Watching the Netflix film Sense8 by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, I’m struck. The series shows a group of eight “sensates,” people who are psychically and emotionally connected and, at times, co-present. They share a spiritual communion. They know each others thoughts. They draw on each others knowledge and expertise. They are one, and many, at once.

I have to say, it’s a beautiful representation. Indeed, at first glance it is an almost perfect representation of a glorious spiritual truth, and one quite familiar to Lightning Path students, which is that we all exist within, and can connect our bodily ego to, the Fabric of Consciousness. But then, the Wachowski’s do what they always do and important old energy archetypes. Specifically, in this case, the idea that only some are “chosen/exalted/evolved,” while others are not. As it turns out, the sensates are a different species. They are Homo Sensorium and they stand opposed to Homo Sapiens. They are another species who, like “vampires,” have lived among the cracks and the crevices as they struggle to survive. Homo Sapiens, we are told, are violent, primitive, and full of irrational fear. You can see it in the film as Whispers, the requisite Sapient bad guy, desperately tries to eliminate and control the sensate bacterium. He’s a bad dude, representative of a bad species. “Wouldn’t we all be better off without them,” says Nomi (formerly Michael), as she retrospectively ponders a sapien’s suicide.

“Fuck ya!” The viewers, agree.

The Netflix series seems to present a progressive view, but in fact the story is as old as the Zoroastrian Nodes. Throughout the course of the film we are reminded of a basic masonic truth, a basic elite archetype, which is that there are two classes of people. The ones above and the ones below.

The Golden Down World Card Tarot

Throughout the film, we are advised that the ones below are insane and violent, while the ones above are beautiful, wonderful, and true. We are even invited to consider the elimination, or at least the punishment, of the sapient being. They don’t deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

The problem with this line of thinking is that its foundation is just not true. There isn’t a difference between God’s chosen and the chaff. A new species doesn’t emerge, while another dies away, when childhood finally ends. This is nothing more than an excuse and a justification for accumulation, power, control, privilege, and, I suppose, population control, if you really think deeply about it. With this basic “us versus them” mentality put in place, you can fire up ovens and rain down nuclear fire with hardly any consequences at all, beyond the life of the fall guy, and the millions who die.

 

The Sense8 series is an awesome illustration of an intermediate LP teaching, which is how old energy archetypes penetrate into popular culture, and how these archetypes can be used to subtly sully what would otherwise be a very progressive message. I have to say, the Wachowskis are masters at this, having corrupted awakening messages in The Matrix and other films, turning them into service of the status quo.  What can you do? Even a truth as glorious as connection with the Fabric can be debased and twisted from an idea that represents a total victory of consciousness (sensates are clearly and, ad naseum, Joyfully connected to The Fabric), into a status-quo archetype defending a status quo world with ready made excuses for exploitation, domination, and even murder of the unfortunates assigned to a low status, beneath the Wheel.

 

 

This morning I am revising the Book of Life. I am researching the catholic Church and its attempt to suppress the teachings of Christ, and I begin reading the Gospel of Judas. The Gospel of Judas is a “Lost Gospel.” It is a gospel actively suppressed by Church elites (Handwerk, 2006). If you are interested, you can read the English translation here.

There is a few interesting things about the Gospel, but the one I want to draw attention to here is the portrayal of “the temple.” In a passage about 1/3 of the way through,l the apostles relate a vision they had to Christ. They said…

[We have seen] a great [house with a large] altar [in it, and] twelve men—they are the priests, we would say—and a name; and a crowd of people is waiting at that altar, [until] the priests [… and receive] the offerings. [But] we kept waiting.”
[Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?”
They [said, “Some …] two weeks; [some] sacrifice their own children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke your [name], [39] and in all the deeds of their deficiency, the sacrifices are brought to completion […]

You can interpret the passage how you like; I find the above passage interesting and prophetic. To me it appears as if the apostles are having a vision of a future Church with “large alters” and priests receiving “offerings” from crowds who wait at the alter. It appears a typical description of a church, the priests who run it, and the people who attend.

Also interesting is the horrific description of the priests who run the Church. In the apostle’s vision they are horrible people. They sacrifice (perhaps metaphorically) their own children, sleep with men, engage in slaughter, and commit a “multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness.” We know this is a true statement. From the inquisition to the burning of heretics to the pedophilia, the Church and its representatives have been involved in a multitude of “sins,” many of which have yet to be brought to yet.

Finally, it is telling, I feel, that Jesus, with his question, focuses attention on the priests themselves.  It might not have meant much to the apostles back then, but to a modern individual armed with knowledge of the nefarious activities of the Catholic Church over the centuries, this seems like a fascinating example of the prophetic power of connection and the visions these connections can sometimes produce.

References

Handwerk, Brian. “Gospel of Judas Pages Endured Long, Strange Journey.” National Geographic, news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0406_060406_gospel.html.

A few years ago I took my kids out of school to protect them from the physical, emotional, and psychological violence of the toxic socialization and indoctrination they experienced there. My goal was (and is) to ensure they emerge from their childhood unscathed, undamaged, and ready to connect.

My only concern over the years has been lack of social contact. Are they being emotionally/psychologically stunted by their isolation in the home? Turns out, the answer to that question is no. A recent study finds that online friendships are just as significant and meaningful as “real life” ones, meaning my kids are missing out less than some might argue. This is great. Digital culture has created an opportunity to “save” our kids from the toxic socialization and Bodily Ego-damaging experiences in the K12 system.

With more and more home schooling options becoming available all the time, at least in Alberta, Canada where I live, and with more and more parents opting in, maybe it is time we make a faster shift. We should take some of the money we save on salary, educators, and bloated and unnecessary administration, and pay actual teachers (or student teachers) to rotate between homes for weekly tutoring and support sessions with parents and kids.

This is how our family has been doing it, so we have a practical model of how this would work. We pay 25 dollars an hour for a student teacher (recently accredited) to come to our house and tutor our kids on standard curriculum supplied by the Alberta Government.  If the government made that commensurate with current teacher salaries, and funded them fully for families who cannot afford, that teacher could easily handle six home sessions a week. If the cost of educating our kids is a concern, economies of scale could be achieved by asking these traveling educators to put up to two families together into one session (so the kids from one household would be tutored at the home of a friend) so they could tutor between 3 and 5 students per session.

Obviously, home schooling your kids is not for everybody, and so regular schooling systems could chug alongside. I hazard to say though, some (perhaps many) parents of all genders, would make the choice to home school their children if they received a stipend, and if teachers or student teachers could be sent in for support. From my perspective, this is a great way to avoid the damage done by toxic socialization.

Of course, one very important assumption must hold here, and that is home is a safe environment that children don’t need to escape from. This is not true of all homes. Indeed, many homes are unsafe and in them children experience forms of violence and abuse worse than they experience at school (in what modern schools are children whipped with belts and beaten with spoons?). The children in our family thrive in homeschooling because we have a “no violence” rule in our home. This means no physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual violence. This sort of environment is an absolutely essential prerequisite for safe and effective homeschooling. It makes no sense to home school children in a home where they are not safe. If you do, you will likely end up with more disjuncture, disconnection, and pathology than if they had the escape that school would represent in this unfortunate situation.

This is a poem/prayer from volume one of The Book of Light. It is a summary of the teachings of the volume, a reminder, in a form you can take with you. The goal of the prayer is to impress upon your Bodily Ego the identity and awareness of your Spiritual Ego, with a mind towards a full and powerful connection with your own highest sources. This is an advanced prayer, and it will be meaningless to those who have not studied the Book of Light. Finally note, if you are one of those engaged in advanced practice with the aid of Crown Activators, this is a good prayer to have on hand throughout.

The Prayer

I AM ALL THAT I AM.

I AM the Alpha
I AM the Omega.
I AM the Beginning without end.
I AM the Point (of all Awareness).
I AM the Bliss (of pure consciousness).
I AM the Seed (of the Unfolding).

I AM the Fabric and the Foundation.

I AM the AIR (of Inspiration)
I AM the WATER (of Manifestation).
I AM the FIRE (of Creation)
I AM the EARTH (in Manifestation).

I AM the Source.
I AM the Mirror.
I AM the Layers (of the Unfolding).
I AM the Dimensions (of Creation).
I AM the Light (in the Heavens).
I AM the Life (on this Earth).
I AM Limitless (in my Potential).

I AM God (with a capital G).

I AM ALL THAT I AM.

 

Copyright Michael Sharp and the Lightning Path.

We live in a where most people believe in God. Despite propaganda to the contrary, the number of atheists in the world remains rather small (only 3% in the U.S.A and only 9% in Canada), and this is even after a couple centuries of scientific progress (Hunsberger & Altemeyer, 2006). We can ask the question why, and of course some people will say that it is because people are stupid and gullible (Dawkins, 2006), but that is not the case, and least in all circumstances. People who accept the existence of God, and people who take spiritual experiences seriously, do so not because they are stupid and irrational, but because they are logical and intelligent (Boyer, 2001), because there are structures in their brain that support it (Andew Newberg, d’Aquile, & Rause, 2001; Andrew Newberg & Waldman, 2009), and (most importantly) because they have had experiences that make them question the dogmatic scientific view that the only thing that exists is what we can see with our eyes.

Yes, you heard that right.

People believe in the spiritual side of life because they have experiences that make them question the materialism of modern science. This much has been recognized for thousands of years. In the Western world there are traditions of spiritual/mystical experience that go all the way back to Plato and beyond (Versluis, 2007). William James, the famous American psychologists, felt that all religions were based on the mystical experience of some charismatic avatar (James, 1982) and other have agreed. Walter Stace, one of the biggest contributors to the study of mystical experience there ever was, called mystical experience “a psychological fact of which there is abundant evidence.” He further went on to say that “To deny or doubt that it exists as a psychological fact is not a reputable opinion. It is ignorance” and “very stupid.” (Stace, 1960 14). Indeed, Abraham Maslow made his career on the study of “peak experiences” (Lester, Hvezda, Sullivan, & Plourde, 1983; A. Maslow, 1994; A. H. Maslow, 1968, 2012) which are really just a secular form of mystical experience. But, we are not interested in the details here. The point here is that spiritual/mystical experience is key, that it is ubiquitous. People believe not because they are stupid but because they have experiences that make them think, push them away from naive materialism, or give them faith that there is indeed something more. I suppose the question now becomes, how many people have these experiences? Conservative estimates put the number anywhere between thirty and fifty percent (Bourque, 1969; Bourque & Back, 1971; Yamane & Polzer, 1994). And it is not just the uneducated who have these experiences. The limited sociological research that has been conducted on the phenomenon has found that those with more education are equally likely, if not more likely, to have profound mystical experiences (Bourque, 1969; Bourque & Back, 1971). The educated just don’t conceptualize it in the same way. Instead of using religious language and concepts they use a secular language, or a psychologically neutral language, characterizing them, for example, as peak experiences (A. Maslow, 1943, 1970; A. H. Maslow, 1964) or “pure conscious events” of something like that. When we open the field and bring together our definitions we find that mystical experience really is a ubiquitous experience. Abraham Maslow himself actually expressed surprise at just how common these were. He writes:

In my first investigations … I used this word because I thought some people had peak-experiences and others did not. But as I gathered information, and as I became more skillful in asking questions, I found that a higher and higher percentage of my subjects began to report peak-experiences…. I finally fell into the habit of expecting everyone to have peak-experiences and of being rather surprised if I ran across somebody who could report none at all. Because of this experience, I finally began to use the word “non-peaker” to describe, not the person who is unable to have peak-experiences, but rather the person who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who “forgets” them.(A. H. Maslow, 2012, pp. 340-341).

So what are we to make of this? Well, unless we want to discount evidence, we need to accept the fact that a lot of people have mystical experiences and that these experiences form the basis of their belief in things beyond the material. Once we do that then we need to be careful not to pathologize mystical experience. Although there are some cases where mystical experience intersect with madness (Heriot-Maitland, 2008), in most cases mystical experience have positive effects on the mental health of the people who have them (Andew Newberg, et al., 2001). Indeed, Abraham Maslow said that the healthiest people have mystical experience (Maslow, 1962). Consider the recent admission by former teen idol David Cassidy that a mystical experience has, at first blush at least, seemed to have helped him with his alcoholism and his disjunctive and misaligned behaviour (Sharp, 2013a, 2013b). David got positive benefit from his mystical experience. He writes:

I dropped to my knees and I felt something go through me that was like, I felt this experience that was just, thank you God. I felt this relief. I begged it and I was crying and weeping like a little boy, like a, like a sobbing little infant, like I’m sure I did many times as a kid. And I felt this incredible sense of relief because I stopped lying to myself (Zamost, 2014).

Mystical Experience is Big

We can accept mystical experience as such, but even if we do I’d be careful about reading too much meaning into Mr. Cassidy’s account, or anybody else’s account for that matter, not because there is nothing there but because, and speaking as a mystic myself, what is there is a lot bigger than most people can wrap their heads around and express in a simple paragraph or two. Why is mystical experience so big? As a mystic I would have to say that, one hand, mystical experience is big because the reality that mystical experience points to is big–a lot bigger than you might at first think. Although I firmly believe that it is possible to capture “what is there” if you spend enough time, energy, and thought on it, you can’t capture the essence of the experience, or the essence of the reality it points to, in a few words on a page. In an account like David’s you are not even seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg, you’re just seeing a small cube of ice floating on the surface of a vast ocean of Consciousness (Sharp, 2006). If you draw simple conclusions from one or two mystical accounts, you are not getting the full story by a long shot. Mystical experience is a lot bigger in another way as well. Mystical experience is also huge in a hermeneutic sense. Even if you fully apprehend the “object” behind mystical experience, sorting out what those mystical experiences mean for the individual (and for the rest of us), and wrapping our collective head around the deeper realities that these mystical experiences point to, is not an easy task (Sharp, 2014).

There are different levels of mystical experience, for example. You can have little mystical experiences like David Cassidy did, or you can have full blown mystical revelations where the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is revealed in a powerfully synoptic blast of revelatory power.[1] Mystical experiences can also be positive and healing experiences (so called Peak Experience), or they can be super negative and frightening (what I call Nadir Experiences). My own account of my own initial “opening” experience is not a tale of fairies and gnomes, it is a tale of demons and dragons (Sharp, 2014). And of course, it is more complicated than even levels and types would indicate. Beyond the difference levels of experience we may have, we also have different conceptual frameworks, not all of them very useful, for understanding that which we experience. We all filter our experiences depending on our personal biography, culture, language (Katz, 1978; Proudfoot, 1985), and past religious/spiritual training. If you have a mystical experience you can understand it and talk about it from a Christian perspective, a Jewish perspective, a Buddhist perspective, a secular-humanist perspective, or even a neuro-theological perspective. Put another way, liberal humanist atheists have liberal humanist atheist experiences and Christian fundamentalist have Christian fundamental experiences. Given the levels and complexity of mystical/religious experience, you would be very wise to avoid coming to major conclusions from a simple account or two. Having said all this the question now becomes, what’s really going on. With so many variations in experience, and so many different ways to look at it, how do you sort it all out? The question is, how do you get to the authentic core?

The Authentic Core

Unfortunately, it is not so easy to get the the authentic core. In fact, when you get right down to it, it is quite messy. It is messy to the point where some people claim there really is no rhyme or reason to it, just people’s idiosyncratic interpretations of ultimately empty events (Penner, 1983), events that may be authentic but that are perhaps rooted in nothing more than the regressive defense mechanisms of the mind (Freud, 1961, 1964), or (more recently) the evolutionary neurobiology of the brain (Boyer, 2001). That’s not the way it is though. As a practicing mystic myself I can tell you that mystical experiences aren’t mere language constructions, nor are they delusions, madness, or even neurological epiphenomenon (Kluger, 2004). Mystical experiences point to a reality, a truth, and a Fabric of Consciousness[2] that is far beyond our daily life experience.

As I wrote in The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice,  the normal reality that we experience on a day-to-day basis is just the meniscus, the surface layer, beneath which flows a vast, grand, and (at least to the new initiate) mind boggling realitythe normal reality that we experience on a day-to-day basis is just the meniscus, the surface layer, beneath which flows a vast, grand, and (at least to the new initiate) mind boggling reality (Sharp, 2007). The reality is so vast and so grand that even committed, professional mystics have a hard time wrapping their head around it, and/or explaining it to others. Most of the time mystics simply jam out of trying, saying simply that it is “beyond words” and leave it at that. Despite the mystical cop out, the realities of mystical experience are not beyond words. True, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it all down and ground it, but it can be done (see my SpiritWiki for my one aspect of my own attempt to “get it down”). I’m not going to go into all the details here in this short article, but I would like to point out four things that I would like the reader to take from this short little article.

One, I hope I have drawn your attention to the ubiquity of mystical experience. Despite propaganda to the contrary, mystical experience is a lot more common than you might at first think.

Two, I want to suggest that you can’t just dismiss the experiences as so much irrational, emotional, delusion. You can try as some do, but if you do you’re only representing to the world your own ignorance of this area of scholarly inquiry. Of course I’m not suggesting you come to immediate conclusions about the nature of the experience I’m just saying there’s more to it than you have been led to believe.

Three, I want you to understand that mystical experience is big, and it takes a lot of thought and effort to wrap your head around it. You can’t know, understand, or judge what mystical experience is based on a single experience or two. If you ask me, you can’t even understand mystical experience from a single traditional perspective. There’s a lot going on beneath the thin meniscus of reality and if you want to understand what, you have to buckle down and put in the work.

Finally, and four, I want to try and convince you that there is something worth paying attention to, especially at this particular historical juncture. Personally I don’t think anybody, black or white, rich or poor, is going to be able to understand the world around them, and what is happening to their families, unless they take a look at the mystical root of all reality. As I explain elsewhere, Consciousness is emerging and, rich or poor, there is nothing that you can do to stop it. This is not a little thing. Speaking as someone with experience, Consciousness, God, Krishna, the Real, or whatever you want to call it is bigger than you might think, and a lot different than you may have been led to believe. It is an understatement to say that it going to be a challenge for a lot of people. You can either embrace that emergence with open arms, joyfully moving forward into a new world of consciousness and creation, or you can, out of fear, greed, or ignorance, dig in your heels and resist. Ultimately though, resistance is futile. Consciousness will expand into your physical unit whether you want it to or not. The only question is, what are you going to do about it.

References

Bourque, L. B. (1969). Social Correlates of Transcendental Experiences. Sociological Analysis, 30, 151-163.

Bourque, L. B., & Back, K. W. (1971). Language, Society and Subjective Experience. Sociometry, 34, 1-21.

Boyer, P. (2001). Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. New York: Basic Books.

Dawkins, R. (2006). The God Delusion. New York: Mariner Books. Freud, S. (1961). Civilization and its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton.

Freud, S. (1964). The Future of an Illusion. New York: Anchor Books.

Harmless, W. (2008). Mystics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Heriot-Maitland, C. P. (2008). Mysticism and madness: Different aspects of the same human experience? Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 11, 301-325.

Hunsberger, B., & Altemeyer, B. (2006). Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America’s Nonbelievers. New York: Prometheus Books. James, W. (1982). The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study of Human Nature. New York: Penguin.

Katz, S. T. (1978). Language, Epistemology and Mysticism. In S. T. Katz (Ed.), Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (pp. 22-74). London: Sheldon Press.

Kluger, J. (2004). Is God in our genes? A provocative study asks whether religion is a product of evolution. Inside a quest for the roots of faith. In Time (Vol. 164). New York.

Lester, D., Hvezda, J., Sullivan, S., & Plourde, R. (1983). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and psychological health. Journal of General Psychology, 109, 83.

Maslow, A (1962). Lessons from the Peak-Experiences. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2(1): 9-18.

Maslow, A. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. Maslow, A. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row. Maslow, A. (1994). Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences. New York: Penguin.

Maslow, A. H. (1968). Towards a Psychology of Being (2nd Edition). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Maslow, A. H. (2012). The “Core-Religious” or “Transcendent” Expereince. In J. White (Ed.), The Highest State of Consciousness (pp. 339-350). New York: Doubleday.

Newberg, A., d’Aquile, E., & Rause, V. (2001). Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. New York: Ballantine Books.

Newberg, A., & Waldman, M. R. (2009). How God Changes your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. New York: Ballantine Books.

Penner, H. H. (1983). The Mystical Illusion. In S. T. Katz (Ed.), Mysticism and Religious Traditions (pp. 461-477). Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Proudfoot, W. (1985). Religious Experience. California: University of California Press.

Robinson, J. M. (1988). The Nag Hammadi Library: The Definitive new Translation of the Gnostic Scriptures. In (Third ed.). San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco.

Sharp, M. (2006). The Book of Light: The Nature of God, the Structure of Consciousness, and the Universe Within You (Vol. One – Air). St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Sharp, M. (2007). The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice. St. Albert, Alberta, Canada: Lightning Path Press.

Sharp, M. (2010). The Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Authentic Spirituality. St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Sharp, M. (2013a). Lightning Path Core Lesson Package (Vol. 2). St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Sharp, M. (2013b). Lightning Path Intermediate Module A – Foundations (Vol. 3). St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Sharp, M. (2014). Lightning Path Introduction – Book One (Vol. 1). St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press. Sharp, M. (Unpublished). The Book of Light: The Nature of God, the Structure of Consciousness, and the Universe Within You (Vol. Two – Water). St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Stace, Walter Terence. The Teachings of the Mystics. New York: Mentor, 1960.

Versluis, A. (2007). Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Yamane, D., & Polzer, M. (1994). Ways of seeing ecstasy in modern society: Experiential-expressive and cultural-linguistic views. Sociology of Religion, 55, 1-25.

Zamost, S. (2014). David Cassidy: ‘I am an Alcoholic’. In CNN Entertainment. New York: CNN.

Endnotes


[1] The Apocryphon of John in the Nag Hammadi library of ancient gnostic gospels is a good example, but examples of powerfully revelatory visions can be found peppered throughout the historical record, and scholarly corpus. (Robinson, 1988). For an overview of some of the more famous mystics, some of whom had revelatory experiences, see (Harmless, 2008)
[2] (Sharp, 2006) Fabric of Consciousness is a term I coined to replace the anachronistic, baggage laden, and easy to misinterpret notions of God, Krishna, etc. FOC underlies all of reality and is the “object” to which all mystical experiences directly point. See http://www.thespiritwiki.com/index.php/Fabric_of_Consciousness
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