With Guest Blogger: Dee Rapposelli
Popular spiritual teachers, such as Pema Chodron and Eric Tolle, talk about spaciousness and presence. Spaciousness is what you basically feel when you are truly present . . . when you are not spinning stories, judgments, and comparisons about what is happening to and around you. When you access your spaciousness, then you are who and what you really are and you experience Reality. The experience is one of fascination and contentment. In Sanskrit, the ecclesiastic language of Hinduism, this is called ananda, which translates as “bliss.” It is the conscious experience of being. Along with Consciousness and Being, this Bliss-Experience is said to be the nature of God, and so God is described as Satchidananda—Existence-Consciousness-Bliss in Vedic Hinduism. God is also called Brahman in this system, an archaic word thought to mean “That Which Spreads Out.” That which spreads out in both vast spaciousness and also creative potential and actualization. It is All This and what underlies and transcends all this.
I use my art and creative writing to explore this. Transcendence. Self-actualization. My aim is to draw the viewer or reader into a sense of mystery and spiritual revelation. I want to make you think about your magical and spiritual aspirations are. I want you to find “the face you had before the world was made,” in the words of WB Yeats. I could say that I want to proverbially wake you up, but I really want to wake myself up by trying to get you to.
I have come to a place in my life and practice in which the flux of thoughts, feelings, judgments, etc. feel like heavy, gripping impositions, and so I experience myself as consciousness wrapped (instead of rapt) in thought. This mind state kind of got kicked up a notch when, spurred-on by my dear friend and sometime partner in magical mayhem, Susanne Iles, I began playing around with a particular tract in the Greek Magical Papyri called The Stele of Jeu. For those familiar with ceremonial magic, the Bornless Ritual is based on it. What I was impressed by in the tract is a recurring statement in which the orator beseeches Deity to “save” a person “from the spirit that restrains him.” This has been taken to mean that the Stele of Jeu is an exorcism. But when I read the line “Save [me] from the spirit that restrains [me],” when I ceremoniously read through the text, it leads me to contemplate all my self-sabotaging behaviors. It throws them all in my face in my day-to-day life. And, frankly, this gives me a bit more clarity about what the hell is going on in my life, who I am, and who I want to be.
My present experience, however uncomfortable, helps me distinguish consciousness and true will from habits and conditioning that run their programs and are expressed as an incessant barrage of reactive thoughts and emotions. It challenges me to be very open and kind to myself—and to others—as it assures me that I can divest myself of the burden of judgments and expectations. It also begs the question “What is it to wake up from the idea of yourself?”
Becoming truly real, conscious, and capable of so-called “true will”—begins by realizing the whimsical and fabricated nature of your own being; detaching from its programmatic personality, habits, and conditioning, and then resting—and trusting—in Consciousness.
I’m working on it. I’ve been working on it in fits and starts for an eternity—and so have you. May we be free of the spirit that restrains us—our own self-sabotage, obstinacy, neuroses, and nescience.