It has been 15 years since I have spent any considerable time in my hometown, of Liberty, Missouri, whether this be in working or in living there.
The place has grown since I was last there in any capacity, which happens to be when I worked there, assisting at several of the school buildings, in support of the teachers and the students with their technology.
As I get closer to working there again, I feel a relaxation and also a flood of memories just waiting to emerge, a mixture of them, pleasant and unpleasant, but it is the right move for me to make--and I feel I have a pulse beat on the town after so much time still.
I have spent just over half my life there in some capacity, and I will share my impressions of it, since I know it quite well, certainly more than someone who has just moved there or one younger than myself living there.
As for the gatekeeper of me being there again, I think in some ways it has been my own experiences which I have had to travel to be there again, forces outside of myself as well guiding me to it once more, and also the bureaucracies I am having to travel to arrive there, but, bureaucracies and the like are as any form of maintenance or worldly call for attention--here you go, there you are, let me piecemeal what you need as I can; thanks for bringing to mind an opportunity to practice a kind of grace and patience again; this is not why I value living, but, the opportunity to apply what I know is invaluable.
I appreciate the small-town feeling still of my hometown, nestled away from its expansion across the state highway which occurred many years ago now.
It has its segments or strata of different socioeconomic backgrounds of people, although I will say it has seemed to grow in its appearance of being on the upper end of that over the years. Maybe it has always had that to some degree, but I think the reality of that grew as I grew and grew up there, and now I think you might not know of its small town places until you actually drive a bit into town there.
Assuming we are talking about a population made up mostly of those on the upper end of any socioeconomic background, what might be said in terms of the needs and wants, of any concerns found there?
I think within any division of people, in this case among the different socioeconomic backgrounds, an anxiety can be produced, as well as conflict and concern--self-doubt and fears can arise from this division, leading to self-questioning and wondering what might be done or what might be being unconsciously neglected from such division.
If material needs are met, and met well, to abundance perhaps in some cases, where is the deeper value of living? What might be calling from an existential reality little known from within those more well off, perhaps never seemingly having had the need to look within for any concern or apparent reason, for finding meaning in life.
I am nothing if not well aware of deeper values and understandings as a person and as a counselor, as a person having grown to young adulthood there, having measured up to possibly being honored for my achievements, but never quite getting there or always having had something seemingly keep me from reaching a certain level of goals, ever positioned in an in-between place, if you will, coming to value the importance of one's self, and of living separately from what any or all might say.
From growing up in this, my hometown, I came to value what I did by leaving and taking a break from there, from going on the journey I have, but now feeling positioned and called to return.
I know of this place, and of its values, and of its many ways of lacking, and what might be of better value, separate from just going along with breathing the air there without ever knowing or thinking or conceiving of anything else.
I am happy to return, with the knowledge of my journey, without a blind eye to what matters and knowing of what to be aware.
Happy I am to help out, and to be able to do so from there.
I am in the midst of a transition within my practice in several areas, including in emphasizing a different approach or model for what I already provide.
I am honestly trying to offer a unique and enjoyable perspective to those aspects and bits of information which I consider an important supplement to or even a complement for the support I provide.
Foundationally, I approach helping others in a very Rogerian way, emphasizing empathy through understanding, and I make use of Jungian ideas and principles for how the mind works, which I usually feel led to share. This includes relating how the unconscious acts as a storehouse of information for what to work on, this material coming up as part of a natural process meant to inform us.
Dovetailing or building on Jungian principles of the unconscious, combined with or maybe even supplanted by spiritual understandings I know and have experienced over a lifetime, approaching half a century now, I am all into offering the esoteric knowledge I feel essential to living a fulfilling life.
(Esoteric knowledge being that which may not necessarily be readily available to know--knowledge that is hidden even.)
This is what it comes down to, I feel.
I can provide support and help others transition through difficult experiences and experiencing in life, but I feel like I have a storehouse of knowledge and understandings just waiting to be shared, for me to provide.
If this is the best that I offer, how can I not share it?
This information may actually be more informative in a curative and healing way than any conventional approach to helping can provide.
An attempt at summary of the esoteric knowledge here:
1) We are all driven by the desire to know ourselves completely, which ends up being as an individual expression of the universe as a whole.
2) Between any two in this world, whether this be between a person and a place, an object and another object (or thing), or between any combination of these three, the natural tendency is towards union and wholeness, relating rather than distinguishing and distancing.
3) Personal power means our ability to experience and do what we want.
Conclusions to be drawn from the above:
1) We are not ultimately in control of what we do if we are all being pulled towards knowing ourselves as an individual expression of the universe.
2) We can assist in this process more gracefully by using our personal power to go towards this understanding with awareness.
3) Some level of surrendering to the mystery behind this pull towards knowing ourselves completely seems inevitable.
Concepts which support the above:
Magic describes the dynamic pull towards union we experience when we surrender to this process and experience the wonder of it.
Alchemy models the transformation of ourselves into this ultimate expression of ourselves.
Divination becomes an act of surrender to the mystery pulling us towards knowing ourselves in this complete way.
The sacred feminine, finally, represents the ultimate love of the universe, bridging the gap between us and this understanding of who we are, pulling us towards this understanding.
Now, I feel I am ready to share more openly this information that I know, and I am happy to provide this as part of what I do.
I look forward to being able to share this with you, for you to enjoyably benefit from it.
After nearly eleven years of counseling and recently working on incorporating new discoveries into what I offer, the latest of what I have been trying to provide has come to a place of form and substance for its expression finally.
I consider what I am sharing here the first expression of it.
I have always been aligned with the sacred feminine and similar ways of being since the beginning days of my practice. It came to a point in my working with these understandings that I felt like there should be a way to actively be and exist in the world in alignment with them.
In other words, how does one be active from this place?
How do you live in alignment with sacred feminine understandings by actually doing things in the world, not just by feeling a presence or a love from them?
Sacred feminine understandings as opposed to worldly ones might be contrasted like this, to give an idea of what I mean by the sacred feminine: the world might advocate that you work, earn, control, or manipulate more in life, while the sacred feminine might suggest that you allow, surrender, enjoy, or embrace more.
(Other sacred feminine understandings are found in its namesake menu at the top of this website, or within the posts of the blog category "Sacred Feminine" on the right side of this page, or at the bottom of it, depending on if you are seeing the mobile device version of it.)
Magic came to be the next iteration in understanding of the sacred feminine, as a way to more actively work from this place. Mystery and symbols holding power identified magic as a way to let go into another way of knowing and awareness, a way to not only let love in but to experience inspiration and guidance on how to proceed from a shifting of one's awareness into these other areas.
Now I am putting forth the idea of personal power, in service and in alignment with what I have just shared.
Where we spend our time and energy, there we channel our personal power, which I define as our ability to experience and do what we want.
Those things which help us in our ability to experience and do what we want, I say that they have power, which covers everything from time and money to the inspiration and guidance received from the mystery and symbols just shared.
Regardless of where we turn for helping us maintain, and gain, in our personal power, it makes sense to assess where we are first with it.
Simply shifting our awareness to a thorough understanding of where we are utilizing it currently, and understanding what rewards we might be gaining from it, this provides a costs-benefits analysis for one of the most essential components in our being able to be who we are--our personal power.
Just seeing the results of this analysis has a powerful effect.
We are more able to make the adjustments we need or want to, so that we might refocus and replenish, even gain, in our personal power.
Now, I feel like I must pause in this talking about personal power. There are particular vantage points and viewpoints that are a part of my talking about it.
I feel like we are all being pulled, whether consciously or not, to a greater understanding of ourselves than we might currently know.
This knowledge goes to the source of power, not as a way to actively manipulate it, but as a surrendering to it.
We are the universe itself, and an individual expression of it.
When we non-volitionally operate in the world, or do what we do but are not lost in thought or even self-conscious about it, this best describes this mode of being and doing in the world. It is more akin to an individual expression of the universe than anything else.
What I have consciously incorporated into a personal power assessment prompts us to check in and identify those moments which best emulate this ultimate understanding of ourselves.
They are moments of joy and freedom of which we are aware.
I feel this balances out and provides direction for the assessment.
If we are all going towards this ultimate understanding, whether we know it or not, why not consciously align with this, without resistance, bringing to mind those moments when we have tasted who we are in the ultimate sense of ourselves?
This helps accentuate and accelerate the healing process, which I define as remembering who we are.
We are reaching for wholeness, as we remember, the assessment helping us in going towards this.
I believe there are two paths we walk on this earth. The one we all know. And the one we are walking, perhaps unbeknownst to us.
To be who we are, to be and do from this place, individually this gives us joy, allows us to experience the freedom of being ourselves.
When we do this, we are tasting of our true nature. We are recalling the reality we know beneath all we experience.
We are uncovering the esoteric meaning of life.
All actions can be seen to serve this drive towards knowing ourselves in the ultimate sense. In moments of wonder, in the joy and freedom already mentioned, and to a lesser degree, in moments of love and peace, we are experiencing some level of who we are.
To uncover what is already there in meditation, to understand the joy of living, the joy of life, the joy of wonder in the mystery of it all, these speak volumes to what I am trying to say, to what I am trying to share about who we are.
To experience these is to know what I am referring to, words falling short, the experiential knowledge the key.
Awareness of our joy and freedom keeps unlocking the door for us throughout life, to know the meaning of life, this drive to know who we are at the most expansive and deepest level.
And, it is ever so near.
Beyond this, or in addition to this, supplementing this going towards realizing the untraceable memory of truth within us, calling to us to remember who we are, I have enjoyed combining Eastern and Western concepts, and I use the words magic and alchemy in intentional and often defined ways to express the nature of who we are and the universe.
Magic represents the fabric of reality, as much as it can be said to exist, and it also expresses the dynamic of it, really a kind of love of the universe, ever present, able to be touched on and tasted if we shift our awareness in that direction.
In fact, between the experiencer and the experience I would say an alchemical connection exists, a kind of loving connection, which we may experience to one degree or another, even if it means we pull away as a result.
We are all going towards this reality of who we are, a more complete and indescribable understanding than words can afford, than we can ever completely express.
I am here, I feel, to counsel on this understanding, this opportunity, this inevitability of uncovering who we are at the most complete and completely experienced level.
We are all going towards this understanding.
I feel I am here to help accelerate this natural process, like an alchemist, one who has seen nature at work and wants to accentuate the divine witnessed in it, through self-agency and hands-on application.
Negatively felt experiences and ripples in the idea of wholeness are opportunities to trace these waves of experience back to their source.
I help provide a different perspective, shedding light on and helping to promote healing, defined as remembering who we are.
This is wholeness.
Rather than provide relief only from just what may be immediately experienced, I offer a deeper level of understanding, beyond what may be just occurring on life's surface.
I have tried setting aside Tuesdays for writing, so I am able to do this again today, on a Tuesday, and am sharing a bit behind the veil of my personal practice here.
I have had deeper experiences outside of regular, everyday life in Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and I continually try and make this my waking, sleeping, dreaming reality, every moment of my existence if possible.
I mean, I do not actively, I hope, push for this, but I am aligned with this goal, try to live it, and I think trying to help others experience reality at a deeper or truer level like this falls in line.
Those understandings, this reality I know, that is the best I offer.
When I have the time, and ideally I would be able to do it more, I offer myself up in meditations, breaking them down in my conception into 15-minute offerings. I generally meditate for 30 minutes, so I am generally able to offer myself up a couple of times when I meditate.
In alignment with the equivalent of rosary beads in Hinduism--they are called malas. with a bead count of 108--I try and meditate, offer myself up 108 times in meditation throughout a month.
I am a bit behind for July, and am feeling it, although I had a good start to the month.
Basically, I wanted to write something today, so I am, but I have had personal matters to attend to going on a solid week, if not longer, so I am happy to share this bit of my practice now and am heading off to meditation again here.
I am nothing if not inspired by, and take solace and sustenance in, time to myself, felt most vividly, and perhaps most deeply, when late at night.
If people align or walk themselves most truly at certain times of the day, then a large portion of my time would be at night, when not many, or hardly any, are around, if any at all.
It may be complete darkness then, or pert near, as my grandmother at times said, but the idea approaches nothingness, an absence, a void even.
At one end of the spectrum you find a willingness, or a need, to go beyond the regular realms and times of daylight, of the daylight hours, a time when we most ingest and take part in and co-create the reality we think we know, or we certainly try making.
But that for me has never quite been reality.
The untraceable memory of truth within us, which ever guides and leads us in life, points to us lifting back the regular world of ideas and the days of everyday life, which we find to just be how things are.
There is another world, and I think you can most taste it in those alone times, not lonely, although that can occur.
At night, in this place, the moonlight as gentle knowledge, here you will find, to my mind, a peace and an ease, a more natural way to understand.
The work I do becomes intimately informed by what I know from this place, this time, although the time I am referring to now is hours away from when I am posting this.
What to do in the daylight?
I try and not get caught up with what we all know, and try to remember what I do know, perhaps unique from this place.
It lines up with the deeper understanding I feel essential in life.
To be who we are we have to be able to be in a place as this.
I am glad to value this place and time as I do, and I am happy to share with you from here.
I am somewhat self-conscious sharing this information, but, I think it important to be myself and relate what ties in with the work I do. It helps explain the framework behind the process of my counseling, shedding light on relevant beliefs and understandings that come into play in my practice.
What I am sharing I would like to put in the framework of alchemy's three stages, which can be found in other posts or under the Alchemy menu on this site.
As a way to accelerate a natural process, whether this be for metals or for human beings, alchemy's stages outline how we reach for wholeness.
Being a mystic fits in well with the stages or steps. By going deeper into oneself, or losing oneself through the embrace of something greater, the desired goal of wholeness, where we are more purely ourselves than at any other time, this wholeness can be tasted, experienced, and touched on, requiring nothing else at this time.
I have a sense that there is no divided experience from anything or anyone else when we come into ourselves more like this, ironically disappearing into this unified wholeness as we realize ourselves more and more. What transpires then, or on the way to experiencing and knowing this, I might describe as a thinning of reality or as a taking away from any experience the substantiality of it.
Things do not bother us like they used to, and they do not have the weight that they once did.
They simply do not have the substance like that.
Now, this experience may last for but a short time, the example of a deeper experience of meditation coming to mind, along with the felt experience of reality afterwards.
In alchemy we could say that we are in the world of the everyday, its thoughts and ideas, and removing ourselves consciously from it in the next stage, which allows us to return to the world in the third stage, with a closer experience to or approximation of that golden destination of feeling and being whole, experiencing the true nature of reality as less substantial and weighted than before we entered deeply into meditation.
From white, to black, to red tinged with gold, to speak chiefly of the colors of the alchemical stages just outlined.
Alchemy, whether we know it or not when we follows its stages, helps us arrive more quickly at this place of wholeness.
Being a mystic helps us arrive there in the way just outlined, and by doing practices like a mystic might, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience this.
Meditation might be one way to this.
In the practice of counseling, certainly how I approach it, two people have the opportunity to thin out reality together or for one to lead the other in practices which help this to occur. Working through problems or concerns or issues, to give just a general description of counseling, this is a way to lessen the load and help make less substantial the obstacles or difficulties on one's path, which include within oneself.
Any experience becomes an opportunity to experience wholeness, if we are able to let go fully into it and touch on the underlying reality within the moment, it being of less substance than we might have otherwise experienced then.
Being a mystic, I have almost a need to dip into this underlying reality for my sense of balance and well-being as a person, although it does not tolerate well at times experiences that fall short of this deeper immersion.
It may in some ways be easier not to be a mystic while living on this earth, but I do think it aligns me with a knowing that I truly do cherish, however it may be beyond any of my ability to help not having this drive or this experience.
I just work with what my experiencing of reality is and has been, that has informed me and continues to do so, and I think it has its benefits when helping others with their own drives and needs in reaching wholeness.
Although the title of this post may sound like a contest or a game of some kind to see who wins out, the two spellings here highlight a subtlety of difference in the same understanding.
To begin with, let us throw out the idea of stage magic, for I am not referring to this with either spelling.
Also, let me share the importance of my understanding and knowledge in this post as it relates to my practice, whether you use one or two spellings of magic, or even the word at all: when you are experiencing health and wholeness, and you come to taste and touch on what this means and may mean, you might say the magic of life meets you, gives you the freedom to feel who you really are and might be.
Magic, however you spell it, which I will get to in a moment--experiencing it becomes a marker on the road to being yourself and to reaching wholeness.
I have previously defined magick with the letter k, to distinguish it from stage magic. For all intents and purposes right now, unless I indicate otherwise, I am talking about the same magick when I spell it without a k. Magic and magick then, from this point on, are interchangeable and synonymous on this site, unless I purposely refer to stage magic, which would be a separate definition.
If magic and magick are the same in essence when I mention either, what is the subtle difference between them?
Consider magick a formal definition of the word, which I have used purposefully to reference those who practice it and how it may have been understood and referenced in times past, not to mention current practitioners' usage of it.
There is truly something magical about the word, and powerful.
To conjure my definition again for magick:
A shift in perspective of reality where mystery and symbols hold power and the key to providing answers and knowledge which can alter reality.
More recently, I have used the word magic without a k and essentially meant the same thing.
However, when I have said magic more recently, I have been referring to a less formalized feeling and expression and experience of what it means, as in the life around and about you providing you with moments that feel like magic, are made up of magic, contain magic, to the point that you really understand and do believe in magic and know what it means in those moments.
Again, it marks progress in life.
Now whether you wield it formally or not, and whether I myself have more to say on that--honestly, I would not have much to say right now due to lack of knowing, and this perhaps may never change. I do believe in its practice though.
I consider the formally defined magick the same as the experience of magic in life, and to distinguish them further does not seem to be required at this point in my practice.
Being who we are, there becomes no greater magic than this.
This I truly believe and know.
For a summary of the overall knowledge I draw upon and make use of in my practice, the lens of alchemy helps highlight key areas. Through honoring the esoterica I know, which includes alchemy, I share ways of knowing associated more with darkness, obtained by going off the beaten path to be safely away and protected from the world. Under the processes of healing, I highlight more conventional counseling ideas, where we reach for and maintain ourselves operating in the world, or at least whatever our own particular version of the world may be. Within understandings of the sacred feminine, I share transcendent ideas, no less true, where love becomes the truth of what we know and experience.
All three of these areas can be seen as emblematic of alchemy's three processes, coded black, white, and red, respectively. (See the post Alchemy: A Journey of Discovery for more information on this.)
When I say Mystery of alchemy, I am purposely using a capitalized version. For mystery, in general, I mean that which we do not know. Almost all of the work I do and how I try and live have become more and more informed by my relationship to mystery or what I do not know.
I sometimes feel inclined to share a bit of reasoning or logic behind why I share and say what I do, but, in honor of mystery, I will leave a bit of that for now as I continue.
Without not knowing, how can we know or claim to know or come into knowledge of any kind? How can we explore, find truth, experience and enjoy what is new? More importantly, for the map of living and life which I find to be valid for experiencing one's own happiness and evolution: how can you experience any wonder in life or living without a sense of mystery, of enjoying not knowing how or why something occurs, which may include a sense of awe at times?
I might say that mystery involves itself quite intricately with the enjoyment of life and leads to its enchantment.
When I say Mystery, versus mystery, I am not using that designation lightly. I feel we are all a unique, and at times not a unique, expression of this ultimate mystery as Mystery, or, you may say, God or Goddess, the universe, Truth, whatever personal representation of Mystery speaks to you.
To say or even think we will come into the knowledge of all someday while still living on this earth, as we know ourselves to be living right now, this becomes an incessant drive and a fruitless quest in terms of the desired goal of knowing all.
The secret of Mystery: you must surrender to it. You live your life, knowing what you know, not knowing what you do not know, and you come across important experiences of wonder where you have enjoyed being who you are, while at the same time enjoying what you do not know in a way which gives a nod to and honors Mystery.
I do believe the Mystery of the universe will reach down and assist and help, in perhaps unpredictable ways at times, if we just follow our own path but make room for and allow ourselves to let go into, surrender into not knowing, not ever knowing all we would like to know.
The stages of life as seen through alchemy reach milestones of wonder, and without Mystery being honored, these become less likely to occur. Certainly, it makes sense to ask, why not consciously allow a place for Mystery in life if we will never know all, but we can at least honor this not knowing by having a place for Mystery in life?
For me, this allows wholeness, allows it to occur more easily.
The Mystery of alchemy becomes a process of allowing ourselves to remember who we are.
Tat tvam asi.
I wanted to offer my sketches, my thoughts, my perhaps ramblings and rumblings as I try and bring forth such a fabled concept into my practice. I mean, I am doing that right now, have been doing that since my last few posts.
Creating the Philosopher's Stone means many things, and has historically, and for me its creation represents being able to share in more Western language the precious understandings and knowledge I have of reality through Eastern paths almost exclusively.
When looking at the historical data on how to create a stone or some material, such as a powder or a wax-like substance, which can turn metals into gold, which also incorporates ideas of the perfection of oneself, with more esoteric understandings being part of the process as well, each alchemist, or person who practices this art, has a variation on the basic steps of this process, the process of alchemy.
I am relating all of this and find this important because, for one, my understanding of reality, as I am sure is the case for everyone, this shapes so much of who I am, and I know this to be quite different than a lot of people's. It seems important to share this about myself as it inevitably influences the work I do.
Secondly, if in my knowledge, and belief to an extent, I feel we are all inevitably going towards this understanding of reality, this truth of it, and most of us are not aware of this truth, and it is shaping us and our path regardless of our knowledge of it, this seems important to share in a helping profession. If I am not mentioning or referencing or working with the underlying framework and pull that drives or conditions each of us in unique ways, then I feel I am neglecting knowledge I have that could be shared to be helpful and open up reality more for a path to wholeness for each person.
The historical quest for the Philosopher's Stone, whether for turning lead into gold or perfecting the nature of oneself, in it I have found language which echoes that of traditional Tantra and Vedanta.
Both of those Eastern understandings speak of reality in a way which I know, however much I do know it They basically state we are already at our destination, having already reached a true oneness with the universe, and instead of "universe" you can use your own word for the ultimate understanding of things, whether this be for a force, a being, a presence, or what have you, whatever you conceptualize as an ultimate understanding, one which can be experienced, interacted with, even related to in the sense of a relationship.
Alchemy has tried to speed up the natural perfection it says all metals are going towards, or that all of us are reaching for. Gold for alchemists has been the perfection of all metals, symbolic of our own perfect nature which we strive for.
When turning lead into gold or helping others reach this state of perfection, the Philosopher's Stone has already reached this place, helping others or other material to arrive there.
I feel it important to conclude my talk of alchemy here, and begin to share it as the process already in place in my practice, of reaching for wholeness, and although I will use and have used the word perfection for what alchemy strives for, there is nothing more perfect than the Eastern conceptualization of us knowing our true nature, as the universe itself, as the state of perfection already inherent within us.
Alchemy seeks to help us unlock this door of understanding, and when it does so, when it helps us uncover who we really are, it creates in the process a golden key of awareness with which we find our freedom and joy in life.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest