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The Mortal Realms column expresses the scope and vision of the MYTHSEEKER Project. Sample articles appear here on a changing basis - innovative pieces by McCagie Brooks Rogers and guest writers as well. The name "Mortal Realms" refers to the individual worlds we mortals have, and to the mortality of those same changing worlds that we carry within us. Information about subscribing to the Mortal Realms newsletter is available on the PARTICIPATION page. The newsletter is currently available in hard copy form and will be available in electronic form as well.
Opening A Portal
Mortal Realms, Mystic Realms and the Non Dual Perspective
You can still read the first issue
This premier issue of Mortal Realms opens a portal to mythic, mystic places. That is its purpose. One wonders: Can a newsletter have a destiny? Can a collection of words and columns have a luminous goal, a luminous undercurrent? Is it possible for the soul of something written to coalesce into aspiration for the seeking reader? We believe these to be possible, suggesting that intuition is thereby quickened. One hopes in turn that this is so, that it will happen for you, the reader, in this and future issues. Infinity in a grain of sand translates to veiled mystery pointed to by imagery and text, focussing the reader's deepfelt exploration. Translation from infinity beckons one valiantly to advance from the realm of the ordinary to the sphere of the mythic soul via software harnessed for this abiding purpose. The process enlivens the worlds of destiny that are provinces of MYTHSEEKER.
Why "mortal realms"? Because, first of all, mortals certainly do have realms, each person carrying a continually changing world realm of experience, endeavor, and potential expansion. That is the existential givenness and thrownness of life. And each of these realms is itself immensely mortal, tangibly endable - highly so - but perhaps with an underlying process allowing the grain of sand truly to be infinite. What this process is, and how it manifests, is described in different ways by the depth systems that MYTHSEEKER makes available to you.
It is not a common occurrence to be founding what may be a significant new path of mythic unfolding -- new in that traditional and emerging systems of mythology may be combined in ways that you find to be most eloquent. This is indeed a new ability offered by MYTHSEEKER to all persons concerned. This is a marvelous opportunity and perhaps also a great adventure. How many persons have consciously been involved in such a juncture of circumstances? Few indeed, at least among usual and likely acquaintances. One ordinarily has little practice in this direction.
Many persons have been and will be involved in mythic origins simply by happening to live at certain times in certain situations as spectators, even as participants. This involvement happens often in the unfolding of history and destiny - but rarely with any conscious focus on visible or anticipated mythic content. How many persons were actually present at Troy with Odysseus, or heard the Sermon on the Mount, or met Gautama Buddha, heard the Bal Shem Tov as he founded Hasidism, were participants in the Aboriginal dreamtime - or heard direct accounts of the destruction of fabled Atlantis in "one terrible day and one terrible night" as reported by Plato in Timaeus and Critias? One might rely at such junctures on creative openness to new shapes and forms of meaning, and on a sense that new mythic intensity may be occurring, apart from one's lack of preparation for express midwifery in this regard. At issue is the shape of destiny for individual persons, nations, and some would also say for the Earth seen in her Gaia role.
New myth may come gradually or quickly. In some instances there may be strong, sharp introduction of mythic shapings - on the proverbial very unusual day when abrupt circumstances change the world in epochal ways. At a deeper level new world archetypes may emerge or old archetypes change shape.
It may be that you, the reader, and I, the publisher of Mortal Realms, are involved together in preparing a fine new instrument to focus on evolving mythos - namely, the MYTHSEEKER Project and the enabling computer technology it invokes. This may be a beckoning to give birth to a quickening of individual and cultural messages that myth can convey. Indeed, we do see through the glass only darkly, usually hardly seeing, particularly so when attempting to clarify new depth constructs, the flow of mythic process in time and space. There is an uncertainty principle in giving meaning to meaning, finding form in the source of form, spending time searching for why we believe time to be at all. It must be remembered that we have little knowledge of why existence is, or of why we as bundles of soul and matter are drawn in directions new, often challenging, but exciting.
Again, you are cordially invited to engage in furtherance of MYTHSEEKER. This is likely a unique opportunity for us all - for both you and me. Gather to the banner, experience the challenge, join the cause!
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and the Non Dual Perspective
This article is written in support of McCagie Rogers' newsletter Mortal Realms which exists to support his MYTHSEEKER project. Both of these projects are founded as resources to bring higher consciousness to larger groups of people. I think that the non dual perspective of spirituality shares the same goals as Mortal Realms. I shall include a little bit of my background and some of my favorite gems that shine light on the non dual perspective and hope that it may shine some light on your spiritual path as well.
My First Initiation Into the Non Dual?
The first time I heard non dual mentioned, I had no idea what it meant. I probably first heard the term when I began meditating in the mid 70's. This got me interested in Asian culture and so I found myself in Afghanistan in 77 on my way to India as part of a round the world trip to expand my cross cultural awareness. I had been reading Krishnamurti during the journey.
One day I took a carriage ride with several travel mates across town in Herat. We were slightly under the influence of a mild local herb, and while passing a rather long row of what appeared to be tinsmith shops, I had the sudden realization that seemed to be created or at least sparked by the tat a tat or tink tink tinking of the metalsmith hammering. The "realization" was that everything was just absolutely perfect. Not just in me, in Herat, but everywhere, and most notably I was not separate from this perfection, this unremitting goodness, joy, or uncaused bliss as I have come to call it. It was for me, of course, a revelation of such profundity at the time as to be incomparable to any sort of "insight" that I had had previously. And, as is common in these kinds of experiences, it was 1. quite impossible to adequately describe and 2. in a few hours the feeling and insight had disappeared and my psyche had returned to my more normal state. This is a common "opening up" or initiatory experience that I have read about frequently since that time. Many people have reported similar experiences attributed to herbs, fasting, meditating, drugs, and who knows what else.
My point in telling the story is simply that it was my first intimation of what I feel now was a glimpse into a "higher" realm, perhaps the realm of which non dual philosophies reference as the actual or true existence. Of course, a skeptic would describe it as a drug induced altered state. The classic mystic rebuttal to this is to question which is the altered state: "ordinary" reality or the "transcendent" ? In later years I would have regular revivals of this qualitative "breakthrough into the non dual". I introduce the article with this vignette as a way of emphasizing the distinction between talking about and knowing about something and realizing it. The goal is realization. Experience is not necessarily realization. My "insight" described above was what I would now call an experience.
Later on that same journey I spent time with a well known meditation master in India and had some more confirming experiences. It was here that I learned more about the Eastern idea of maya. Succinctly put, maya states that what we take as perceptual reality is actually illusory. It implies in some theories that maya is the differentiating quality of the mind which is a veil over pure consciousness. According to Hindu and Buddhist thought, our goal in living is to rend this veil and realize our identity with this pure consciousness.
A Bit on Books and Philosophies
I have read a fair amount on esoteric Hinduism, Buddhism, mysticism, Taoism, Christianity, Zen, and psychology and was taken by the commonalities of mystics across all traditions. I was particularly drawn to the gritty low dogmatic position of Zen Buddhism and its mother Buddhism. Later I read Christ's teachings in the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta and began to embrace the Asian view that Christ was one of a lineage of masters come to teach the masses the path to God realization. In that vein, the following quotes have been like jewels held in a secret inner pocket for me to fondle and contemplate over the years. They speak to me of the sublimity of the unity of existence.
I and my Father are one - Christ
The truth is that which never changes - Vedanta
I see God through the same eye which he sees me - Eckhart
God has no religion - Mahatma Gandhi
These "gems" summarize my interest in what is probably most commonly referred to as the mystic realm. The realm that crosses all barriers of religion and culture. Mysticism is defined as: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight).
Along the way I felt compelled to write about these experiences and ideas and so to context them I formulated in a playful way a treatise of my own beliefs that could some day be my "non-religion". What follows are a few of the assumptions.
A New Non Religion
If we maintain the definition of God as complete, whole (holy) all good, omniscient, omnipresent, then by definition there is no room for other than God. God is an all or nothing proposition. I and my Father are one, Jesus was reputed to have said. "Who am I?" Ramana Maharshi and the lineage of Zen masters have encouraged us to self inquire.
All religious and spiritual traditions have fostered mystical traditions at their peak level of attainment. Christian mystics, Islamic Sufis, Hindu saints, Buddhist masters in all traditions, Taoist masters. Even contemporary western "masters and saints" make widely varying claims of mastery and attainment. Many have been and will be proven to be charlatans and yet we must be open to the meaning of what these claims have for each of us. There is some truth to the yearning each of has to know our origins, our true identity beyond these material bodies, emotions, personalities, histories, aspirations, and fears, to the grander perhaps truer and only identity that mystics and saints have told us about for centuries. But until each of has that breakthrough experience, these accounts will be little more than inspiring stories to keep us studying, hoping, meditating and shopping for books, teachers, techniques, therapies, even psychobiomachines to zap our brainwaves into alignment with transcendent intergalactic and beyond starwaves, or whatever.
The essential existential questions of Why am I here? Who am I? need to be addressed from the viewpoint of the relentless and uncompromising attention to the non dual perspective. The non dual is the highest representation of spiritual thought that is common to the peak of all spiritual traditions as mentioned above. It is what the great masters have proclaimed but what most of their followers have twisted and demeaned because they themselves did not have the same level of realization that their teaching master did. The only question remaining is to uncover the variety of approaches to attaining peace of mind, fulfillment in the world, basic happiness and contentment, and everyday joy. What I would call learning to turn one's mind to delight. That is how I understand McCagie Rogers' work on MYTHSEEKER and Mortal Realms to coincide with the view from the non dual perspective.
How to Attain the Non Dual Perspective: Turning to Delight
A favorite teaching of Thomas Hora who created Metapsychiatry is that, "If you know what, you know how" This is a stimulating aphorism and sounds perhaps almost like a koan. But it states in a nutshell the dilemma of the quest for the non dual view. We may intellectually know and believe in "oneness" and the various ways of talking about or knowing about the non dual but until we realize it, it is only mental masturbation. And as good as it may feel while we are doing it (thinking and talking about it), we end up empty handed when it is done. So, the only "method" as I understand it is meditation. Whether it be standing, walking, sitting, or levitating, the process of watching the conditioned mind must begin until the conditioning is severed. This may happen slowly or quickly. Quickly, as in zen satori, may be only one of many "breakthroughs". So when we know what, we will have discovered how.
Swami Muktananda once said that man created religion to experience God, peace, quiet. It seems that many religious authorities have forgotten this. In addition, I am fond of reminding myself that religions are man created not God or even avatar created. Mystics, avatars have always advised looking within for the truth. To close, here are a few more gems. Whether you meditate or not, are "spiritual" or not (and who is to say?) the process we are all involved in is developing receptivity to the truth. That "truth" I think is described below:
Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. Jer. 23:24
In the ancient Indian Vedas it is stated, Om. That is perfect. This is perfect. From the perfect springs the perfect. If from the perfect, the perfect be taken, the perfect remains.
Or as Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48). I like to think of this quote not as a command about the future, but as an affirmation of here and now. Read it again from that perspective.
I read something posted at a local bookstore attributed to Satish Kumar that bears on this as well.
If I go as a Hindu I will meet a Muslim or a Christian, If I go as a socialist I will meet a capitalist. If I go as a brown man, I will meet a black man or a white man. But if I go as a human being, I will meet only human beings.
I thought to myself how lovely the progression was but how limited the ending. Why not add: And if I go as God's infinite good, whole, pure, absolute love and intelligence I will meet no other (but my Self).
And finally, my update of the Eckhart quote used at the beginning of the article:
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