Thursday, 5 March 2009

Avoiding Bethel

If you understand the reference to Bethel you're probably in the right place. However, this blog is for anyone who has had a glimpse of God or Spirit or Reality or The Way Things Are, only to lose it again as soon as we try to grasp or understand or think about what we've just experienced. So if you are sure of your beliefs, know what life is all about, or never ask questions like "Why are we here?", I can save you time and trouble: there is nothing here for you. However if, like me, you still need those who sell water by the river, read on.

Why the curious name?

When the Internet was still very much the Wild West, I signed up for my first domain at That was 1994, and Jacob's dream of a ladder reaching toward heaven with angels going up and down was my dream too. A year later I had my own wresting with the Angel of God and, like Jacob, the only way He was going to win was by breaking me. He didn't touch my hip, but I lost just about everything else apart from my wife and family.

They were challenging years. Figuratively speaking, I was lost like the children of Jacob (now Israel); taking another turn around the mountain because of their refusal to follow God's lead into the promised land. I could write a guidebook about that mountain.

In fact, that's partly the inspiration for this blog. I have been writing posts for a while on onlineClarity, where the blog is only accessible by other Change Circle members. That's fine for Yijing (I Ching) stuff. This blog is less confined. It has the blessing of anonimity (I'm not under any illusions about anyone reading it), so I am free to write about the conundrum that is the focus of my life these days: authentic being. Doubtless, these pages will eventually include snippets of Martin Heidegger's philosophy (from "Being and Time", 1927). Authentic being is his term, contrasted with the normal, everyday life of the "they-self" as he calls it, inauthentic being.

Hide and Seek

One of the characteristics of inauthentic being (ego, lower self, small mind) is that it assiduously turns away from authentic being (our higher self, spirit, Big Mind). Reminiscent of Jeremiah 17:9, (roughly) "The human heart is deceitful beyond imagining; who can plumb its depths?". Whichever way we turn, however we try to escape, our ego is ever vigilant -- ensuring we are always "safe". And so it should; it is the job of our natural intelligence, honed over many thousands of years, to ensure not only our survival but our prosperity. Unfortunately, the ego's idea of life and abundance is rather limited. It can only conceive of contact with that-which-is-beyond-understanding in terms of things within its ken, like images of a ladder ascending into heaven. Even this image is designed to limit and contain the contact; making it "safe", understandable, known. For our minds recoil at anything "beyond" and refuse to face it unless absolutely forced. Anyone who has tried to sit simply conscious of their being, but without the buzzing thoughts, knows how hard we find it to just be in the present moment. We are so easily distracted, it is tempting to think we are complicit in this turing away.

Our natural mind will always try to avoid Bethel -- that place where we meet God, the Source, Being, the Universe, or whatever term you wish to use (I think YHWH is particularly good). If there is any way to avoid actually being, the ever watchful ego-mind will find it. One of the most common ways is to indulge in talk about spirituality. So this blog joins the ranks of thousands of other spiritual blogs, as we avoid living by talking about it. Hopefully we can learn to enjoy this fascinating game of hide and seek as we take on that master of the art -- ourselves. Until we are ready to enter the promised land, we can at least discuss the journey as we make yet another tour through the wilderness.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Christopher. Welcome to the Blogoshere. lol.