Sunday, May 18, 2014

From the Manuscript: "The Unpretentious Way"

As the new book, A Risen Companion for Grief, unfolds, my guides feel it's important to share some of it. This is the Introduction, unedited. Please be assured that it is only this Introduction where the language is a bit dense and complicated, but I just had to get it out. The rest of the book is much simpler!

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      Readers of the first book, The RisenDialogues of Love, Grief & Survival Beyond Death will likely understand if it’s referred to as densely multidimensional with information and veiled mysteries, often in frustrating ways. More than a few readers have expressed the wish that it could have been simpler. Others may also comprehend my adding that it reveals itself differently with each reading, releasing information and stimulating ideas almost as if personally customized for the one reading it. Perhaps this is why Tim, one of the authors of that book, has mysteriously remarked that is a book for the future, which is never present but seemingly always unfolding before us.
      The book now in your hands is not meant to cure grief, but to serve as some kind of comforting companion for the present. When one is in deep grief, the present is all there is—and that is the hardest place to be. Our loved ones’ transitions bring up many memories of the past and worries about the future, but we don’t need comfort from the when’s as much as we need it now.
      It is also for those who want to change their relationship to grief in a way that is deepening and expanding, to be able to contain it; to become the container.
      Grief is hard and so this book wasn’t easy—yet I so wanted this to be a simple book. It took almost eight years to find the best language of the spirit for The Risen Dialogues, published more than five years ago. Ideas and information that were presented in it are also interwoven throughout this one, and I pray that that time and experience has enabled me to re-present challenging Risen concepts in more accessible and less stressful language.
      As I wrote this introduction I realized that in spite of any such intentions, living is complex on our world. Simplicity seemingly becomes meaningless where grief is concerned, and I can’t pretend otherwise. I very much doubt I have to tell this to anyone who has experienced it. I know this because I have experienced seven personal transitions in the past year of writing, and am witnessing an eighth right now. And so readers will understand when I say that each transition is its own journey of reaching and questioning, release and sorrow, progress and standstill, honesty and avoidance, understanding and confusion.
      Yet dare it be suggested that the complexity of grief isn’t necessary, and could be the result from a collection of many beliefs? Could the view that says that grief must be complex and complicated be challenged? Can grief somehow become simpler? Do we even want it to be simpler?
      From my many years of experiences with the Risen, it is clear that my beliefs about grief must change or else I will stay stuck in a fear-based way of living, which is an inversion of Life. This inversion is the attempt to reverse Life or to stop it—-which is not possible, although I can pretend otherwise. The way I allow my experience of grief to unfold will either be in support of more Life or not. Either way, this unfolding never ends and must go on.
      It appears that on Earth we cannot have the simple without the complex. They co-exist in a way which we physically experience as a Law of Nature—polar opposites on a continuum, such as a pendulum swinging from one far end to the other. Hot and cold, light and dark, bitter and sweet are controlled by such a law. Nature does not like to be stopped but to keep moving, and as humans we are an inseparable part of Nature. No matter how many times we try to change the laws of nature by doing the math differently, two plus two will always equal four—at least on our physical Earth.
      Nevertheless, the polar ends are not really fixed unless we believe they are. How can this be? When not restricted by belief, they infinitely expand away from and contract toward one another in all directions at once, which is also the same as no direction. This is where, as Einstein once said, something gets spooky.
      Does this mean that we should seek to experience our grief in a simpler way that feels less chaotic and more orderly between the two extremes? Probably most of us will at least try, in the same experimental way a child seeks to balance a see-saw on its own. It will be discovered that the only way is to leave the end and move to the middle. But there one must stay, suspended like a pawn captured in a game of chess, or else move back to a fixed position again of one-sidedness. Either way, each place is one of suspension and trapped isolation. Nothing has been gained in the way of progress or relief. The joy of see-sawing has ceased.
      The mythic Egyptian sage Hermes says this about an earthly Law of Nature, also called the Principle of Polarity: [1]

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

      A paradox is a statement or situation that seems to be ridiculous or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true. The figure of Hermes appears in various guises across many cultural myths, and is known as The Messenger but also often as The Trickster. In this dual role of Trickster with a Message (or Messenger with Tricks) he invents lies and fabricates half-truths to steal information from the gods and then hide them for humanity to discover. He camouflages them in paradoxical places that are hard to believe, which makes them hard to find. He then says all paradoxes may be reconciled, but doesn’t say how.
      Hermes knows that humans navigate their ocean of life first by their intuitions and then by beliefs, and so his silence implies that we intuitively and simply have to believe him. He’s reminding us that a belief that appears simple can be powerful enough to reconcile a paradox and make all the difference in the discovery process. It’s being able to have the conviction of the Red Queen in the story Alice in Wonderland, who prides herself on her ability to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Alice thinks this is nonsense, and yet the Queen is still the ruler in her own belief realm. Whether or not the Queen is a happy ruler is also totally up to how she uses her own thinking.
      If one is stuck in the realm of grief, is that place of immobility also the present, and so our only choice? If this is true it doesn’t make now a very inviting place. How is such a paradox reconciled? If life is movement then the immobilization, the non-movement between the polar opposites must be death, right?
      No. This is the Great Untruth, presented as a particular belief which seeks to divert our attention from the Only Truth, which is that nothing ever stops moving, including consciousness—even when it appears that there is no movement, even when it appears that one is stuck, or on pause, or “dead.” It is also a fabrication or belief that above and beyond the pendulum is nothing. Here is a hidden message from Hermes, posed as a question: Can we see from a higher-vibrating perspective that the pendulum is finitely contained within something infinitely greater … that one lower law is contained with a greater, higher one?
      Who is putting forth this lie about life? It is our own ego-mind doing so through our current beliefs, which most likely we were consciously or unconsciously taught by someone or some institution, and/or passed on down through family and others. The Universe neither judges nor condemns our choices, but unquestioningly and with unconditional love gives us what we ask for and then accept. This includes the statements of our beliefs—including our fears—which we continuously speak into the Universe, and which then reflects and echoes them as feedback into form and function for our personal material experience.
      All fears are rooted in the ultimate fear of our personal death, brought on by a belief in the Great Untruth. What would happen if we changed that belief or idea, or even forgot it? Are we even afraid to explore this? The only Truth is that there is only Life—upward and onward, abundant and unending. Grief cannot stop the movement of Life, although it can interfere with it for a while.
      The paradox we are faced with by our grief is seen in our trying to balance or reconcile our sitting on the see-saw of two opposing beliefs: that of our fear of death which ruins and ends everything, and that of our unrelenting desire for more life never-ending. In the middle is the suspension of belief, a kind of limbo which may bring temporary rest and relief, but is still based on lack, limitation, and fear. But this middle place of temporary rest, which is also now, can be the launching pad from which to rise above the restrictions of the pendulum.
      Another word for reconciled is “reunited.” When we can allow our self to become truly quiet and rest within the now, we will begin to feel our Source, which is omnipresent, changeless and resides here, right within each of us.[2] The within is the middle of everything, which is also now. The feeling of now is the connection. It’s hard to believe it’s that simple, but that is also a belief that can be changed.
      Because there is room for only one within, the feeling of connection to the indwelling Source of Now effectively causes the two to become one.[3] When we reach in as opposed to reaching out, we bring with us and reunite our temporary outer human experience with our internal eternal Source. This reunion results in the knowledge and feeling of one’s personal immortality, causing us to forget about the idea of the fear of death. With the thought of death gone, fear is vanquished. The paradox has dissolved, and we have Risen on Earth. It might be just a little rising, but it still feels better, and so it is better.
      The feeling of reaching and reuniting with our immortal residence is also the feeling of coming Home. Here is the lost sheep found, the prodigal child returned. The fragmentation inflicted by the ego-mind has healed because one has returned to—or stopped turning away from—wholeness. Can you see the pendulum that has been at work here by our constant and unchanging behavior of going back and forth? A new action was called for, but did we hear the calling?
      The action of reaching inward becomes the rising above the pendulum that ceaselessly swings on the earthly horizontal plane. This horizontal pendulum—meaning the finite, changing world around us—continues to operate as Nature intends it, but in releasing our fear of death, we are no longer weighed down by the fear. Thus we achieve a feeling of release and relief, which allows us to rise above finite feelings and into those of the infinite. This rising itself is also at first on a pendulum, but one of a spiritual vertical nature, which can initially take us down and up into greater depths of the experience of life. This “down and up” movement can quickly transform into a multi-dimensional experience, which could be visualized as a very different geometric form from the simple, predictable path described by a pendulum.
      And so, among many things, the Risen collaborators of this current work aspire to convey a stimulating and even novel concept of resurrection—the rising above the earthly pendulum—even while it is swinging, even before one falls or flies off the thing that is the weight. Our grief is the weight and our beliefs are the gravity. To be Risen is to rise above the weight; to let go of current beliefs and then rise above them while also awakening to this rising. To arise or awaken in the present is to be aware as our Risen loved ones also are—to be where they are now—to reunite above and beyond the finite pendulum of fixed beliefs. To rise is to be able to feel the movement of change and to feel alive again. We uncover a new math that applies to a new dimension of living, and which cannot be expressed in old formulae. It reminds me of one of my most beloved wisdom suggestions: “Do not conform to the pattern (pendulum) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”[4]
      To be free of the lie and rise above it is to be free to live. To be free to fully live is to at last become aware that as a person—including our transitioned loved ones—-we are each already on an eternal adventure of immortality. Awesome words to read and hear, and while I cannot say that I personally demonstrate them very well, I strive to keep the idea of progress and not perfection as a close companion as I move onward.
      Oh well—so much for more accessible and less stressful language! All this metaphysical talk about paradoxes and pendulums may look inspiring on paper. But nothing will change until we bring some of the ideas in this book—any of them—from virtual reality into our actual reality, and then practice, practice, practice … and then trust to let it unfold.
      To satisfy my own self-centered need for simplicity, I will risk summing up the above and what lies in the journey of pages ahead in a few brief sentences as best as I can. They may be repeated again in various ways and places as we move through the book. Maybe by the end we will have learned some things, which will validate how we have grown and transformed in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we first started out as companions on the journey.
The Unpretentious Way
1.       Feel your grief, and then use your love to leave it. Do this not just for yourself, but also for your loved ones. Then use your life to prepare for your own eventual transition.
2.       Strive to comprehend and then really feel the truth of your actual immortality as it is now. Feeling your own personal and present immortality will rob the grief of its energy and release the joy of living to rise again.
3.       Fear not, for you have always been and always will be free. Release all fearful thoughts and beliefs about death to feel the adventurous excitement of your immortal freedom.

                                                                                              August Goforth
                                                                                              New York City, 2014

[1] The Initiates, The Kybalion: A Study of The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin), 1st ed., 2008), 89.
[2] “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10
[3] The ego-mind will often try to defend itself by manifesting what we call “simulate selves” in this book, to make it appear that our  mind is fractured and torn apart, giving rise to the illusion that there are many selves within us, all at odds with one another, resulting in chaos and fear. We will offer more about the ego-mind and its simulate selves later on for those who are interested in learning about them.
[4] From the Bible, Romans 12:2.

Copyright August Goforth

Saturday, May 10, 2014

From the Archives: Step out of the Stream

[First posted 7/21/10]  -- Please be sure to read the Comments as well!

[image by Kagaya]

Although there's enough material of such great diversity and challenge in The Risen to keep anyone occupied for years (as it has August) there are particular elements and ideas that appear to be especially intriguing to many. One that comes up fairly frequently, especially in reviews and interviews, is the comment about "Risen Skeptics":

"Not everyone is necessarily interested in contacting those left behind on the terrestrial plane after their transition to the Risen state. For one thing, it’s very difficult. And for another, the heightened reality of the Risen experience is so intense that many individuals quickly lose interest in earth and even forget they ever had a life there. Tim and others have told me that there are Risen who believe that their earth experience was all a dream—or a nightmare—from which they simply woke up. There are groups of Risen, including those who were once scientists on the earth, who maintain adamant skepticism that such a place as earth ever existed. When compared with their present reality, it simply doesn’t make sense to them and so they challenge others there to prove the existence of such a crazy-sounding place as 'Earth.'

"Because relatively few Risen individuals are able to connect and communicate with those of us here on the earth plane, our terrestrial existence becomes supposition and theory to many there. In a similar way, as a mother can completely forget the pain of giving birth to her child, we may quickly forget the suffering endured during our earthly existence, once we are secure in the knowledge that we have permanently moved to a far better state of existence. The past and all the suffering it contained fades very quickly when there is no linear time and only awareness of the Eternal Present." (pp 46-47)
I (August) have no trouble understanding the suggestion that there are Risen who refuse to believe in "such a crazy-sounding place as Earth" — probably because I was practically in near-constant and conscious awareness of Risen folks throughout my life — so I understand what could be called their psychology of light — although barely. I've had the privilege of spending a great deal of "time" in various Risen geographies while in deep but conscious states of trance, so I also have a hard time believing in the world I actually am in right now.

But this morning, while checking for weather updates on the television while getting ready for work, it shouldn't be all that difficult for anyone else to understand the Risen skepticism. All one has to do is about three minutes of channel-surfing; only 15 seconds on any channel provides a picture of life on Earth that can only be described as a chaotic quilt of insanity —

"... car bomb kills 13 in Iraqui village. .." *click* "...job loss & unemployment continue to rise..." *click* "Leonardo DiCaprio on dating: I had better success meeting girls before Titanic..."*click* ...wildlife toll grows as more oil washes ashore..." *click* "songbirds are being decimated in the Mediterranean for fun and profit..." *click* ".... I mean would you say what came out of Mel Gibson's mouth, drunk or sober? ..."
Behold a dark world run by ego-mind.

It was with deep gratefulness that later on in the day some words from Krishnamurti came my way, that validated my believing less and less in "Earth":

How can a mind that is always in conflict within itself find that which has never been in conflict? So in inquiring, the search has no meaning. What has meaning and significance is whether the mind can be free, free from fear, free from all its petty little egotistic struggles, free from violence, and so on. Can the mind—your mind—be free of that? That is the real inquiry. And when the mind is really free, then only is it capable without any delusion of asking if there is, or if there is not, something that is absolutely true, that is timeless, immeasurable. You know, it is really quite important to find this out for yourself, because you have to be a light to yourself, you cannot possibly take the light of another, or be illumined by another. You have to find out for yourself this whole movement of life with all its ugliness and beauty and the pleasures and the misery and the confusion, and step out of that stream. A mind must be capable of standing alone, of being a light to itself.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Who's an Angel?

A recent comment from the posting, "From The Archives: Risen on Earth" ~

Hi August and Tim: If I have it right you're saying there has been a myth about angels through millennia, and often these angels have been developed by the ego-mind. The "qualities" of angels get distorted and these angels are believed in and embraced by humanity - but they are no longer Angels. You also say that Angels are people like us - light filled beings who are evolving and transmuting. How does a person approach an experience of an Angel today? One can feel the presence of a guardian angel for instance, or St. Michael the Archangel. I have such experiences and I don't sense my ego-mind is interfering. It's seems to be a pure spiritual connection. Can working with Angels today be a valid spiritual practice in spite of the ego-mind distortion of Angels and the generation of myths? Thanks, Bob (Separate comment: I bought The Risen at the end of 2010 and have read and re-read it many times. I'm still learning. Thanks so much.)

Thanks, Bob for your kind and warm words of support, and your questions. It's wonderful to hear that  you have managed to read our book many times -- we're still learning, too!

The idea of a "fall from heaven or grace" - regarding angels, us, and anyone else - is not true in the way that many religious and other traditions would have us believe. Tim says about myths in our book, “A myth is based upon facts that have not been lost but instead misinterpreted, mislabeled, or misinformed. The truths embedded within the stories are still there right before people’s eyes, but they can’t or won’t see or listen to what the stories are actually saying."

The truth about the "fall" is about the ego-mind itself, which is what developed and planted the lie about its own lie. It's admitting the lie by saying it's true, thus revealing the brilliance of its capacity for devious deception. So while it's true that the ego-mind has planted the untruth, the untruth is still a lie. This may sound confusing because it's meant to be misdirecting, like a stage magician who diverts our attention from what's actually happening in order to make us believe something that's not actually happening.

This fabrication also allows the ego-mind to disperse yet more tales of deception, such as that there are good and bad angels who battle for spiritual real-estate, including the deeds to our souls.

 Regardless of our labels, what ought not be denied are the experiences you and others have with non-physical beings who inspire and lift us up, using the light of knowledge to lighten our burden, until we find our own wings and can then rise through our own power of being. Light makes us lighter. With more light, we can see more as well, and also hear more, for light is also sound.

Bob is blessed to have a personal relationship with angelic beings without the ego-mind's interference. The ego-mind is still there in the background, which is where it was designed to be. The ego-mind is not an evil thing to be destroyed or removed; it is in need of healing and re-integration into the holistic system of our mind-body's bioform. We explain a bit about it in our new book (in progress):
"The ego-mind is meant to be a kind of psychological mesh or screen that filters out unnecessary incoming data so we don’t get overwhelmed and then short circuit. At some point far back in earthly time the ego-mind managed to gain practically complete control of our minds because it was allowed to be the primary decider of what gets in and stays in. The ego-mind is now the driver of our vehicle, while we sleep in the back seat most of the time. It’s driving tends to be rather insane. It will do anything to stay in control ... anything."
According to a story in the Bible, even Jesus had an ego-mind, with which he struggled to keep it in its proper place. It's clear that even he spent a great deal of time in private prayer and meditation, demonstrating that we all must do this while on Earth. At one point, the ego-mind, personified as Satan, the Father of Lies, (aka the “devil,” a word derived from the Greek diabolus, meaning “slanderer,” “accuser,” or “one who separates”) tries to interfere with his meditation, which was a long one ("40 days" is a way of saying "many days") and Jesus uses the authority of his Authentic Self to command "Get thee behind me." And, "Be still and know that I am God (not you).  Or in other words, "sit down and be quiet,  because I'm not stopping this car or pulling it over." He doesn't demonstrate a way to get rid of the ego-mind, which we need as part of our psychological life in a material body, but shows how to speak to it, maybe in the same way we would give a verbal command to the GPS of a car.

"Jesus" or "Jeshua" is a metaphysical representation for the "I" in a person, the self, the directive power, raised to divine understanding and power--the I Am identity, and represents God's idea of man in expression (Christ is that idea in the absolute). Like Jesus, a great self-psychologist, only  you, Bob, can speak for yourself, and authorize your spiritual experiences as "valid" or not.  Only you can determine what the truth is in myths, once you determine that some kind of myth is shaping your experience in ways that don't feel right for you.

Metaphysically, an angel is a symbol of Divine inspiration, and a realization of the all-conquering power of God, and a perfect state of being. Some may experience and call their spirit guides as guardian angels. Even we, while still on Earth, most certainly qualify as guardian angels for certain people.