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Due to technical difficulties with the host site, Digital Bloggers, there has been a disruption in posts and so there are only two for this month of June.
June 24, 2021
This is an excerpt from the third book of the ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE series QUANTUM LEAPS which remains unpublished. Though there are several themes that run through this novel, one the most prominent is celestial love and how things might be different from what is experienced on earth. Yes, the scenes include sex but offer a much different and surprising understanding of how that occurs.
As Swedenborg suggests in his quote above, nothing is diminished, only embellished according to the capacity of the recipients.
Intrigued? This short passage doesn't give too much away but offers a few hints on what celestial love might involve. I expect this book will be ready for publication by year-end.
The following dialogue (still being edited), tells about a romance James had with a young nun and why it was so extraordinary. A discussion emerges on the essence of celestial love as compared to the world's limited expressions of what is assumed to be love.
Excerpt from Chapter 4, QUANTUM LEAPS
As Eli got up to get the deck of cards from on the mantle, I said, ‘You know, after being alone these last couple of days, I’ve given more thought to what might be in store for me and where I could soon end up. I guess it all depends on how well things go for the fall guy.
‘In any case, I’m more curious than ever about what goes on in the so-called afterlife. So, if you don’t mind, could you tell me more about Elysium’s state of existence. The topic has taken on more relevance since we visited the fall guy. I know you’re confident that he will eventually recover, but I’m not so sure; the way things appeared to me, it may not be much longer before I too will be calling Elysium home... not that I would mind.’
‘What would you like to know,’ Mo asked, ‘since we’ve been through this before? Understand there’s not a lot more we can tell you about Elysium, one must experience it to understand, and even then, there’s far more to it than anyone can know.’
‘Well okay,’ I said, ‘but at least tell me whatever you can about relationships and how they're experienced differently from the world.’
‘The topic is inexhaustible,’ Eli said, ‘since there are endless varieties of intimacy, and so before we can answer your question, you need to be more specific.’
‘Okay then,’ I said, ‘but I’m sure you already suspect what’s on my mind. Specifically, can you tell me how things are with sex in the celestial realms?’
‘Wait a minute; did you just say sex?’ he asked in feigned surprise. ‘That’s just shocking James. Where did you ever hear that Elysium wasn’t celibate?
‘Mo, did you hear what James just asked? Shocking!’
Mo shrugged, and laughed. ‘Perhaps we can discuss this some other time when you’re mature enough to understand because whatever you’re thinking now would be misleading.’
‘I’m over eighteen,’ I said, ‘and for your information, highly accomplished in such endeavours.’
‘That’s what we’re concerned about,’ Eli said. ‘There’s still much you need to unlearn before you can truly know.’
‘Just tell me,’ I said, ‘it's important that I know what to expect when I arrive there.’
‘Your turn, James,’ he said. ‘Deal.’
‘Why do you say it might not be what I’m thinking?’ I asked with some annoyance.
‘Because, what you’re thinking is likely little more than a biological approach to intimacy,’ Mo said. ‘Since that’s all you’ve ever known, you could hardly understand anything about the spiritual influx of love’s essence. A cause is not separate from its effect.’
‘We don’t need to get philosophical about this; I just want to know the bottom line. Is there sex there, and if so, how might it be experienced differently? If biological procreation is only for earth, then what would be the purpose of sex there? That’s what I worry about.’
‘Do you remember,’ Mo asked, ‘when we told you how all sensations on earth are only shadows of what emanates from above? And so, whatever delight you might experience on earth has its origins in far more exquisite realms. Once again: as above, so below.’
‘You mean even with sex?’ I asked.
‘Especially sex; what one experiences in a union is beyond anything you could imagine on earth, but it can only be known according to one’s capacity to receive the unfolding of love’s inward essence.’
‘Jolly, but what’s that supposed to mean?’ I asked. ‘Are you sure you’re not Platonising love as some upper storey spiritual exercise. I was hoping for something a bit more... ah, let's say raw and visceral.’
‘As Mo already indicated, Elysium is not to be explained, only experienced. But what happens first happens in the mind, and that’s why there can be no limitations when the mind is fully united in wholeness with the heart. Without the mind, there can be no awareness of love; without the heart, there is no love to be aware of.’
‘Whatever that’s supposed to mean doesn’t sound much like the type of sex I understand.’
‘You’re right; it’s not; at least in the way you perceive it.’
‘Then what is it?’ I asked.
‘Something much more,’ he said. ‘There is much in our realm that is too rarified to be understood by words formulated by experiences of limited physical possibilities.’
‘But before you become too confused,’ Mo said, ‘you ought to read what Swedenborg had to say on the topic of sexual expression in the higher realms. He wrote extensively on this topic back in the 18th Century, presenting his findings of what he learned during his astral visits to Elysium. Many of these experiences are in a comprehensive book he wrote called Conjugial Love. It’s important, however, that you don’t jump to conclusions since the concepts are often nuanced with spiritual meaning that you may not yet understand.
‘I’ll try to find you a copy. After you read it, we’ll discuss this topic more intelligibly. I think you might appreciate what Swedenborg has to say. We don’t wish you to be disappointed since we realize...’
I laughed. ‘Sorry for interrupting, but this reminds me of a young Irish noviciate I met while taking an undergraduate course during my first year of undergraduate studies. I believe it was an introductory class in Philosophical Ethics. I sat next to her whenever I could so I might chat with her. Sometimes I would visit with her after class when she had the time, which she seldom did, at least at first.
‘Because Máire was a virgin and intended to remain such, I tried to talk to her about sex as often as I could without being too obnoxious about it. Mainly I asked questions about her Church’s attitude towards sex. Sometimes she would blush, not knowing what to say when I got too brazen. Then she would change the topic and start talking about God and the true meaning of love, which, according to her, was never about lust. I would listen, but always with a smug smirk, which I’m sure she found frustrating realizing I didn’t believe one word of what she was saying.
‘I admit, I was bad. At first, I saw her as forbidden fruit… you know, the kind of fruit you want even more just because it’s forbidden. She was rather cute, even under her habit. She seemed even more endearing to me in her virginal innocence, especially when flushed by my untoward salacity. Not to mention, her charming Gaelic brogue; disarming as it felt provocative!
‘Likely she thought I was obsessed with sex, and most likely I was. And though I’m sure she felt uncomfortable with my antics, she did nothing to avoid me after class. If anything, my growing interest in her created a subtle bond. I’m sure she would have been afraid to admit this herself, but it seemed by mid-term we regularly met in the cafeteria after class.
‘I’m sure she found the topic of sex far more interesting than she let on.’
‘On the other hand,’ Eli said, ‘perhaps she thought that if she smiled and tolerated you for long enough, she might be able to save your reprobate soul. After all, saving souls was her profession.’
‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ I said, ‘but I prefer my interpretation. It was always amusing to me whenever Máire tried to convince me that God created sex for procreation only so that the planet might become populated with souls that would, as she put it, serve Him. And since, she said, there’s no procreation in heaven, there would be no sex either since there would be no point to it!
‘But then,’ I said laughing, ‘neither would there be a point to heaven! She didn’t like that, but I thought it was funny.
‘I had no idea why she wanted to be a nun. To me, it seemed like a complete waste. Couldn’t she just have said no? Despite her vows of chastity, I could still tell she liked me, perhaps even in unchaste ways, or at least that’s what I wished to imagine.
‘As I said, she was very young, just out of high school, before marrying the Holy Roman Church. Likely she had high ideals of serving God with her sisterhood for the rest of her life. Being from a large Catholic family in a rural area of Northern Ireland, she was likely conscripted by her family into this cloistered life.
‘As we continued to get to know each other better during the term, I felt sorry that she would never know what love was; at least what I considered love. And so, just for the hell of it, I tried to talk her into having, as I put it, a physically appreciative enquiry into an inter-gender relationship. I thought since there was nothing to lose, it would be fun to see how far I could get. More than ever, I relished the challenge of seducing her.
‘And of course, with me being a self-styled rogue, without any religious constraints to my conscience, I thought I would be doing her a big favour if I could entice her into bed. From what I could tell, or imagine, she was way too much of a woman under her habit to go through life being chaste. Later, I would still think about her, wondering if she ever thought about me and if she remained a virgin.’
‘From what you’re suggesting,’ Eli said with a smirk, ‘I take it you weren’t successful in compromising her morality.’
‘No… close, but not quite. Perhaps Máire thought that in the end, I wasn’t worth the risk of being eternally damned. After all, the scriptures say God is a jealous God. I told her that I’d more than make it worth her while. She didn’t laugh, but I could tell she wanted to.
‘As I said, she may have been uneasy with me at the beginning of the term, but she eventually lightened up and even laughed at some of my innuendos and jokes. I know she enjoyed my flirtations, and so by the end of the semester, I sensed she liked me more than a little. For my part, I had become rather attached to her, not just because she was cute, with her auburn hair, freckles and Celtic accent, but perhaps because she stood for her principles, even if I didn’t agree with them.
‘Okay, now for the interesting part… but don’t tell anyone; I don’t want this getting back to the Vatican - she might lose her job.
‘It was on the final day of class that I thought I’d make my move since this would likely be my last chance… a hail-Mary pass, or might I say; a hail-Máire pass. Somehow, I managed to convince her to meet me for dinner so we could celebrate the end of our class term.
‘We agreed to meet near the campus at a quaint bistro I liked. I was a bit surprised when Máire showed up; but I must say, most delighted! Gone were her old defences, along with her concealing habit attire. I’m not sure what story she might have given her superiors, but when she appeared at the eatery that evening, I would never have guessed she was a nun. She wore a modest white cotton dress and pink sweater, with a faint application of red lipstick that for some reason excited me.
‘She appeared even more attractive, if not alluring, than I imagined her to be; especially with there being more to her willowy contours than I would have guessed. I think she said she had a cousin in London; probably she borrowed the clothes from her.
‘At first, she seemed a little nervous about getting together, as though she had never been on a date before. Not that she would have admitted to this being a date. Probably she rationalized this as only a little dinner celebration with a friend, just as I had suggested to her. After knowing her as a nun over the last eight months, I felt I was finally with the real, unfettered Máire, rather than Sister Máire who remained hidden under her habit.
‘With our time together going even better than I had anticipated, I suggested, as though it was a whim, that we stop by my room in the student residence where I would make her a cup of special tea. She knew I had a roommate, but I didn’t mention he had left and that we would be alone in my room. At first, she appeared conflicted, as though she may be committing a venial sin by going to a single man’s room.
‘Still, I could tell she wanted to, considering what a good time we were having, especially with me at my jovial best. I remembered reading where Marilyn Monroe was once quoted as saying: If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything. And it worked! After more joking with her, she finally agreed, but said only for a few minutes, since her sister superiors might be expecting her to return to the convent soon. I tried not to appear too obvious with my delight, but I’m sure it showed.
‘After we arrived at my room, she sat down on the edge of my bed while I searched in my cupboard for the exotic rooibos tea, I had promised her, but couldn't find what wasn't there. I lamely apologized for not being able to find it, even as I poured her a half glass of red wine. I insisted it was communion that had been blessed by the pope just before I had my audience with him in Rome. The grapes, I told her, had been procured by epicurean gods at a Grecian vineyard overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
‘She giggled at my exotic narrative, not believing a word. Then I poured myself a glass, this time with exaggerated flair acquired from mimicking professional bartenders. We clinked our glasses to celebrate the end of classes, and then toasted to our friendship and all the delightful times we had shared in class.
‘As it turned out, she must have had more than a few minutes to spend with me. After another half glass or two, she was in a very jolly mood, completely enthralled with my wit and charm. It was evident she was not used to imbibing fine spirits. And so, I continued to tell her of my daring adventures at sea, along with humorous incidents I remember having at seaports. She was fascinated to hear my slightly embellished tales; not having been anywhere outside Ireland before arriving at the convent in London.
‘By the time I finished spinning my yarns, I could tell she was more than just amused. After pouring her another glass of wine, I could tell there was something in her sparkling eyes that drew me to sit beside her on the side of my bed. She objected, faintly, to how much wine I had poured for her, but then leaned in towards me while laughing, no matter what I said or did. Apparently, I was one funny bloke.
‘Soon, she snuggled in more closely to me with her hand resting on my knee. At first, she placed it there tentatively, but gradually I felt her moving her hand towards my inner thigh.’
‘And I’m sure,’ Eli said, ‘you had your hands in your pockets the whole time.’
‘Never mind where my hands were. Let’s just say, with our inhibitions having dissolved in the wine; we stared into each other’s eyes. Then I gave her a light kiss on the cheek. She backed away for a moment, wide-eyed, as though I was the first man that had ever kissed her. Damn, I thought, she’s beautiful, as I continued to stare into her eyes. Slowly, I leaned in towards her and kissed her again, this time on the lips.
‘That’s all it took, and the fire had ignited. Máire then came back at me with the most ravenous kisses I had ever experienced. It was as though she had a lifetime of craven passion that was never unleashed. She kissed my face, lips and then I went into her mouth as we fell back on the bed. I was amazed by how passionate she was; never had I been kissed like this... or, for that matter, since!
‘By then I was overwhelmed with hot desire for her, but concerned I might be overplaying my hand – quite literally, which was now under her blouse and bra, stroking her firm, yet supple breasts. I expected some resistance, but there was none – none at all, as she kissed me even more sensuously, as if to encourage me.
‘Her hand was now within inches of my groin and moving closer. I was just about to unbuckle my belt to make it easy for her – and me. My mind was swimming deliriously with sensual delight, as I rolled my body on top of hers, pressing hard against her; it now seemed she couldn’t wait to be mine.
‘That was… until Rome called! Wouldn't you know it? Just then, her damned mobile rang, and we both knew it was all over. She told whoever it was, that she was delayed, but would be back promptly. Perhaps she thought this was God’s way of saving her virginity for His service, but I’ve never seen a young woman appear so frightened and upset. At once, she straightened her clothes and hair, and before I could say anything, she gave me a quick kiss on my cheek and ran out the door. I watched her run down the hall carrying her shoes. It seemed to me she might be crying; having lost what she would never again experience with me, or anyone else.
‘In frustration, I imbibed what remained in the bottle, before falling back on the bed where moments earlier, our bodies were entangled in tight embrace. I lay there in a stupor with my head spinning; then I fell asleep, not waking until early morning, my dishevelled clothes clinging to my body.
‘I never saw or heard from her again; perhaps she was paying penance after confessing her impure desires, and whatever half lies she might have told her superiors regarding a student meeting at the university that evening.’
‘That’s a rather touching love story, James,’ Eli said, ‘in more ways than one,’ he smiled. ‘Very personal – thanks for sharing it with us.’
‘I probably shouldn’t have told you as much as I did; guess I kind of got caught up with the intensity of the feelings I had for her that night. You know, I’ve never told this to anyone before, but after eight months of longing, our passion was about to be released, only to be denied by the authorities.
‘Damn, but it hurt, even months after I thought of how I lost the love of my life, and how I might never find another like her. You know, I’d love to see her again, but how can you compete with God and Rome? In any case, I eventually got over her… I think. C’est la vie; life goes on.’
‘Sorry to hear how it ended,’ Mo said. ‘She may have been good for you had she renounced her vows.’
‘Possibly, but in all honesty, I’m not sure how good I would have been for her. Back then, I had much to learn, and for the most part, she was far more mature than me. Probably I would have disappointed her too, considering how well my relations with women have worked since then. At least I had an idea of how love might be, if only for a fleeting moment. Still, it’s too bad how love never turns out as we wish it would.’
‘Tell me, James,’ Mo said, ‘have you ever since then experienced these same feelings for another woman?’
‘Unfortunately, I never have, although I’ve wanted to.’
‘Never?’ he asked.
‘Not until I saw Julianne a few days ago when she held the rosary over my body like an angel, praying for my well-being. I don’t know; perhaps this evoked something in me that reminded me of Máire. Whatever it was, the feeling was both passionate and, might I say, heavenly. That may sound like a contradiction; lust and innocence at once.’
‘Maybe,’ Eli said, ‘but perhaps it’s in that contrast the most exquisite feelings are evoked.’
‘Possibly,’ I said. ‘But now that I’ve shared my special story of unconsummated love with a nun please tell me that I'll have better results with Julianne when the time comes.'
'It will depend on you, James,' Eli said. 'You still have yet to learn what a relationship means, and not just with women, but with your Self. Perhaps you gained a few insights being with Máire that short time; however, you still assume love has more to do with physicality rather than inward union.’
I wasn’t happy with Eli’s response. With him appearing to be much younger than me, it felt patronizing whenever he suggested I wasn’t ready to discuss something or another, which, in this case, involved women. But women were my speciality, not his. I had far more libidinous affairs than I’m sure he could have ever hoped to have on earth. Doubtlessly, there was much I could teach him.
'When was the last time you were on a date?’ I asked, glaring at him, as I took another swig from a bottle of whiskey. ‘So, I'd say its rather presumptuous for you to suggest what I am or am not ready for.’
Mo seemed amused. ‘No offence James,’ he said, ‘but Eli’s right. To properly understand the nature of intimate relationships, you must first experience love's essence since the whole universe flows out from what’s within. Unfortunately, what is considered love often involves only the release of primal hormones, devoid of spiritual meaning.
‘At the other extreme, sensuality is denigrated by some religions because sexual union is perceived as existing only for procreation, as your young noviciate suggested. The Biblical admonishment that states: Be fruitful and multiply, has often been used to support this way of thinking.’
‘I tried to tell her, but she had already been indoctrinated in her parochial views.’
‘But Máire wasn’t entirely wrong. Sexual love has a sacred quality to it that transcends the gratification of primal instincts; not to say there’s anything wrong with gratification. You might have taught her this since she had no way of knowing the special magic that goes beyond populating the earth’s surface. What she discovered that night was a something more she didn’t understand and perhaps still doesn’t – how her spirit longed to meld with your spirit through an ecstatic union.’
‘From what you indicated,’ Eli said, ‘I suspect even before your tryst she might have been in love with you for some time. Maybe deep down, she still is.’
‘And maybe I am too,’ I said, ‘at least for this something more. But what was this elusive enchantment we had? I’m not sure I understand; I just know I’ve never experienced anything like it since.’
‘Maybe I can help you with this,’ Mo said. ‘What I meant by something more was a rare quality that goes beyond most romantic love in your world. Did you notice that neither Máire nor Julianne asked you for anything, but loved you for who you were? Máire wanted to save your soul; Julianne wants to save your body. Is it not this quality of their spirit that captured your heart; the unconditional love you didn’t understand but felt? Both women are physically appealing, yet even more attractive is to behold what's within. Perhaps that’s what you pined for after Máire left. What if you could find in Julianne what you saw in her?
‘Such spiritual love may or may not include eros. It might be expressed as a calm and quiet encounter, or it may be experienced in an ecstatic rampage, but only through embracing its divine essence can one know unconditional love.
‘Even in sensual indulgences, we experience a foretaste of what’s yet to come. How could love be understood as anything other than an infusion of divinity? It can’t; only to the extent that we remain true to our divine nature, are we able to experience the essence of sexuality.’
‘Those are jolly fine words, Mo, but what you’re saying seems to be more of an abstraction that's along the same religious lines of what Máire was saying. But why take the fun out of sex by making it sound like a religious rite, or worse yet, a civic responsibility to be fruitful and multiply.’
‘Should our perspectives disappoint you,’ Mo said, ‘so be it. Perhaps Eli is right; you’re still not ready to experience Elysium’s love, which by the way, is anything other than what you might consider being outwardly religious since we have no need or provision for rites or civic responsibility.’
‘Ironic, isn’t it?’ Eli asked. ‘What Máire was trying to convince you of seemed to have the inverse effect of inflaming your passions, rather than dousing them. Maybe you should try dating more of these noviciates,’ he laughed.
‘I think I learned my lesson. If their loyalties are to the Church, then I say off to a nunnery go, but please leave me alone. Okay, I admit it; I still resent Rome for taking from me the only woman I truly loved, or at least, in-as-much as I could.’
‘I can sympathize why you might feel that way, at least for a time,’ Mo said, ‘nevertheless, these feelings of loss won’t help find what you are looking for. It will only create more experiences of loss, which is what you told us has been happening to you ever since.
‘I’m not sure there’s much we can do or say to help you understand anything of Elysium’s pure love essence. Only by giving and receiving unconditional love can this be experienced since that’s the only love Elysium knows. When that happens, you will no longer ask to understand; you will just know.’
‘That’s splendid,’ I said, ‘but still that doesn’t give me much to go on. Perhaps you could provide some real-life examples, rather than just abstract concepts.’
Mo half smirked and said, ‘Let me ask you, James, how is it possible to describe what it’s like to ascend a majestic mountain to someone when all they have ever known is life in a stifling swamp? Could anyone in the Lowlands appreciate what you went through on your long, arduous ascent, especially as you struggled within and without?
‘What words would reveal the mystical wonderment of experiencing the splendours of the meadows, flowers, shrubs, streams, lakes, birds and animals? What words might describe what it’s like to stand on the highest peak of the snow-capped mountains, where the sierras ice glistens in the morning sun? What else can evoke that glorious ecstasy in the depths of your soul except to experience it directly?
‘While you might attempt to translate what you saw and heard into words, they can never convey the enchantment you felt. To know, you must first experience what the words mean. And though descriptions may inspire the imagination with intimations of grandeur, still they are just words; no one below can enter into the experience of what is above until experienced from above?’
‘I’m not sure that’s completely true,’ I said. ‘Is that not what poetry is for, to take us to new realms, we could never become aware of without crafting descriptions that quicken our souls to see what our eyes oversee?’
‘You make a good point,’ Mo said. ‘Certainly, exquisite poetry can be very helpful in opening the windows to our heart, and yet it has its limitations. It may paint wonderful pictures for the mind’s eye, but wonderful is not wonderment.’
‘And why not?’ I asked.
‘Well-chosen words might evoke the imagination to enhance whatever thoughts the senses might have overlooked, but words only have meaning when they describe what has already been experienced. Otherwise, they are mere sentiments, or pictures, as Sir Francis Bacon stated so succinctly: Words are but images on matter, to fall in love with them is to fall in love with a picture.
‘That’s why we don’t wish to offend you when we say you aren’t ready to experience what you most desire. Though we may not be poets, the images we present to you will prepare you for what is presently beyond your capacity to experience, which is why we encourage you to venture beyond the words we speak. Words alone don’t teach, so it’s up to you to discover what only you can experience for yourself directly.
‘Though you have observed much on your ascent; you must still ascend to higher vistas before you can discern the wonders ahead. We speak here of intimations of Elysium’s splendours. Because you have made it this high, you now have a perspective of the Lowlands in ways you could never have had before ascending to these heights. Likewise, you won’t know this Summit until your rise to new heights to perceive from a higher perspective.
‘Remember, you have only been here for a short while. Until you pass through Elysium’s Passage, you can only hear words from us, but you will not understand, just as Lowlanders can know nothing of the Summit you have come to experience.’
‘And that’s why,’ Eli said, ‘we won’t try to teach by learning, but by discovering. And so, on such matters, we must remain silent.’
‘So, where does this leave me?’ I asked.
‘I suppose on the outside looking in,’ he said.
‘As it’s been all my life,’ I said.
 He allegedly spent thirty years visiting and documenting his observations of the spirit realm. He wrote about his understanding of what he witnessed there, including the dynamics of love in the heavens. He created the word conjugial rather than what we refer to as conjugal (marriage love) to express his unique perspective. For further discussion and quote on this topic, refer to Conjugial Love in Appendix ‘B’.
 Máire is the Gaelic name for Mary.
 Genesis 1:28 (KJV)
 Recently, in my research on this topic, I came across this quote from Swedenborg that seems to support what Mo was saying: And because conjugial love is chaste, pure and holy, the intercourse is also full. The intercourse is then more delightful and blessed because when the love becomes of the spirit, it becomes more interior and pure, and therefore more perceptible, and every delight increases according as it is perceived, and increases until its blessedness is discernible in its delight. See Appendix B for more discussion on this subject.
 Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Act 3, Scene I, stated by Hamlet to his sister Ophelia
 Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Lord Chancellor of England under Queen Elizabeth 1, philosopher and scientist, regarded as the intellectual/scientific godfather of the Royal Society in London. Alexander Pope once referred to him as the wisest, brightest and meanest of mankind.
June 5, 2021
UNION OF THE HEART AND MIND
Before examining the topic of the union of Heart and Mind, I've included a brief dialogue from ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE: SURREAL ADVENTURES. (The fourth (yet unpublished) Book of the seven-part series.)
Before examining the topic of the union of Heart and Mind, I've included a brief dialogue from ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE: SURREAL ADVENTURES. (The fourth (yet unpublished) Book of the seven-part series.)
After this discussion taken from an excerpt in Chapter Nine, I have highlighted certain concepts about the heart and mind and the problems of the ego's emergence when the mind separates itself from the heart. Many of these perspectives are inspired by A COURSE IN MIRACLES and A COURSE OF LOVE.
From Chapter 9: A Crazy Little Thing called Love
‘But what if I don’t wish to be authentic?' I asked. 'You know… unless it suits me.'
‘Then don’t be authentic,’ Mo said with some irritation, ‘that’s your choice; be whatever you wish to be, you have the freedom to be even less than you are. All we’re trying to get you to understand is that there’s more to life than what you’ve experienced in your past.’
‘How do you know what I’ve experienced in my past? I said
‘Trust us, James, we’re not trying to take anything away from you, but rather take what you have and make it into something far better than you could ever imagine. But if you want to hold on to your old limitations, that’s your choice. Be an underachiever if you think that’s what you are.’
Oh my god, I thought, Mo’s up to his old body slams again. I really didn’t want to take any more of these. He could be brutal... albeit effective.
‘I agree,’ Eli said, ‘it is your choice. But as you indicated a while ago, you already sensed this from your times together with Sister Máire; it’s just that you still had no clue what genuine love meant way back then, even after that brief tryst with her in your university dormitory room.'
'Right… when I got her into trouble with Rome. Her sister superiors really did have her on a short leash. I still feel bad about that for her… and for myself,' I snickered. ‘I still haven't figured out how she was able to cast that spell on me like no other woman.'
'It’s not always easy for the mind to understand something it has never encountered before,' Eli said. 'Not that you can’t understand, you can… but not with your mind… which is why you still need to discover the limitations of your mind's scope. Whenever the mind isolates itself from the heart to go its own way, which seems to be most of the time, it finds it's not as smart as it thought. In fact, when the ego illusion takes over and refuses to listen to the heart, the mind becomes insane.'
'Insane? I think you might be slightly overstating things, Eli.'
'Not really. For one thing, the insane mind doesn't recognize its insane. That’s when it is most insane, and why it’s so important to remember, in the words of Pascal, the heart has its reasons that reason does not know. Perhaps he should have said, cannot know.
‘Remember, when you rely on only your mind, you think you know, but you don’t... not really. Without experiencing your heart's wisdom, you will likely draw inaccurate and distorted conclusions based on your mind's belief patterns.
'The mind and heart really need to work together, or you will remain confused like the rest of your colleagues who don't seem to know much about the implicit mysteries of the heart. As it states in that book we gave you last week: "Philosophy applies thought to mystery and that is why philosophy becomes such a muddle of words." (A Course of Love)
‘I haven’t looked at it yet, but that’s rather amusing how it describes philosophy as a muddle of words. Though I'm a professional philosopher, I’d say that’s a rather astute observation - probably the same conclusion Ludwig Wittgenstein came to when he took a U-turn from the reductionist edifice he created to mysticism.'
‘Indeed, it is a profound insight,' Mo said; 'the heart is obviously much more than a biomechanical device. As we’ve said before, think of it metaphorically as a divine receptacle, the conduit through which life flows. All life remains connected to the divine. It’s the divine centre of who you are and has no spatial location since it’s beyond this world's space/time continuum.
‘That’s why old delusions dissolve like morning mists in the sun’s warm rays when you feel genuine love. The heart is the door to all life, affecting every fibre of your body… whether spiritual or physical.
‘As the Jewish proverb states: “Guard your heart more than any treasure, for it is the source of all life.” I hope you remember this when you return. It will be more important than ever for you to be aware that the source of all life is accessed from the divine portal of your heart and not your mind alone. This is the divine effluence of God's Spirit that animates earth and all the multiverses that forever coalesce in dimensions far beyond realms of space and time.’
‘I realize it might seem difficult at times for you to see past the outward reflections of physicality,' Eli said. ‘It took me a while too, to see through the dark glass of my old perceptions. And even after my ship sailed across the great ocean onto Elysium’s golden shores, I still had difficulty in understanding how it's Spirit, not matter that gives loving cohesion to the universe. But I now know it is, which is why, when you get right down to it, everything is united in a spiritual relationship, beginning with the heart and mind.'
'Well, when my ship comes in or goes out, as the case may be, I look forward to finding union in some of these relationships.’
‘I’m sure,’ Mo said, ‘but remember, there’s only one way to find union with Elysium. Yet the way has many passages made by each decision of the heart.’
What was being communicated to James in the above exchange is that the Self is the union of the heart and mind. We must understand the mind can only be whole when it's joined with the heart, just as the heart can only be whole when it's joined with the mind.
When this union occurs, we become more than just heart and mind, but something more. When oxygen and hydrogen atoms bond, they become a molecule known as water. It’s not a perfect analogy, but this is something like what happens when our mind and heart bond... we become something new. More than just that, we come to know who we are, the divine Self that we were created to be.
Believe it or not, we are nothing less than gods manifesting in human flesh. That may sound extreme, especially when you take a look at the world. And yet, when you think about it, how could we be otherwise when it’s understood that we’re extensions of the Source’s divine essence?
When accused of blasphemy for claiming to be the son of God: Jesus quoted the Pharisees a verse from the Old Testament: “Is it not written in your Law: 'I have said you are gods'” (John 10:34). The full verse he quoted was from Psalms 82:6, which says: “I have said, you are gods, and all of you are the sons of the Most High.” They didn’t know what to do with that… as many theologians still don’t. (But that’s another subject).
Lest this quote be misunderstood, let me be clear that Jesus was not suggesting we are God. How could we be when we first had to be created? We might say, however, we were conceived as a thought in the Mind of God, making us the children of God.
So why do so few know anything about the divine essence of their birthright?
According to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and its sequel, A Course of Love (ACOL), it’s because the mind is confused. And not just a little confused, but a lot confused. For one thing, it often thinks it is the material brain, nothing more than three and a half pounds of exceptional flesh that thoughts somehow waft out of. After all, that’s what we’ve always been educated to believe.
On its own, the mind represents the outward analytical processes of the material world. That’s fine; we live in what appears to be a material world. But when the mind is disconnected from the heart, it is lost to the higher spiritual reality from which it is derived.
That’s because the heart represents the centre of our being, our portal to the divine Spirit that speaks to us when we listen. We might say the heart is the essence of our being. Yet essence requires form to give it expression, which is why the heart needs the mind to give coherence to what it feels.
Unfortunately, what generally happens after childhood is that we learn to think and listen to only our mind while ignoring the wisdom of our heart. Without the heart, the mind creates an illusory persona as its pseudo-identity. For lack of a better word, we might call this the ego, although not necessarily with the same shade of meaning that Freud might have intended. The word simply means the ‘I’ from the German it is derived.
The ego is the phantom mind that withdraws from the heart then gags it into silence if need be. It believes it is sovereign in a universe of its own creation, interpreting reality according to the distortions of its fears. Without the engagement of the heart, the mind will not admit to any evidence of the heart. In spite of this, our heart knows who we are with its consociation with the divine Spirit.
To be clear, let me restate what this means. Firstly, the ego is not you. And though it is just a phantom, it remains your worst enemy, inflicting enough damage and confusion to prevent you from knowing the divine Self you are. As ACOL states: “Without dislodging your believe in your ego as yourself, you will never realize your true identity.” (p 189)
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Likewise, Rousseau stated: “Trust your heart rather than your head. Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.”
In other words, without the heart’s engagement, the ego-mind remains confused, never knowing who or what it is. How could it? It is nothing but the delusionary self we have created in the absence of knowing our true Self. As such, it becomes our pseudo-identity, causing us nothing but trouble, and not just for us, but for everyone it encounters.
So if the ego-self is not who we are or what we think we are, then the question is; who are we? That’s something every human needs to ask because if we don’t, we'll remain lost to our divine identity.
If we are to become free, we must first recognize the delusion we have created for ourselves. Of course, the ego will do anything it can to prevent us from waking up because it knows the gig is up when we discover who we truly are. The innumerable concerns that take over our life serve it well by keeping our minds distracted. And so, after a while, the ego's delusions become so entrenched in our psyche, we forget that we were born for much more than what our fears have come to accept.
That’s what happens when the mind refuses to engage with the heart. Obviously, if it is not listening, it can’t hear what the heart is saying and so has no way of hearing the divine call.
From the ancient of days, we have been implored to KNOW THYSELF. These words were inscribed on the walls of the forecourt of the Greek temple in Delphi, also known as the Oracle of Delphi. Prior to that, it was written in Egypt’s Corpus Hermeticum and then posted above the entrance to each temple and lodge that served as an academic learning centre.
If humanity is to evolve its conscious awareness, it needs to reacquaint itself with its divinity. The good news is that the heart already knows this if we would but listen. The ego-mind, however, in its need to survive, refuses to accept the inward understanding of the heart.
Until we get our ego-mind under control with all its chatter about nothing, we won’t hear the inner voice of the divine whispering to us from the heart. This is the purpose of meditation; to ignore the mind’s raucous cacophony and listen silently to what the Spirit has to say from within our heart.
If we do not give proper awareness and focus to the voice of our inward Self, the ego-mind will continue to project its sham reality upon us. But if we become aware of its intrusion, our will has the power and authority to usurp this imposter by directing the mind to reunite with the heart that it may be one with our Self's divine Mind. That's when it's all over for the ego... at least until next time.
How do we do this? There are many spiritual disciplines, but when you get right down to it, it’s a function of God’s grace working in response to our willingness to become whole, or as it is written, “putting on the mind of Christ.” Depending on how much control we relinquished to our ego-mind, it may require us much time and willingness to become tempered in the crucible of life before we can wake up to who we really are.
But if we do not have the desire or will to silence the ego-mind, it will be difficult for us to ever communicate with our true Self, the Christ, the Atman… that which we call the divine Spirit dwelling within.
Every vice known to humanity has its origins in the unhinged ego-mind that has separated itself from the heart’s divine portal, while every known virtue emanates from the fullhearted union of mind and heart.
Our mind is not meant to be split off from the Divine Mind. But when it separates itself from the heart, it becomes a prisoner to our narrow walls, having alienated itself from its infinite Source.
And so, there, the ego-mind remains… locked inside its insane kingdom.
Rousseau stated, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” As within, so within… if there is no freedom within, there is no freedom without.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the meaning of the fall in the creation myth. What if it wasn’t a mistake but a way for humanity to express its freedom to not be free that we might eventually come to discover what freedom truly means. We are always free to incarcerate ourselves, and there are no better means to do this than divide our heart from our mind.
Perhaps we can only come to recognize the light of freedom by experiencing the darkness of our illusory bondage. As William Blake espoused, we must pass from innocence through the fires of experience. Only then may we emerge into our "higher innocence" to achieve awareness of our divine Self.
In sum, the separated ego-mind is a projection of what's opposite to what is real. However, when our heart and mind are united as one, we become known to ourselves. Only then do we experience who we are; divine beings united with all that is through the Source of all that is.
Nelson Mandela stated this well. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” And so they are... when in divine union.