The Power of Entertainment
An important passageway can be illustrated by honoring the root words of the subject of this post.
We can translate "enter" into one of its original meanings, from the French word entre, meaning between.
For the second half of the word, we can translate "tainment" into the Latin root of tenere, meaning to hold or maintain.
What we discover then, in looking at entertainment, is a word and a practice really of holding a place in between.
That is what I would like to propose, in any event, and I think it important to look at this further.
When we entertain something, we hold it in the mind, give it our thought and attention. With entertainment, I feel, we are bridging the gap between this world and another, between the world of creation and the world of the regular, everyday.
Depending on the quality of this entertainment, which allows us to go to another place, to escape, to let our cares go for a time, we might truly come to a place we would like to continue to entertain, or to hold within ourselves.
When I propose the importance of entertainment, I am encouraging the reality of the possibility found in aligning ourselves with the work of another, or in the act of creation ourselves, immersing ourselves in this creation, whatever may be its source.
I believe our minds are realigned to the reality of the world we are experiencing, this in-between world, and it is of some quality, certainly of the quality of being outside of this world to some extent, if not quite fully immersed in this world of another.
In the ultimate vantage and viewpoint, the world occurs moment by moment, if even like that, each moment perfect in its presence of wholeness and of truth.
When we experience the world of another, in entertainment, we are experiencing a structured reality, in which we find all of ourselves participating, the parts of us we know, and the parts of us we may not, that is, the unconscious parts of ourselves.
Powerful works of creation can activate our inner workings in unseen and transformative ways.
I propose the power of entertainment lies in its ability to help us realize the perfection and truth of each moment, knowing that nothing is wrong in them, when we are in between our seeming reality and the proposed world we have come to entertain.
In this liminal, in-between space we get a taste of realizing wholeness, learning about the freedom and full possibility of each moment.
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.
Meaning of life
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.
Acts of love and magic
Rounding out recent thoughts I have had of alchemy and Tantra (see the post Alchemy: Destination Red), I want to relate how I see magic as synonymous with love in terms of being the fabric and dynamic of reality.
The untraceable memory of truth within us calls us to realize who we are as a unique expression of the universe, while simultaneously being the universe itself.
We are all moving towards this understanding, whether we are consciously doing so or not. Thus says Vedanta.
An experiential knowledge that we are the universe, according to Tantra, comes from us feeling the vibratory reality of it, this sacred tremoring or vibration of the universe, perhaps a feeling of love or joy within ourselves, permeating our whole being, coming to us in peak moments, although certainly not restricted to them.
That being the fabric of reality, the dynamic of reality comes to us in everyday life in the form of the connection between any two: a person and a person, a person and an object, a person and a place, or even between an object or a place and another object or place. (The word "thing" can be used in place of "object" here.)
If all of reality, according to Vedanta, becomes nothing but an expression and experience of the very universe itself in our greatest understanding, the experiential Tantric dynamic of it has the relation between any two physical manifestations, as described above, as being alchemical in nature, that is, the natural tendency between any two phenomena becomes ultimately the experience of the universe as whole. The vibratory or joyful experience or dynamic between any two represents the natural desire for wholeness or union, the experience of the undivided, absolute universe.
We can say love exists between them, desiring wholeness.
Saying nothing about how magic, in being the fabric and dynamic of reality as just described, may be manipulated or worked with in intentional and conscious ways, which I have nothing to say on, although the framework and reality of it is clearly there--magic as an expression and dynamic of the universe can easily be substituted for the word "love" when recalling the feelings we have in peak moments and when resonating with others or other objects or places in a special way.
What motivated me to post, and what this post has come down to in a very simple way, this has me sharing how the tasks of daily living, I like to think of as an opportunity to experience and express magic, as acts imbued with love, for those tasks done especially to help and assist others, and for those done to help keep the peace and cleanliness of our own space and domain.
These are not to be seen or experienced as mundane activities or detail work.
They are the very acts of life itself, regular everyday life, but possibly able to be experienced as a way of working magic, of expressing personal love, or a way of sacredly connecting to what you are doing, or who you are doing it for.
Being a mystic
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 I first introduced in the blog post: Alchemy: A Journey of Discovery.
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.
Mystery of Alchemy
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 have made a change to my website today, supplying more practical esoteric material, while hiding others I still believe in but which did not have a place in the change as of this day.
Briefly, to comment on the day, I think a day of foolishness might be just a wonderful thing, a fool's delight. A fool delights in not knowing, in not giving a care. The revelry, the joy, the freedom in this, this supplies perhaps a wonderful way to help us shift out of any daily drudgery or routine or haze.
I always think honoring the mystery of life brings rewards which we can experience if not always express, and I think the image of the fool, and what comes to mind with this, in some ways shows an ideal of how to embrace and live from what we do not know.
So, in keeping this post brief, a happy April Fool's Day to you!
Alchemy: The Philosopher's Stone
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.
Alchemy: Destination Red
I feel like I have finally come to a place where I can share openly, if not completely so, the knowledge I have that has meant so much to me throughout my life.
This knowledge I can share will be on a path unique to each person, but it translates into freedom for everyone, a loving sense of being, a peaceful sense of existence; it is dynamic and powerful, loving and human.
It accepts no authority, but your own.
In the ultimate sense, it is authority for everyone.
When looking at the basic processes of alchemy, in which a material becomes purified to a point of perfection, reaching its own innate essence or self, the final destination becomes colored red.
This may symbolize the material's own innate perfection achieved. It may also signify its ability to change other materials into their own perfected states.
This, I am so happy to have discovered, perhaps urged on silently by the work of Carl Jung, who himself found in alchemy so much rich meaning for his own discovered understandings of how we reach for wholeness.
I will say I have come across this perfected material before, sometimes called a stone, throughout my life.
A most recent encounter with it shaped myself and the beginnings of my practice, introducing the sacred feminine to me in a way I had not known. The importance of self-love was pointed out, not in a distorted way, but in a way which had me feeling more whole.
Reading books on the subject, I found in the sacred feminine a suppressed understanding, lineages or potential lineages of women who incorporated everyday living into their daily practice.
If a path of truth were to be walked, discarding everyday life and love did not seem healthy based on the recent experiences I had had at the time.
I encountered the red thread designation of Meggan Watterson, which harkened back to the women of the past I was discovering.
Completely separate from her, I found out there was a Red Thread Zen practice, incorporating everyday living into its unique form of Buddhism.
There are other encounters with this color, and I will come to another of them in a moment, but when I discovered in alchemy just recently the path of making this treasured material, perfected in itself and which could transform others as well, I was shown how I could incorporate all of my path in a way which could be communicated to others, the symbolism of alchemy and its processes having paved the way with their precedents.
Repeated from a previous post, here are the sequences of changes when transforming a material into its perfected state, signified by color change and including my own interpretation of what each stage means. Transforming oneself, as well as other materials, has been a goal of alchemy historically.
Black - a distillation of ourselves past the everyday world and mind talk.
White - insights and information gained from the experience as we return.
Red - living our lives changed from the knowledge of our experience.
While I had very deeply and clearly encountered my own personal experiences of the first two stages of alchemy, not until I encountered the need of the sacred feminine in such a fundamental way could I have found meaning in the third stage, even though I had experienced it in my own way, if not highlighted or talked about in the traditions I had followed.
Without elaborating on this, I will simply say that any tradition that advises practice and discipline away from others or from even basic human sexual understanding, without honoring either of them, or without honoring the connecting human link we have to all, this potentially complicates the path, sometimes to an alarming degree.
You may reach a state of understanding without consciously honoring our humanity or sexuality, but depending on the degree of neglect, this will return at some point to challenge you.
A religion, for instance, may honor a removal of oneself from the world to gain insights and understanding, as in the first two stages of alchemy, but it may not have much to say on how to be a human and work with these. This represents a feminine addition to the knowledge, to my mind, and to my heart, for a more complete understanding, for how to humanly work with this knowledge and any insight gained.
Traditional Tantra represents such a complete path as I have outlined, as alchemy has put forth. I have been excited and heartened to discover we have had a Western approach, in alchemy, to a complete path to realizing the truth of who we are, which we are all going towards, whether we know it or not.
Traditional Tantra has been the most complete path I have ever encountered, predating religion as we know it, captured and intimated somehow in the stages of process outlined in alchemy for reaching perfection.
Traditional Tantra has come from India, followed closely by, perhaps around the same time and around the same region, the teachings of Vedanta. Whereas Vedanta follows more closely the first two stages of alchemy, traditional Tantra, which I will refer to as simply Tantra now--Tantra emphatically emphasizes the third stage of alchemy, incorporating red most vividly in some of its esoteric practices.
The practice of helping others in my life has come to this point of my journey, to be able to follow a Western set of guidelines for Eastern practices, which incorporate the entirety of a path to wholeness, to realizing the truth of who we are.
I will have more to say about the degrees of subtlety found in the three stages of process, the three ways or pathways of alchemy, which capture the full journey of anyone who honors being human as part of it.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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