Creating the New Earth Together

Still Meadow Attunement Workshop – October 28-29, 2016

My Chorale PicOn Saturday evening we created what I have called a “Sacred Sound field” using four true-tone quartz crystal bowls placed outside the circles of some 40 attunement practitioners at the position of the Four Quarters. The bowls were a 14” B bowl, a 10” D# bowl, an 8” F# bowl, and an 8” B bowl. This combination of bowls created a sound field in the musical key of B Major, what I have designated as Crown Chakra and Pineal gland harmonics. This combination of bowls and tones included two B bowls an octave apart and the Major Third and Perfect Fifth notes of the B Major chord.

To move energy, I used two more bowls: a 10” D bowl to create a minor mode to bring energy up for resolution in a major chord, and an 8” E bowl to create an augmented chord for bringing energy down for resolution.

Technique used: silence the D# bowl and play the D bowl. Then silence the D bowl and return to the D# bowl for resolution of the minor mode to the major mode. Follow the same procedure with the E bowl.

While the bowls were being played, those sitting in the two circles explored sharing attunement within the Sacred Sound field. The ladies formed the inner circle and the men sat in the outer circle. Three chairs were placed in the center of the circles, turned to the left to create yet another circle in the core center of the “vesica” portal created by the sounds converging and crossing one another. In these chairs couples from the outer circles took turns sharing attunement for a few minutes, working with the first two endocrine glands.

While the bowls were being played, I had the men in the outer circle tone an OM in tune with the large B bowl while the ladies toned the Perfect Fifth harmonic in tune with the 8” F# bowl. A few of the ladies who were musically trained toned the third harmonic, moving up and down with me as I changed to a minor and augmented mode. At one point I asked the toning to stop while the bowls only were played, which many preferred.

Lloyd Meeker, the originator of the workshop, noted in the comment period that the playing  of the bowls alone had a more potent and clear impact than when accompanied by the toning. Other comments indicated that the experience inside the sacred sound field was delightful and uplifting. Paul Price, a master attunement practitioner and mentor, shared with me later on how he felt the sound field impacted the bio-molecular field as well as the quality of the energetic field.

I personally came away feeling fulfilled and satisfied with the exploration. From the comments, I felt re-affirmed in my intuitive sensing that Sacred Sound fields may facilitate our attunement work by shifting the cells of the physical body to a higher frequency of vibration while providing a harmonious sound wave for spirit and intention to move upon. The ultimate goal in this work is to help us in our transformational process and journey to lift our physical forms to a higher frequency, above the level of disease, so that they may become impervious to the lower frequencies and more available to the process of transmutation and ascension. I was satisfied and happy to hear that at least one person in her response “got me” on this core intent and purpose, which touched me deeply and nurtured my resolve to continue my exploration in the field of Attunement with Sacred Sound. I am equally thankful for the significant support and encouragement I receive from a few close friends and colleagues.

If you are interested in exploring this work with me, or simply learning more about it, you can obtain a copy of my recently released book, Attunement with Sacred Sound, from me personally (autographed in you wish; just send me an email), or from my publisher at HealthLightBooks.com. My book is also available from Amazon.

I am thankful for your presence in my life and especially for your readership. I love comments, so please do share any thoughts you may have.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving,

Anthony Palombo

Email: tpal70@gmail.com

 

Creating Unified Sacred Sound Fields (excerpted from my book Attunement With Sacred Sound)

My Chorale PicThis is a powerful healing technique whereby two or three quartz crystal bowls are used to create a unified sound field with the recipient placed in the middle of the setting. This can be done with vocal toning as well where two or three individuals or small groups tone the designated pitches. A Vesica Piscis is created where the sound waves meet and overlap one another. The one sitting or lying down in the Sacred Sound Vesica may experience profound frequency shifts that may open a portal through which something entirely new may be born in consciousness, such as new revelations, new thoughts and creative ideas, even new patterns of healing and transformation in one’s physical and energetic bodies. This is the magician’s realm of expertise. Sound healing in its finest advanced application.

When a single tone is sounded, it sends out a spherical waveform. This waveform creates a “sound field.”

When two harmonious tones are sounded simultaneously, their sound fields overlap creating thereby a “third field.” This opens a vibrational window referred to as a “Vesica Piscis,” a unified sound field. I am calling this a “Sacred Sound Field.”

Vesica_piscis_circles.svg

The Vesica Piscis is a vibrational portal formed by two overlapping fields of energy. It derives its name from its fishlike shape.  It has been called the “Womb of the Great Mother,” as it serves as a vibrational birth canal for a “third” waveform to come forth that may give rise to new thought and inspiration, leading to new and innovative creative expression.  This phenomenon demonstrates George Gurdjieff’s “Law of Three,” which I expand upon in my book Attunement with Sacred Sound.

We can create various unified harmonic sound fields using quartz crystal bowls. (I was not able to reproduce the color images from my book.)
  1. A “Perfect Fifth” sound field for healing can be created using two bowls that are tuned a Perfect Fifth apart in their tone. For example an A and an E bowl, or an F and a C bowl, etc. The colors in these diagrams are not true to the frequencies, but this gives one an idea of how two frequencies overlapping create a unified field with a different tonal quality.
  2. A more complex sound field is created by using three bowls whose pitches form a harmonious triad. For example F, A and C bowls. This combination of harmonic sounds is ideal for balancing the endocrine and chakra energy fields. As laid out in the chart on page 71, each pitch is assigned to a specific aspect of the sacred energy site with which one is working. Again, these colors are not true to the frequencies. One can get a sense, however, of how different tonal qualities are created by the overlapping sound fields.
Endocrine and Chakra Pitches
  1. Crown Chakra and Pineal Gland: B, D#, F  (The pound sign # indicates the note is sharp, half a step up)
  2. Brow and Pituitary Gland: A, C sharp, E
  3. Throat and Thyroid Gland: G, B, D.
  4. Heart and Thymus Gland: F, A, C.
  5. Solar and Pancreas Gland: E, G sharp, B.
  6. Root Chakra and Adrenal Glands: D, F sharp, A.
  7. Sacral Plexus and Gonadal Glands: C, E, G.
Moving energy with sound

We can move energy by changing the pitch of the third harmonic up and down. For example, while working with the thymus and heart centers, using the F, A and C bowls, by changing the middle note A to an A flat or G sharp, we can dip down and connect with stuck dissonant energies at deeper levels in the heart where perhaps troubled feelings are being harbored. Then, by returning to the A bowl, we can resolve the dissonant energy back to a harmonious tone and thereby reclaim the energy being used to maintain troubled feelings, incorporating it back into the whole.

To bring sacred energy down from higher frequency levels, change the A to an A sharp then back down to an A. This technique can introduce fresh energy into the mix to energize the field and may even help shift the frequency of the body itself to a higher level.  These techniques can be used with all combinations of harmonic triads.

In my next post I will talk about the “Law of Three” and the Law of the Octave. So, stay tuned.

Dr. Anthony Palombo, D.C.

Note: one can order my book Attunement With Sacred Sound from Health Light Books or from Amazon.

 

A time for healing and renewal

(This event has been cancelled to be rescheduled on a future date.)

My Chorale PicIf you’ve never experienced an Attunement with Sacred Sound, then you are in for an awesome experience when you join us at our Blessed by Sound Rretreat in August.(See details below.)

Sound? Well, not just any sound — but coherent and pure sounds that have a unique and magical way of opening energy gateways in the body, allowing deep and immediate access to healing currents from within. Sound can serve as a carrier wave for spirit and intention, and “Sacred Sound” serves the sacred purpose of healing and transforming the “body temple”

Two or more sound waves can harmonize to produce a powerful and irresistible force, melting frigid and stuck energy patterns and opening the heart to the sweet healing balm of love. Harmonic sound can carry one to heights of ecstasy and, as easily, to the place of peace and tranquility in one’s “heart of hearts”. Through resonance, it connects us with the order and harmony of the Universe.

Whether produced by the voice or by musical instruments, by toning sacred vowel sounds or group chanting, by quartz crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, or by a Ukrainian a cappella choir singing beautiful uplifting sacred music – all of which you will experience during our retreat – harmonious sounds can enhance and refine one’s connection with Spirit, as it ascends in the transmuting fire of Love.

My New Book

I explore this sacred healing art in depth in my new book, Attunement with Sacred Sound,currently being published and released through Amazon. I would encourage you to obtain a copy and start reading it well ahead of the Blessed by Sound retreat. Also, I will have books on hand for purchase, along with CD’s that I use in my Attunement service. I look forward to our time of renewal together, sharing insights into this important and powerful field of the sacred healing arts. I hope to see you at Oakwood.

Tony Palombo

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Blessed by Sound Event Details: We will begin with 6:00 pm dinner on Thursday, August 18 and conclude with lunch on Sunday, August 21.For travel information, see: oakwoodretreatcenter.org

Cost for event, including room and board, is $475 per person ~ $150 with registration, $325 on arrival. Check to Heartland Spirit Network or cash.

To register, please fill out the registration form, to be found when you Click Here

Event Location: Oakwood Retreat Center, 3801 S County Road 575 E, Selma, IN 47383.

For further information. Phone (765) 747-7027 or e-mail oakwoodretreatcenter@gmail.com

My Chorale PicI learned something today that turned on a light in my mind. Someone posted a video clip on Facebook demonstrating how fire can be extinguished with sound – a very low frequency bass sound. Here’s the demo:

Can you see how and why this works? Think about it for a moment. Fire results when atoms and molecules vibrate at a super high frequency, so high that they emit, or transmit, light so intense that it sets matter on fire. Now, the fuel in the skillet is already a high-frequency fuel, like gasoline or lighter fluid.  Add a little frequency boost with fire and the fuel immediately ignites, consuming the oxygen around it.

So how does the low frequency bass sound put out the fire? One possibility is by lowering the vibration of the fuel to such a low level that the atoms and molecules don’t burn.  In other words, fire results when molecules vibrate at a super high frequency. It would seem logical that if you lower the frequency at which they vibrate, they would stop burning. Another possibility is that the bass sound pushes the air with such a force that it blows the fire out. I am inclined to go with the first possibility.

I’ve been working with energy in my attunement with sound healthcare service for some forty years, researching the use of sound in healing for a book that is presently being released by Amazon: Attunement with Sacred Sound.  Being an energy and sound healer, I immediately saw how this phenomenon of sound extinguishing fire may work – (the first possibility above). You see, high frequencies increase the vibration of molecules whereas low frequencies decrease their vibration. This is why most of my clients love the lower frequencies of my fourteen and sixteen inch quartz crystal bowls. Their sound waves are calming. They put out the fire of anxiety, fear and worry, all high-frequency emotional and mental states.  They also calm down inflammation in the body that’s causing pain. I also use the high frequency sounds for fine-tuning the endocrine and chakra energy centers. After I’ve finished fine-tuning these energy centers, I finish with my fourteen-inch C quartz crystal bowl, which I use to attune the skeletal system along with the organs of the body. The low sound frequency is very grounding.

This brings up another way of looking at this sound healing technique, which is to see high frequencies as facilitating ascension to higher levels of being and low frequencies as facilitating a descent of spirit into fuller incarnation in the physical body.  In other words, low frequencies encourage and facilitate grounding, an essential aspect of sound healing, as sound has a tendency to lift one out of the physical and into a more spiritual state of being. Sound healing tends to be un-grounding — a word of caution to my fellow sound healers.

I like a comment a friend and colleague made about attunement on my FB post. He writes: “Attunement modulates and influences vibrational patterns , allowing a pattern that is out of control to return to it’s natural rate [of vibration].”  Sound can serve as a carrier wave for the attunement or healing current. This is what my book is all about. The following is the announcement of the imminent release of my book:

ANNOUNCING the RELEASE ofmy NEW BOOK

Attunement with Sacred Sound provides a pivotal revelation about the phenomenal connection you and I have to the powerfully grand energies of all creation. The seeming platitude that states, “We are all one,” or “We are one with everything,” is quite true, in fact! Keep reading and you will discover more about just how profoundly this is the case.                   From the Foreword by PenDell Pittman

Sound is a tool for creation.  Not just any sound, but sound that carries a tone and a wave form that is coherent and pure. We call this “music.”  Then there’s the “Musica Universales, or Music of the Spheres” an ancient concept attributed to Pythagoras who reportedly could hear the musical harmonies of the planets. Are these the sound waves that carry the Word that creates all things sent forth by the Creator into the void of space? Pythagoras based our musical theory on this mathematically precise Musica.

Musical sound is being used extensively and increasingly in the healing arts. It can be used effectively with attunement and all forms of energy work. My use of sound in attunement is not so much to heal our physical ills as it is to facilitate the generation and clarification of pneumaplasm, the rarified spiritual substance that connects spirit with form. It is through this substance that spirit has a means of connecting with and managing the world of physical form. This is the medium for the propagation of the Tone that creates all living things and through which Love comes forth out of heaven to touch the earth of our flesh – or, perhaps more accurately, how flesh rises to touch heaven, spiritualized by the radiant current of Love moving in and through it. When flesh is touched by Love it is uplifted, transformed, made whole and holy. What I am suggesting here is that music, harmonic sound, is a tool that can be used as a carrier wave for spirit in the healing and transformational processes.

I emphasize the word resonance in this work to remind us that we are not manipulating physical substance – or mental and spiritual substance for that matter – with sound. We are simply sounding a tone that may engender and give rise to a resonantresponse from within the person’s heart of hearts. It is the vibration of the resonant response within the individual – self or other – that does the ‘work’ in harmonizing and uplifting the vibrations of life in the tissue cells of the body.

My interest in the art of Sacred Sound relates to how it may enhance our attunement energy work as a tool that is vibrational in nature. Beyond the human voice, there are musical and sound-producing instruments that lend themselves to the art of Sacred Sound – such as singing bowls, chimes, tuning forks, drums, and a few others I explore in the book.

My book will be available at www.Amazon.com. Book Price: $35.99 (includes postage within the USA)

Order my book and explore a whole new dimension of sound healing. Purchase a quartz crystal bowl (an 8″ F or a 14″ C bowl) and play it for a few minutes every day. Better still, invest in two bowls, the 8″ F and the 14″ C bowls: F is for the heart Chakra and C is for the bones and whole body.  Play them together and enjoy the harmony they produce. This is a very smart investment in your whole health.

Until my next post, here’s to your good health.

Anthony Palombo, DC

Check out my HealthLight Newsletter on line at LiftingTones.com for a variety of articles on health and wellness.

 

 

 

 

My Chorale PicIn chapter seven of her powerful book MARY MAGDALENE – Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, “Reclaiming the Path of Romantic Love,” Episcopal minister Cynthia Bourgeault paints a much different picture of the spiritual path Jesus walked than the one painted by Christian orthodox interpretations of the four gospels. Continuing from where we left off in the previous post, Cynthia speaks to the question “Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers.” I will let you read directly from the final two pages of this chapter.

Having described Jesus’s spiritual path as being anything but celibate, an “enstatic” path of conserving pranic energy, Cynthia makes her case against traditional Christian concepts and beliefs to the contrary.

By contrast, the path that Jesus himself seems to teach and model in his life, and particularly in his death, is not a storing up but a complete pouring out. His pranic energy is quickly depleted; on the cross, as all four gospel account affirm, he does not hold out even until sunset, but quickly “gives up the ghost.” Shattered and totally spent, he simply disappears into his death. The core icon of the Christian faith, the watershed moment from which it all emerges, is not enstatic but ecstatic — love completely poured out, expended, squandered. In contrast to clarity, it is the arche­typal image of purity, the complete self-giving of the heart.

THE PATH JESUS WALKED

And right here, I believe, we come to the fundamental problem with these celibate models of transformation. It’s not merely their monochromatic viewpoint or the implicit devaluing of a whole other stream of Christian spiritual wisdom whose roots are in passionate human love. Rather, it is the fact that at key points they seem to be slightly out of kilter with the path of transformation that Jesus himself walked and taught. One might say that this model points us toward John the Baptist rather than Jesus: to­ward those ancient and time-honored practices of renunciation, asceticism, and self-concentration through abstinence, whereas if we really look closely, we see that Jesus himself seemed to be con­stantly pushing the envelope in the opposite direction — toward radical self-abandonment, reckless self-outpouring, and the trans­mutation of passion in complete self-giving.

But it is right there, at the center of that cognitive dissonance, that a window of opportunity opens up. Rather than trying to smooth it over and pretend it does not exist, as the church has done for nearly two thousand years, we need to tune in and listen to it very carefully, for it gives us exactly the tool we need to proceed.

Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers? To date, nearly everyone seems to be trying to solve that riddle from the outside, like good investigative journalists. It’s all about finding new evi­dence: secret documents and societies, new gnostic gospels, purported lost tombs, hidden mathematical messages embedded in the lines of existent texts — some new piece of data that would settle the issue one way or another. Equally, those who are ap­palled by the very notion of a romantically involved Jesus build their case by recourse to doctrines and templates that did not exist until three or four centuries after he had left the planet. It’s all external logic.

But there is another possibility, which has been sitting there right under our noses all along yet so far seems to have been consistently overlooked. That is to evaluate the evidence from the inside, on the basis of the path itself. For Jesus was, after all, a teacher, and the teaching itself is there to be consulted. Once one has compensated for the negative set and drift of the celibate current, it is merely a matter of asking a single question: In the light of what Jesus actually seems to have been teaching, is there anything in the teachings themselves that would have precluded such a love relationship?

If Jesus were indeed walking the path of classic monastic brahmacharya, then the answer is obviously yes; celibacy is an essential requirement of this path, and to diverge from this requirement would violate his integrity and sabotage his spiritual power.

But what if in fact he was walking a different path? A path difficult to identify because it was so close to its own headwaters that it was missed by nearly everyone both then and now? What if he was not an ascetic at all, but was in fact following a whole new trajectory, previously unknown in the West and with its own ways of understanding integrity and purity? Along this other trajec­tory, it might indeed be conceivable for him to be in a human love relationship, although that love would probably not look like what most of us are familiar with.

Let’s see what the teachings themselves have to say.

Thus ends chapter seven with a segue to chapter eight, and to the rest of Cynthia’s provocative treatise, for that matter. The title of chapter eight is “The Great Identity Theft.” Who was Jesus and how was his presentation of himself perceived by the world he came to save from itself?  There are two brief paragraphs midway through this chapter that speak to these questions.

In the Aramaic language of Jesus’s immediate followers, one of the earliest titles given to him was Ihidaya, “the Single One,” or the “Unified One.” In context, it speaks unmistakably of this state of inner oneness; it designates the anthropos, the fully realized human being: the enlightened master of Eastern tradition, or the monad or “undivided one” of hermeticism.

The “great identity theft” to which the title of this chapter refers is that in remarkably short order this term, which was so clearly intended to designate Jesus’s attained state of inner oneness, should come to be interpreted as “singleness” in the sense of being unmarried, “the celibate one.”

Jesus was not necessarily monastic nor ascetic, which leaves him available to a romantic relationship. Actually, according to Islamic scholar Ibrahim Gamard, monasticism was not mandated by the Koran. In a letter to the author in 1998, Gamard shared the insight that “in the Islamic tradition monasticism was disapproved of in the Qur’anic verse which states that the monasticism of the followers of Jesus was invented by them and was not something commanded by God.” As I said, this leaves Jesus with the option at least of having a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene as his wife and partner in a shared service to Humanity: personal transformation via a path of romantic love.

I will leave it there for now and continue with “The Path that Jesus Walked” in my next post . . . . or not. This series seems to be complete, so I may let this be the concluding post to the series on Human Relations. We’ll see what the Current of Inspiration brings us for exploration. Thanks for sharing this consideration with me. As always, your comments are welcome.  Until my next post,

Be love. Be Loved

Anthony

Read my Health Light Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com for helpful information about health and wellness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Without the quicksilver of eros nothing transforms . . .”

My Chorale PicIn the previous post I presented and considered the first two of four propositions, or myths, that are all “firmly rooted in the soil of celibate spirituality–that together have subtly sabotaged our ability to see romantic love as an authentic path of spiritual transformation” presented by Cynthia Bourgeault in her boldly provocative book The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE — Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity.  In this post I will present and consider the third and fourth myths and share some of Cynthia’s thought provoking views and commentary from her book — which I highly recommend to my readers.

Myth Number Three: Human love is inherently different from divine love

This is what has been handed down through Christian church teachings. Actually, it was Plato who classified love by types: agape and eros — although he didn’t attribute agape exclusively to divine love nor eros exclusively to human love. After all, the Greeks had their riotous gods who were capable of both human and divine passions. Rather, agape love to Plato was impartial, disinterested love and eros desiring love, which both the gods and humans were capable of experiencing. Plato’s delineation, non-the-less, set the foundation for such discussions for two-and-a-half millennia since, writes Cynthia Bourgeault.

It was a Swedish Protestant theologian in the 1930’s by the name of Anders Nygren who relegated eros to human desiring. His “monumental” three-volume work Agape and Eros, in which he writes “eros is man’s way to God; agape is God’s way to man,” had a powerful and pervasive influence on contemporary Christian spirituality. Cynthia writes:

According to Nygren, eros is by its very nature filled with desire and neediness, hence impure; by contrast, God’s way of loving is free, clear and impartial, motivated only by the goodness of the giver. With one deft stroke of the theological scalpel, Nygen essentially divided the core energy of love into two separate species and assigned to erotic love (the only love humans are by definition capable of) a permanent second-class status that essentially negates its value as a spiritual path. It is hard to escape the implication that if one is following a path of passionate commitment to a beloved, one is on an inferior spiritual track, or no track at all. This despite love’s unassailable record as the most potent force at our disposal to unify the heart and transform the soul.

Fortunately, the damaging pronouncements of Nygren has impacted only the modern era. Earlier generations of Christian teachers considered eros a “wellspring” of transforming energy that one simply had to learn to work with in one’s spiritual path. Cynthia quotes John Climacus’ sixth-century writings to exemplify this historical fact:

“I have seen impure souls who threw themselves headlong into physical eros to a frenzied degree. It was their very experience of that physical eros that led them to interior conversion. They concentrated their eros on the Lord. Rising above fear, they tried to love God with insatiable desire. That is why when Christ spoke to the woman who had been a sinner he did not say that she had been afraid but that she had loved much, and had easily been able to surmount love by love.”

The goal of “surmounting love by love” for a thousand years formed the heart of the Christian mystical program of transformation, culminating in the twelfth century in the magnificent “monastic love mysticism” of St Bernard of Clairvax and those following in his wake (and notice that whenever eros is mentioned in a text, the figure of Mary Magdalene hovers right in the background). To the extent that it still conceives of God as an object that one can “concentrate one’s eros” on, it ultimately falls victim of that same dualistic fallacy we have already seen in the first myth. But it is far, far better than what has been served up today in the name of religious and psychological health; a gutless, passionless numb “agape clone” that goes nowhere at all. Without the quicksilver of eros nothing transforms: a secret which I believe Jesus himself knew and worked with in his teachings in a profound way, only at a unitive rather than a dualistic level.

Now, of course, if you were fortunate enough to escape such indoctrination in your upbringing, then none of this serves you very much, excerpt perhaps as an educational piece at an intellectual level. I am intrigued by perspectives on historical events that shed light on the path I have traveled over the last seventy plus years. You see, I was born into a Catholic family, groomed for a priestly vocation — which was more my father’s desire for me than my own — and educated in the hallowed halls of Roman Catholic seminary. Only the halls of Catholic seminary were not so hallowed as they were hollow and empty of any transforming energy. Eros was a path to a life of mortal sin, the punishment for which was eternal damnation and separation from God. So, it thrills me to have someone like Cynthia Bourgeault articulate so eloquently some of the undercurrents that were churning beneath the turbulent and confusing terrain upon which I spent the formative and developing years of my life, as well as their origins in history.

Don’t worry for me, however, for the Church’s brain-washing, for some strange reason, seemed like water poured over a duck’s back. It didn’t penetrate the core of me. My guardian angel was apparently protecting me. However, I did not escape the damage to my human psyche and the spoiling of my physical enjoyment of a fully enfleshed life of healthy sexuality as a young man. That came later after awakening to the truth of love and of life.

But enough about me. Let’s look at the fourth myth, the one that lured me into the seminary and, ironically, disillusioned me at the age of 21 and sent me in search for the truth of love in human relations, both with the divine and with one another, a search that would last only seven years. Let me share some of her thoughts and perspectives right from her powerful book.

Myth Number Four: Celibacy is a state of greater purity.

The mistake here–and it is one commonly made in spiritual teaching — is to confuse purity with clarity. Clarity has to do with attuning the mind. Purity is about awakening the heart. The two can overlap each other, but they are not synonymous.

I enjoy her distinction between purity and clarity. She goes on to give a little history of the practice of celibacy.

In Hinduism, where the practice of celibacy as an applied spiritual technology (known as brahmacharya)  arose more than three thousand years ago, the objective has to do with conserving and concentrating prana, the vital energy or life force, so that it can be utilized for spiritual transformation. The modern Hindu master Swami Chidananda has restated the traditional wisdom by explaining it in this way: “Prana is the precious reserve of the seeker. Any sense activity or sense experience consumes a lot of prana [the sex act most of all, he claims] . . . The highest of all goals in life, spiritual attainment, requires the maximum pranic energy on all levels.”

For Swami Chidananda, the practice of celibacy harnesses pranic energy much like a dam harnesses the force of water for the purpose of turning huge turbines, and like a lens concentrates the rays of the sun to burn whatever they are focused on. Cynthia continues:

In the most ancient and powerful understanding of the practice, celibacy belongs among practices that can be classified as enstatic — those that have to do with conserving, collecting, concentrating. The positive side of this kind of practice is a significantly enhanced clarity — a relative freedom from the energy-consuming turmoil of the physical lusts and emotional passions and thus a greater capacity to stay present to the higher frequencies of spiritual energy.

For exactly this reason — that celibacy is a “storing up” process — its shadow side is avarice. One must be alert to a subtle tendency to withhold or “preserve”oneself, to hold oneself back from full engagement in the human sphere in order to have access to those higher realms of truth and light. Under all the aura of “selfless giving” with which the practice of celibacy generally cloaks itself, there can be a subtle spiritual acquisitiveness at work, betrayed in the very phrase “spiritual attainment.” Which “I,” one wonders, is this “I” who attains?

Cynthia gives her reader pause to consider what’s really at work in spiritual attainment. She then turns toward the life and death of Jesus in a most remarkable portrayal of him as being anything but enstatic in his public ministry.

By contrast, the path that Jesus himself seems to teach and model in his life, and particularly in his death, is not a storing up but a complete pouring out. His pranic energy is quickly depleted; on the cross, as all four gospel accounts affirm, he does not hold out even until sunset, but quickly “gives up the ghost.” Shattered and totally spent, he simply disappears into his death. The core icon of the Christian faith, the watershed moment from which it all emerges, is not enstatic but ecstatic — love completely poured out, expended squandered. In contrast to clarity, it is the archetypal image of purity, the complete self-giving of the heart.

Such is the character of unconditional love: “. . .the complete self-giving of the heart.” This reminds me of Jesus’s words to his disciples during his sermon on the vine and the branches: “Greater love hast no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.”  He was giving them all that he had to give, and for a truly selfless reason: “. . . that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:13)

The joy of giving fully of oneself is like no other joy.  It’s a joy that utterly sets one free. This, I believe, is what’s really behind the mad rush to buy presents for loved ones and friends at Christmas time every year. We do get much joy out of giving.  I’ve actually read of a tribal community where there is no word in their language for “Thank you.” Such is their awareness that the pleasure and joy of giving are the giver’s as much as, if not more than, the receiver’s. I love Cynthia’s portrayal of this great Teacher as one who spent himself fully during his three-and-a-half years of public ministry. It is the Jesus that I can easily hold as a hero and model of true manhood.

In my next post I will share Cynthia Bourgeault’s view of and commentary on “The Path Jesus Walked.” So, stay tuned for more inspiring posts on my Healing Tones blog.

Wishing for you a Happy New Year and a healthy and happy 2016!

Anthony

Read my HealthLight Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com.

 

 

My Chorale PicFar from keeping one earthbound, romantic love, not celibacy, was exemplified and touted by Jesus as the highest path to spiritual enlightenment and union with the divine. From the very Genesis we were created male and female so that through our union as one flesh we could bring forth life. That was the original template.  We’ve obviously altered and thwarted the original template for the creation of human beings and produced a species of human doings who put achieving ahead of being and compete with one another in a “battle of the sexes.”

I’m in my second reading of THE MEANING OF MARY MAGDALENE – The Woman at the Heart of Christianity, a most provocative book written by episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault, in which she weaves the scenario of a romantic human relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. That alone should give you a clue about its provocative subject matter. To write this series of posts I dove right into the book to share poignant excerpts from chapter seven: “Reclaiming the Path of Romantic Love.”

In my last post I left my blog followers and readers with four options offered by the author to consider and choose from. They are:

1. That Mary Magdalene was Jesus’s mistress;

2. That theirs was a politically arranged marriage, strictly for dynastic purposes;

3. That they were sexual consorts in some Gnostic Mystery religion, ritually reenacting the sacred hieros gamos, or union of the opposites;

4. That the whole story is purely archetypal, a great Sophianic myth depicting the integration of the masculine and feminine within the human soul.”

I chose the third option. Here’s what Cynthia offers:

Sex, power, cult, or myth: not a great set of choices.  I have yet to see considered what in a sexually healthy culture would surely seem to be the obvious possibility: that they were faithful beloveds, whose lives were joined together in a fully enfleshed human love which was a source of strength and nurturance for both of them; which far from diminishing their spiritual integrity, deepened and fulfilled it. Why is it so hard to go there?  Well, obviously: because that is the one possibility our celibate template will not allow us to consider.

The “celibate template” of which she speaks is the scenario handed down to us by a patriarchal church and its celibate priesthood that portrays Jesus as a celibate bachelor, who had a virgin birth, and who gave himself utterly and completely to God and his mission without the “distraction” and high maintenance of a human relationship. Obviously, human sexuality has been a problem for the church for the past two-thousand years.

In this post, I will present the author’s four “propositions” or “myths”– all “rooted in the soil of celibate spirituality — that together have subtly sabotaged our ability to see romantic love as an authentic path of spiritual transformation.” Handed down as “gospel truth,” these myths in fact have “little or no scriptural authorization in the teachings of Jesus himself but instead draw their credibility entirely from the circular logic of his presumed celibacy.”

MYTH NUMBER ONE — Celibacy is the preferred means of giving oneself entirely to God

This myth as been promulgated and fostered by the church almost from the beginning of priesthood and monastic life.

Like so much else in church’s teachings on human sexuality, its scriptural origins lie in Paul’s oft-cited admonition, “The unmarried man cares for the Lord’s business; his aim is to please the Lord. But the married man cares for worldly things; his aim is to please his wife; and he has a divided mind” (Corinthians 7:33). Clearly this is a highly effective recruitment tactic for the religious life. Virtually every Christian monastic I know has entered upon the vocation espousing some variation of Thomas Merton’s impassioned outpouring: “I want to give God everything.” Of course, from an operational standpoint Paul is quite correct: being in partnership makes the logistics of spiritual discipleship a good deal more complicated.

But the theology underlying this principle, if you really consider it, is monstrous. In fact, it seems to be saying that the wholehearted love of God and the wholehearted love of another human being cannot coincide; as our love for a particular human being increases, our love for God is proportionately diminished. Not only is this a theological nightmare; it is also a flat-out contradiction of Jesus’s own dual commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Whatever the difficulty in juggling these sometimes contradictory demands, collapsing the tension between them is not an option.

I love her articulate way of stating the obvious in her writing style.  What she writes next, and the way she turns the usual perspective on its head, sends a delightful burst of sunshine into my heart:

The real solution to this paradox, I believe, comes in the gradual discovery that one cannot love God as an object. God is always and only the subject of love.  God is that which makes love possible, the source from which it emerges and the light by which it is recognized. Thus, “love of God” is not one love among others, not love for a particular “one” to whom my saying “yes” requires that I say “no” to another. Rather, God is the all-encompassing One who unlocks and sustains my ability to give myself fully to life in all its infinite particularity, including the excruciating particularity of a human beloved.

. . . God is the divine giving, who flows out and through our human expression to manifest love in all its fullness.  And so the way to give oneself fully to God would be to give fully of oneself

MYTH NUMBER TWO — Love divides the heart

The notion that erotic love divides the heart is so deeply engrained in monastic spiritual formation that renunciation becomes not only the imperative course of action but even a spiritual opportunity: the direct route to spiritual wholeness. The modern Jesuit John S. Dunne reflects this traditional view when he writes: “If I set my heart upon another person, then I cannot live without that person. My heart becomes divided. On the other hand, if I give my life to the journey with God, then my heart becomes whole and I can be whole in relationship with another.’ [Dunne, Reasons of the Heart].

. . . And yet the question remains: does love divide the heart? If God is considered an object of one’s love vying with other objects, then the crucial premise on which this theology hangs is true: yes, love would divide the heart. But if God is the subject of love, the place from which love emerges, then one could more reliably claim—as poets, mystics, and lovers have claimed throughout the ages—that love does not divide the heart, but is in fact the sole force strong enough to unite it. What divides the heart is not the love relationship itself but the passions: the strong emotions and shadow side that are always present when love runs strong. But these are not grounds for renunciation; rather, they are grounds for purification.

This story Cynthia shares next my wife and I can personally relate to, as she has spent the larger part of this year undergoing chemo therapy for breast cancer. Our hearts have been opened wider by this crisis so that we have been able to easily and gratefully give fully of ourselves to one another in a mutually loving and caring way. We have both been transformed in this challenging crisis so that we don’t see cancer as an enemy to fight against and conquer. Rather, by embracing it, the tumor has become a messenger bringing us an opportunity to grow spiritually and more intimately together in life . . . as well as to realize how many wonderful friends we have surrounding us and holding us in their love and prayers.

In closing this consideration, Cynthia writes:

What this purification might look like is captured with wrenching power in the memoir “Grace and Grit” by the contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber. In this remarkable autobiography he shares the story of his own love and transformation as he and his wife . . . wage a five-year battle against her ultimately fatal breast cancer. As their ordeal intensifies, one watches them each being melted down and refashioned in the refiner’s fire of their love for each other. Egotism, clinging, resentment—and other, darker shadows—rise to the surface and are released. Particularly in the last six months of [her] life, Wilber writes, “We simply and directly served each other, exchanging self for other, and therefore glimpsing that eternal spirit which transcends self and other, both ‘me’ and ‘mine’”

If this sounds like something you recall Jesus saying in the gospels, you’re right.

I do enjoy Cynthia’s style of writing and her bold expression of truth in the face of her own congregation and of the larger religious field in which she ministers. Fearless is perhaps the appropriate word to describe her writing. She is clearly in love with love leaving no room for fear of criticism and sanction.

The next two myths: “Human love is inherently different from divine love” and “Celibacy is a state of greater purity” I will leave for the next post. See you in a couple of weeks. Until then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

Read my Health Light Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com. 

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