Toward Unfiltered Consciousness

This morning I found myself stuck on The RootFor those of you who have never heard of it, it is similar to The Huffington Post, but with articles that are more tailored to the interests of a largely African American audience.  Some of the articles that I got mesmerized by were a 4 page article on African American Slave Holders, one on the push to get Dr. Ben Carson to run for POTUS, and an article about people’s reactions to the new version of Annie being cast with the little black girl from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhane Wallis. As I read the articles, I monitored my thoughts around the subject matter to see what I could learn about myself and how I relate to the world.  You see,  I have chosen to be a person who checks in with myself a lot.  If a thought occurs to me that I feel is questionable, such as, “Why is Ben Carson a Republican?”, I am inclined to examine it to see if I can determine where it came from and whether or not it is a thought I really resonate with or if it was one handed to me.  Like with the Ben Carson thought, I can distinctly remember my father telling me that any black man who is a Republican these days must hate himself or other black people. With that in my head, my mind immediately tried to tie Ben Carson to the black slave holders who I had just read about in the previous article. That led me to consider other so called, “black on black” violence and exploitation.  I say so called, because if people of other races exploit each other no one calls it anything.  I’ve never heard anyone say “white on white” or “brown on brown” crime. Anyway, after a single thought starts making too many divergent connections, I usually stop the train and get off and then ask myself how I got there in my mind.  From there I determine whether I want to keep going with that train of thought or move on to other things.

For a long time, if I came to realize that a person I was talking with was jut parroting what they were told by their family without ever taking a look at whether or not those thoughts actually served them, I would start the process of removing myself from the conversation.  My reasoning for this was that I felt like that tendency among people to just go on automatic pilot mode is what allows a lot of dysfunction to keep moving through the generations.  “My mother or father did it so I do it.” never sat well with me. And besides, I really don’t see the point of that line of thinking. In this way, I am like Socrates, who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The way I see it, if my life is merely a consecutive string of undisciplined reactions to my environment and conditions based on what I was force fed to believe through propaganda, then in essence I was never really here. That being said, I don’t merely limit myself to the Descartes[ian] ideology, “I think therefore I am”. I see thinking as a part of “who I be”, but not the whole.  Other relevant aspects of how I express my being are feeling, intuiting, accepting, and surrendering to just name a few.  But all of these aspects or faculties or facilities of my being fall under the umbrella of Consciousness.  For me, Consciousness is the essence of who I am. Consciousness is the intentional observer/influencer of my being and the channel through which I deliver my activities into the world.  In my opinion, without Consciousness, the world is nothing but vanity.

If I were to draw a picture of how I imagine Consciousness being, I would draw Consciousness as the Light of Creative Intelligence, my mind would be the slides or film I want to project, and the projector itself would be my body.  As I project onto the world i.e. the screen, the Intelligent Light of my Consciousness is also observing what I project and engaging with the receivers at multiple levels.  This creates an expansion in Consciousness which then brings greater illumination to the slides or film which represents the thoughts that occur in Mind.  As the illumination intensifies, there is more clarity to the thought projections. This continues until the projections become an ideal representation of the Conscious Intelligent and Creative Light.  When that happens the slides and/or film are no longer necessary because I will no longer have anything to project onto the world or onto others in order to justify my existence. At that point, I will be functioning as pure Consciousness–an uninterrupted and unfiltered, freely giving and freely receiving creative being. I think this is how it works for all of us. I believe that that is our true nature.  As I said in the post Switched At Birth, I believe that we all came here as pure being, and then, for many of us, the inaccuracies and sometimes flat out lies began, starting with the very names we identify with. But beyond our names are the other associations that become the filters through which we give to and receive from Life.  And for me that is where The Root came in this morning.  As I read the articles, I could feel my filters engaging.

Before reading those articles, I was simply Conscious Being. Besides, my dog and some lady bugs, no one was home. I had done my morning devotions, meditation, and prayer.  I had caught up on this campaign called The One Great Hour of Sharing with my daughter, which has the tagline, “We are One”  and was feeling grateful that I have another day to get closer to the Root of my Being–my Source who I most often refer to as God. I will admit that for some time now, I have “fallen off the wagon” when it comes to remaining sober to what I believe is God’s reality of Life.  That is to say that without constantly checking in with myself, praying a whole lot, reading the Bible and other expansive material, and talking about the Higher activities of life, I feel the temptation to get intoxicated with the smaller story of who I am, the roles that I play in the world.  I know that I am not my roles any more than I am my thoughts. I am not a fictional character. But as many of us know, sometimes it seems easier to play one.

Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you tomorrow, just as long as you’re not yesterday.

When I looked at the articles, I felt some of my fictions coming up.  You’d have to read the article on African American slave owners to get an idea of what my feelings might have been, but I will say that, if I jumped into a time machine immediately after reading it, I might have caused some trouble for some of those people.  When I read about Ben Carson, I found myself thinking of him as having become a cartoon character.  He’s a brilliant doctor and I’ve read some intelligent things from him, but I will say that I have my challenges with how it seems like he has straight up bought into the vanity of the political world.  Granted I don’t know him or any politicians, but it all looks like reality TV to me at this point–even President Obama. And finally, when I saw people having a problem with a black Annie, I felt myself wanting to take it personally.  Besides the fact that I am a sensitive person and almost cried both times when I watched the trailer, I could easily project my curly haired daughter into that character and the thought of people tripping off of that bugged me.  Like the author said in the article, “Annie is Black, Get Over It”.

All this being said, I am confessing that my particular black filter was kicking in in every one of those articles. Of course there are purely human elements that I would bristle at such as slavery in general, Carson’s seeming disregard for people who do not identify as heterosexual, or people being overly critical of an obviously talented child actor simply based on her race regardless of what that race might be. Still I have more to examine about how my filter influences my work in the realm of Consciousness and how it effects my ability to give and receive freely.  It is really interesting because, while I believe that experience informs a considerable portion of how we engage the world, I do also believe that we are capable of transcending our experience thus enabling us to live in what St. Paul called the “newness of life”.  In the newness of life as I aspire to live it, everything about life is new and fresh and pure moment by moment, even our very selves and our relationships to others and the whole wide world. I’m not going to get into it right now, but what it basically means to me is that once we identify ourselves as children of God and citizens of eternity, then we live in a realm where as he puts it, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” and ” In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!”  As a person I understand as having examined his own life, I can see Paul adding a whole lot of other categories that we hold onto into that list–married, single, heterosexual, GLBTQ, rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, red and yellow, black and white.  I know that I am a citizen of eternity where there is no division among us and for the most part I live out of that space with everyone I encounter, but I’m still working on that tension between that reality and how I encounter events in time that seem to thrive in anti-consciousness and denial.

Letting go of everything

therooflesschurch:

No one can tell me that God is not listening. This very morning–not even an hour ago–I was praying to God about “letting go”. For many years my favorite book in the Bible has been Ecclesiastes. It reminds us of the very reality that this post brings up. Often in my life I was perceived as not caring because I did not react to life the way those around me did, when the reality was that I simply learned to let go. Like the author of this post says, we are going to have to eventually any way. Letting go does not mean we don’t care. It simply frees us up to do what we can do.

Originally posted on A Spiritual Journey:

Letting go doesnt mean we dont care. Letting go..

I have written about letting go several times before, but it’s such an important issue in my life that I am going to return to it. I wonder if the spiritual journey is ALL about letting go, in fact. It may be different for everyone in accordance with their specific life lessons, but for my life at least, letting go is a recurring and necessary theme. 

I grew up in an emotionally damaging environment, which led me to finding my own survival skills through my imagination, writing stories, reading books and watching TV characters. As I grew, I had to let go of the childhood I wished I’d had, the parents I longed for, and the need for acceptance and love from others. This is still very much an ongoing process, as grief tends to be.

In adulthood, I have had to learn to let go of wanting a healthy…

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Switched At Birth

therooflesschurch:

Have you ever felt like you were switched at birth? That’s because more than likely you were. But it is never too late to switch back to the being of infinite potential that you are or to recreate yourself if you are uncomfortable with who you have become or been led to believe you have to be.

Originally posted on The Roofless Church's Blog:

For most of us, our name was the first lie we were ever told.  Many of our parents or guardians, good intentioned as they might have been, looked at us with their heads full of ideas of who we were and who we were to become and said, “Let’s name him or her _____.” And from that moment on that’s how we were identified. At first, we could not distinguish the sounds that we would come to know as our name from any other sounds.  But over time, as those particular sounds became associated with the meeting of our needs or helping to ensure our survival, we came to accept those sounds as part of us.  And in fact for many us, we have actually become our names.  After all, when asked who we are, more often than not those very sounds assigned to us at birth are what we…

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Prophet of the Wishy Washy Gospel

This weekend my wife and I will be facilitating another session of Coming Out of the Dark in Quincy, MA.  Shortly after the last time I did it and posted the above blog in an online group, I was labeled by a reader as a Prophet of the Wishy Washy Gospel.  His comments gave me a lot to think about.  Was he right?  Am I wishy washy?  Is my refusal to condemn what I do not fully understand and my openness to have my heart opened–broken if need be–to know more of God’s loving grace make me wishy washy?  This was something I needed to reflect on and repent upon if necessary.  And so I confronted it and made peace with my journey.  Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by a former classmate to see if I could stand in for a cancellation at his church on World Communion Day.  I prayed about it and said, “yes”.  The above sermon is what emerged.  I hope that your encounter with it stirs you to new thoughts even if those thoughts put you in disagreement with what I expressed, because at the end of the Day, I believe that God is so loving that, even if we are never sitting beside each other, there is still room for each of us at the table of grace.

The Dots Are Not Connected

therooflesschurch:

I was thinking about this again today. If the dots are not really connected then we are living in an environment of unimaginable freedom and creative potential. I can see how that can freak us out and probably accounts for why so many of us keep creating the same things over and over again even when it doesn’t serve us or the world at large. Just saying. I try to cultivate this as a part of my Christian practice, but really, if we are One then this is not limited to a particular Spiritual discipline. Let’s take responsibility for what we are creating.

Originally posted on The Roofless Church's Blog:

What if there are no dots? What if there are no connections? What if All really is One and One really is All? What if there is only eternal being in Oneness and Jesus to the Chrizzity Chrizist knows what’s up and is calling us into that reality.

John 17:20-23 (New King James Version)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the…

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5 Ways To Interpret Jealousy Inducing Behavior

therooflesschurch:

They call jealousy the green eyed monster. But maybe just like the Incredible Hulk, perhaps jealousy is just misunderstood.

Originally posted on The Roofless Church's Blog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WObUCaRbsbk&feature=youtube_gdata_player
As a youth, I remember people saying in church that God was a jealous God while at the same time saying that God was the only God.  That was confusing to me, because I did not know who God could possibly be jealous of.  To tell the truth, it made God sound like a schizophrenic.  No offense to schizophrenic friends.  I’m just saying that how can someone who is unique ever be jealous–let alone an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present someone.  Trying to reconcile that was a painful mental exercise.  I did get some comfort out of the idea that maybe the way they used the word  jealous in ye olde Bible writing times was different then how we used it now.  I saw on an online Bible site that  positive jealousy  means – a passionate commitment to something which rightly belongs to one. So for God to be jealous…

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You Can’t Coast Through Life

When I wrote the previous post, We Are Singing One Song Together, I had intended to write about what I learned from receiving a speeding ticket.  I guess part of what I learned is that “there are no mistakes, only opportunities to improve.”  The other thing I learned is that you can’t coast through life–literally.  You see, right before the flashing red and blue lights turned on and I received my ticket, I noticed my speedometer.  I had just come off the exit and was heading downhill into Roanoke.  When I looked down I saw that I was almost going 60 mph.  I didn’t have my foot on the gas and was just coasting downhill. My thought was, “I guess this is the natural speed of gravity. This should be the speed limit for this area.  I guess I’ll just coast until I see the speed limit sign.”  Seconds later, I saw that the speed limit was 45 mph.  Immediately I started to slow down, but not before the police officer who was parked under the sign clocked me and proceeded to come after me.  Long story short is that I got a ticket. 

As a Virginian, I know that we are the state of speed traps, so I was not surprised that there was a police officer posted by the first speed limit sign at the bottom of a downward slope.  In fact the first ticket I ever received at age 17 was in the same situation.  So all I could do was accept the ticket and try to learn from it.  So what did I learn? Well like I said, “we can’t coast through life.”  That’s what I was doing in that moment–coasting. Sometimes we have to slow down.  Sometimes we have to speed up. Because that is what life with others seems to require. Not all of us move at the same pace.  Even though I really didn’t know the speed limit, from the point of view of the officer, it was cut and dry. I was going faster than the sign said I was supposed to.  When the signs say slow down  we are expected to slow down. And who likes driving behind someone going slow in  fast lane. Life in relationships is a life of continual adjustment and readjustment. We all live with this expectation whether consciously or not.  And when we don’t adjust when it is expected there is an “offness” that we feel.  Sometimes we are the ones that create the “offness” and sometimes its those with whom we relate.  But, because we are all part of one system–One Song– it doesn’t matter who “started it”.  It’s up to everyone to readjust when things are off.  And I think the officer felt off about giving me the ticket.

When he wrote up my ticket, he actually compassionately took off 5 miles to lower the price of the ticket.  That was nice of him, but I also got the sense that he didn’t want to give me the ticket at all.  And that gave me something to consider as well.  As he was in his car looking up my license, I prayed for him and us and the whole situation. I didn’t pray that I didn’t get the ticket (even though maybe I should have).  I prayed that we both receive everything this encounter came to teach us. When he saw our family, I could tell that he felt awkward.  Here I was in a rental car six miles from my destination after driving four hours from the Charlotte airport–all of which he I told him when he asked the customary questions. My little daughter is crying in the backseat and asking, “Are you taking my daddy?”  Maybe I was projecting onto him, but I felt like he wanted to just tell me to slow down and let me go.  But he seemed trapped by what he was “supposed to do”.  So as a gesture he took off a few miles.  That’s how I took it.  And then it hit me that him giving me that ticket was a kind of coasting as well.  When he stopped me he was actually being carried by a metaphor of gravity–for the law of man is an attempt to mimic the law of nature.  He was pulled by the law to stop me.  It was almost natural for him to do.  But the fact that he wrote the ticket as 5 miles less when that is contrary to the “law” suggests to me that in my case he knew that I was not intentionally breaking the law and I think in his own way, he was trying to “put on his breaks” to slow down the momentum of writing that ticket.  But like me, he was caught in the pull and wasn’t able to break in time.  Does that make sense?

As you can see, I am still processing this experience.  This might sound backwards, but I actually feel like I could have helped the officer not give me the ticket by either asking him or by apologizing for going too fast.  The fact that I didn’t know was not going to help him use his power to choose. I think he wrote it out of compulsion even when he didn’t want to. In my opinion, I think he needed something to empower him to make the decision he wanted to make and in some ways I left him hanging by deferring. 

Ultimately I don’t think I lost anything by receiving the ticket.  If I just take the lessons of “slowing down” and “no coasting through life” to heart, I have gained a fortune for the $120 investment to Roanoke.  In the One Song of the Universe, the officer and I both played our parts.  That’s how it is.  The reverberations of our encounter will continue to go out for eternity.  If I choose to, I can revisit it and continue to learn from it until I align with everything it came to teach me.  That’s how it is with every experience we have in life.  They all come to make us better.  Nothing takes away from us.  Everything adds.  But it is up to us what we receive.