We have been home now from the desert for a couple of days, watching the dogs we normally watch in Rancho Mirage. And today, as well as yesterday, it has been raining fiercely. All night last night I listened to the pounding water on the skylight over my bed and head. We have had three years of bad drought here in California, and find this falling wet stuff to be such a delight. I just now returned from a driving trip to downtown Santa Cruz, Costco, and passed over the San Lorenzo River and Soquel Creek and could finally see some water flowing in them after all this time of dryness.
The urge to keep up a journal still entices me onward, since in this lazy lifestyle called retirement I have not much else to do. The peripheral neuropathy keeps me from being very active. Otherwise, I would be more engaged in gardening and landscaping, or bicycling and surfing, but instead must learn to be content without moving about too much. I am thankful that I have no pain from the neuropathy, but my walking abilities suffer dearly. I seem to spend much time reading, and up until the past few weeks ago, much time strumming the ukulele and singing from the selection of songs that I have learned.
I play with Adobe Photoshop and Topaz filters, applying them to my many photographs that I have collected from travels and observations. While in Palm Springs the wife and I exhibited work in an art show and I sold a few of my prints for about five dollars a piece–maybe twenty prints. There is no money in doing this, only the joy of taking the photos and making them look artistic, and then showing them out in public. Surprisingly, a lot of people like the stuff I do, which makes me want to do even more, though one could most certainly starve to death if heavily engaged in such futile activity as this. I recently found a book that propounds that photography can be seen as a means of Christian contemplation. I can see the contemplation part, but not so sure how photography might relate to the Christian part. To me, it sounds more like somebody has found a theme for a book that might be popular, because there are many Christian books and many photographers, so why not marry the two together?
I don’t know. Whatever. It seems that I have spent a life time in judging others, and have recently become quite weary of it. It is such a drain of my own spiritual energy and such a block to my own understanding of the nature of humanity to be constantly putting down the actions and thoughts of other people. We all do this, and take pride in what we do, but it really buys us nothing but splintering and alienation, and certainly does not produce goodness or understanding, and does not promote the interior business of transformation, which my recent reading informs me is the most important thing a person can and should be doing while here on earth.
Today I will read more, warm and indoors, while the rain continues. I have become so good at doing nothing more than sitting and reading, that when it rains and the outdoor world is closed off from me, I feel that at last I have a modest excuse to stay indoors and explore more of the world of the printed page. On my Kindle I have one category of books that I have titled “Inner”, which is books about esotericism, and in that collection I have about 50 books, many of which I have already read. I have read them without doing much writing about them. I have only thought about writing, without actually doing much writing. I would like to be able to go back and summarize or review the 50 books, but am not so sure what good it might do for me in the long run.
Because the esoteric understanding of the scriptures was new to me, and somewhat shocking to me, that is, upsetting my sense of religion, I ploughed deeper into reading more, with a strong curiosity about what I might have missed earlier in life. The intensity of my reading journey has begun to lessen, because, after reading 50 books, more or less, I have a better sense of the parameters of esotericism. Not entirely, no, certainly not, but a surveyor overview of the bigger traditions in western civilization that have brought about this view of seeing the scriptures as entirely allegorical in meaning. I am always surprised at my own stupidity. Here I am a heavy reader and with a degree in literature, and never quite completely came to this understanding about the scriptures until just a few months ago.
I know my lack of understanding is due to a lack of teaching in the churches. Esoteric or inner Christianity is simply not taught or mentioned in all the places I have frequented all of these years. And if I have not been able to perceive the esoteric nature of the writings very easily on my own, I am quite sure that very few others have either. Maybe there was a time and a place in our culture when people could spot the allegorical nature of writing quite easily, but that has been lost by us moderns. Either it has been lost or just plainly dismissed as being irrelevant to our modern culture. And of course people fear change, especially if it rocks the boat of their previous understanding. To say to most that the scriptures are not meant to be read literally is much too deep and disturbing of a revolution in the thinking of many.
If I do not keep up a writing journal, just for the self discipline of writing, I fear that all the reading I have been doing will also be forgotten by me, or will not have any effect on my thinking and my living. It feels so natural for me to keep writing. The blogging part of it is what I suppose I am having problems with. I think early next year, after the holiday season is done, I will start a new blog under a pseudonym, to keep my real name out of the public eye, and begin to post writings that I might not post to my current blog, which is associated with my name. It has something to do with casting my pearls before swine.
I think other people who have stumbled across the esoteric understanding of the scriptures feel, like me, that the word needs to get out to the rest of the world that the literalism of churchianity has caused great harm, misunderstanding, and conflict. And yet, the esoteric word seems like it needs some sort of superstructure, such as Catholicism, on which to ride and pervade the culture–the hearts and minds of the people. But how can a deep and inner understanding become institutionalized without losing its meaning and its impact? Maybe through writing, painting, poetry–the arts–can this life within be shown to the rest of the world, rather than through sacraments and doctrines. I know, myself, that much could be said, written about, and here I have been so lazy the past few months when it comes to time on a keyboard.
I will maybe work on drawing together a list of the 50 books I have recently read or have downloaded and am looking at, so that I might focus or concentrate my efforts a little better.
Following is a list of books on my Kindle as of December 4, 2014 that I have categorized as “Inner”, meaning “esoteric”, or some how closely related.
A’Kempis, Thomas. Imitation of Christ.
Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot.
Augustine, Saint. Exposition on the Book of Psalms.
Arnold, Sir Edwin. The Light of Asia.
Barks, Coleman. Jalal al-Din Rumi. The Essential Rumi.
Beardsley, David A. The Ideal in the West.
Besant, Annie Wood. Esoteric Christianity, or the Lesser Mysteries.
Besant, Annie Wood. Hints on the Study of the Bhagavad Gita.
Clarke, Monica. Impressions of the New Man (Maurice Nicoll).
Dionysus the Aeropagite. The Works of Dionysus the Aeropagite.
d’Olivet, Fabre. The Golden Verses of Pythagoras .
Easwaran, Eknath. The Bhagavad Gita.
Easwaran, Eknath. Passage Meditation: Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart Into Daily Life.
(Education: Microsoft Word). Bhagavad-Gita-Rev A. doc.
Fillmore, Charles. The Charles Fillmore Collection.
Fillmore, Charles. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
Fillmore, Charles. The Revealing Word: a Dictionary of Metaphysical Terms.
Fox, Emmett. Around the Year with Emmett Fox: A Book of Daily Readings.
Fox, Emmett. The Bible Unveiled: Updated and Gender-Neutral.
Fox, Matthews. Christian Mystics.
Fox, Emmett. The Mental Equivalent.
Fox, Emmett. Power Through Constructive Thinking (Plus).
Fox, Emmett. The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life.
Geldard, Richard. The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Guthrie, Kenneth. The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library.
Hall, Manly P. The Secret Teachings of All Ages.
Hahn, Thich Nhat. Ellsberg, Robert. Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Master Series).
Hanh, Thich Nhat. Living Buddha, Living Christ.
Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation.
Han Shan. (Cold Mountain). The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain.
Hartmann, Franz. The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme.
Holmes, Ernest. The Science of Mind.
Holmes, Ernest. This Thing Called You.
McCown, Donald. Micozzi, Marc. New World Mindfulness: From the Founding Fathers, Emerson, and Thoreau to Your Personal Practice.
Nicoll, Maurice. The Mark.
Nicoll, Maurice. The New Man.
Nottingham, Theodore J. Written in our Hearts: The Practice of Spiritual Transformation.
Nottingham, Rebecca. The Fourth Way and Esoteric Christianity.
Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels.
Papanagiotou, Efstratios. The Inner Restoration of Christianity.
Papanagiotou, Efstratios. Divinization: The Hidden Teaching within Divine Wisdom.
Plato. The Works of Plato.
Rumi, Jalal al-Din. Mystical Poems of Rumi.
Silesius, Angelus. Selections from the Cherubinic Wanderer.
Smoley, Richard. Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition.
Steiner, Rudolf. The Essential Rudolf Steiner.
Steiner, Rudolf. The Gospel of St. John.
Swedenborg, Emanuel. Secrets of Heaven 1: Portable.
Swedenborg, Emanuel. Secrets of Heaven 2. Portable.
Tse, Lao. Tao Te Ching.