’s House is not divided.
Put all of this to the test of experience. Turn within, and call upon God to Teach you your True Nature, Who and What you really Are. Promise to listen, and keep the promise. Apply the Lessons you learn there to everything, without exception. Now, see if the world you live in does not change for the better, precisely when and as you get Wiser, becoming ever gentler, clearer, more unitive, tolerant, charitable, understanding, and loving. The Teachers of every spiritual tradition promise it, and it is the Truth.
To The Zoo Fence: What is your position on gays, lesbians, homosexuals, and homosexuality, particularly in light of the recent brouhaha over the television program “Ellen”? Do you agree that it is a sin?
Editor’s Comment: As we see it, none of these kinds of issues is about what they seem to be about. Thus, racial discrimination is not about race. Religious intolerance is not about religion. And likewise, homophobia is not about homosexuality.
These, and all of their unhappy siblings, are about the very same thing, which is ignorance. Consider it this way. Because we, perceiving ourselves as egoic body/minds, do not understand (are ignorant of) the True Nature of the Universe, and therefore of our true selves, or Self, we feel powerless. It is not that we are powerless; indeed, far from it. But we feel powerless, because we do not know how any Thing Works, and that is because we do not Know (Remember) Who we Are, or Where we Are. So, frightened, confused, and frustrated, we look for someone or something, anyone or anything, to put down, on the spiritually faulted but egoically logical premise that, “If I can convince myself that you are less than I, then I will feel that I am more than you, and therefore I will feel better about myself.” In varying degrees, we all do this. To the extent that any of us find ourselves doing it to anyone about anything, even those who seem to do it to us, we suggest recognizing why we do it, and stop it.
Specifically to your second question, it is our view that the only real sin (error) is Ignorance of our True Nature. From that spring there flows the multitude of experiences that each of us calls “my life,” a constantly stirring cocktail of happiness and unhappiness. None of it is a sin, simply the assorted manifestations or symptoms of our Fundamental Ignorance. Further, none of it adversely affects God in Whom we all Abide, for God, being Infinite, is Immune.
Thus, again in our view, this primeval sin, or Original Misunderstanding, if you will, is not a transgression against God, but against ourselves. So, once again, we believe the answer to be the spiritual process, by which we mean, Remember Who You Are, following any path that works for you. Once There you will See that all of this is thoroughly harmless and beautiful, not to mention, Divine.
Editor’s Comment: Run away as fast as your feet will take you! Just kidding, of course, but not entirely. You are on the threshold of the most extraordinary, exciting, rewarding, and, yes, sometimes terrifying journey known to humankind. Over time, it will change everything about you, and from there, everything in your life. The metaphor most commonly, and properly, applied here is the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. You are a caterpillar now, in the process of becoming a butterfly. Think about that, and you will realize that very little of your “caterpillar stuff” is going to be useful to you as a butterfly. That is why so many Teachers and traditions speak of this in terms of death-and-rebirth. The vessel (your current self, the caterpillar) must be thoroughly emptied before it can be refilled as your True Self, the butterfly. If we seem to be overdramatizing here, it is because we want you to understand at the outset the dimensions and the seriousness of this undertaking. But do not let us frighten you. The instant you decided to do this, God took over. You will never, ever be alone again. And, from here, the outcome is certain: Success. No one fails this course.
Our very best single piece of advice is this: Move this process to the very top of your list of priorities, and permit NOTHING to dislodge it from that high place. For now, you can continue to do whatever else it is you currently do, but henceforth, let it all be under the protective and determining umbrella of your spiritual commitment. Thus, say to yourself, say to God, “More than anything else, I want to know Who and What I am in Truth, and Who and What You are in Truth. Please, help me to do so.” Repeat it every day, morning, noon, and night. As often and whenever you remember. You cannot say it too often.
Instructions will come. Already they have come, for, as you say, a friend guided you here. Another will guide you somewhere else. For the moment, take it all in, making no promises to anyone (except God, privately). Soon, a book or some other medium will seem to fall into your lap. Study it carefully. Do not expect to understand much of it at first. This is a lot like a foreign language. In fact, if it does seem perfectly clear at first, you are probably holding the book upside down. All this while, continue repeating to yourself and to God, “Above all else, I want to know Who and What I am in Truth, and Who and What You are in Truth. Please, help me to do so.” Step by step, you will know what to do next.
To every new seeker, we recommend addressing the needs of the body, for several reasons: It is a relatively easy first step; it permits us to demonstrate the depth of our commitment; it produces nice results quickly, which is very encouraging; it’s good for us; and, finally, it prepares the vessel for what lies ahead. So, (1) learn to manage the stress in your life, with a goal to reduce the level to as near zero as you can. The certain benefits of doing so, short- and long-term, are too numerous to mention here. There are dozens of how-to books and recurring workshops on this subject. (2) Adjust your diet to as nearly 100% organic (foods free of pesticides, herbicides, growth stimulants, and such) as you can, without letting this goal become a new source of stress. Here, the computer programming dictum says it best: Garbage in, garbage out. (3) As much as you possibly can, apply step #2 to everything you ingest in any way. Thus, choose carefully the books you read, the movies and tv programs you watch, the web sites you visit, the people you relate to, the activities, work and play, you enjoy, the thoughts you entertain. Finally in this brief list, (4) despite our best intentions, from time to time the body will undoubtedly sicken or break, so develop a basket of medical practitioners with selections from all the disciplines – allopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy, and so on – and draw from one or the other as necessary and appropriate to your need of the moment. Inform yourself, and don’t let any of them tell you that their way alone is the only way. The body is a complicated mechanism, and it is a very rare practitioner who can successfully meet all of its medical needs (and an even rarer one who will admit to that). But it’s your body, given in Sacred Trust to you by God. Treat it accordingly, with respect and tenderness and love, and it will serve you well.
Everything in the Universe, including you, is a perfect reflection of the One, or God. You have nothing to fear. You are surrounded by Friends. Enjoy the ride.