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BLAND CHAMOMILE
May 31, 2006 09:26 AM

Does a flower worry about its safety? Does it concern itself with whether it is being watched over by another? Does a flower ruminate about being accepted or rejected by other flowers? Does it wish it were red rather than blue in color?

A flower blooms because it blooms; its nature is a spontaneous expression of its life force. The flower does not have to be good, well behaved, or pleasant. As Anglus Silesius, the poet wrote, “A Rose blooms because it blooms, it is without why.”

The rose fulfills its nature, the expression of its life force, by blooming... This inherent expression of nature is the exact part of beingness that we as 21st century thinking human beings cover with our thoughts. Most of our expressions are buttressed by “whys” defending our choices. We do this in order to become accepted by our historical selves, our parents, communities, and our religions to name only a few of the long list of forces pulling our actions.

There is no simplistic answer to living our natural expressions. We do live in a social world and adaptation is vital for survival. The profound question becomes: How do we live in community without losing our nature? How do we balance the natural expressions of our life force with the “gravitational energy inherent in balancing our check books and paying our mortgages?

If we are fortunate enough to have raised this difficult question into our consciousness, we must also know that we are the only ones who can seek the answer and find our balanced expression. To take a ready-made answer from another is to seek outside ourselves that which can only be found within. In fact, thinking is what obfuscates the answer, because the answer is not a thought, but a way of being. We must live the paradox in order to express our bud-to-bloom nature and then balance it with our time and place. [“The surest way to see a thing undone is to think it done.”] Our lives will not be bland if we can live the tension the question produces, the tension between knowing-in-order-to-do and doing-in-order-to-know.

Living this question causes us to ask other questions. We must arrive at the answer to what kills our spontaneity and natural expressions. We must understand our own paths of freedom. The necessity of finding the answers within ourselves does not mean that we are without guides. There are individuals who have found their own path and who can act as lanterns that occasionally appear in the darkness to guide us.

Nikos Kazantzakis has been one such lightened lantern for me, in his “Zorba the Greek” he assists us in seeing, and releasing the cords the hold us back from freely expressing our true nature. At one point in this novel, Zorba tells his disciple that he cannot experience a full life because he is not “separated,” he is not free. “You my friend, you have a long cord, you come and go, and you believe that you are free. However, the cord, you do not cut it. Moreover, when we do not cut the cord,
tell me, what does life taste like? A taste of chamomile, of bland chamomile! It is rum that makes you see the world upside down.” (p. 300.)

What is the long cord Kazantzakis speaks of? Is there more than one cord in our lives? What do we need to separate ourselves from in order to experience our life force coursing through our veins, expressing itself in every moment of being? Do we need to let go of a way of being in a particular relationship or a certain way of relating to another?

What identities, historical selves do we need to leave behind? What beliefs or attitudes restrain our naturally living our own life? Remember that all of our lives began with the necessary cutting of the first chord. We must realize that the cutting should never stop. The cords of our historical selves or the cords of social “gravity” will arise and could pull us off the course of our blooming expression. We can learn to become more conscious than the infant and do the severing ourselves.

Here is an exercise that may help you become aware of, to “see” the cords of constriction restraining you. Once you can “see,” the cutting becomes possible.

Exercise: Cutting Cords

Close your eyes and Breathe out 3X.

See, sense, and experience yourself standing in an open field. You are now able to see cords, long cords, affixed to you. Whatever direction you attempt to go you feel the cords holding you back. The cords can be subtle or they can be strong.

Now count the cords and name each one. Take your time discovering the name of each cord and know immediately how the particular cord pulls at you in your life.

Breathe out 1 time.

See and experience yourself walking. Straight ahead, four steps in front of you, you find a sharp sword with a golden handle. See yourself picking it up and using it to deftly cut each cord. When all cords are cut from your body -- gather them together and burn them. [Collect the ashes and burn them a second time.

And then bury the ashes. You now experience yourself running and leaping in any direction you like. Feel yourself light and free.

You open your eyes and write out this experience.

On a separate piece of paper, write the names of the cords. You then cut the piece of paper into 16 pieces and burn the pieces in a safe place. Take the ashes and bury them or flush them down the toilet.

I will conclude with another quote from “Zorba the Greek” but this time the disciple is speaking of his mentor. He speaks of what may lie ahead for those who cut their cords. “I felt, as I listened to Zorba, that the world was recovering its pristine freshness. All the dull daily things regained the brightness they had in the beginning, when we came out of the hands of God.


Water,
Woman,
The stars,
Bread,

Returned to their mysterious, primitive origin, And the divine whirlwind burst once more upon the air. (p. 51)

Wishing you the air of the divine whirlwind upon your cheeks,

FXCggg

WHAT A WOMAN REALLY WANTS
May 30, 2006 04:11 PM

Developed and written by Francis X. Clifton from an old Celtic Tale

The young and future King, Arthur of Camelot, was out hunting with his friend, Sir Galahad, in an adjoining kingdom when they came upon a forest filled with rabbits.

Fueled with enthusiasm, they ignored the fact that poaching rabbits was a serious offense.

After catching several rabbits they were captured by soldiers of the realm, the two young men were brought before the king and the king informed them that the penalty for poaching rabbits was death. Arthur and Galahad stood there frozen in shock. How could their lives come to such a foolish end? Their youthful naivety moved the king to remember the foolishness of his youth and with calculated mercy, he informed Arthur that he would spare their lives if in three weeks time they could find our the answer to “What women really want?” and bring it back to him. This question had perplexed the king his entire life and he thought that maybe they could find the truth because of their innocence.

Arthur and Galahad awoke from their shock, thanked the king for the chance to save their lives and set out upon their quest for truth, hearing the king’s repeated echo…21, days, 21 days…for either freedom or death. So the young men galloped into their kingdom, frightened but confident that they would find the answer to “What do women really want?” Surely with all the wisdom that lay within Camelot the answer would be as easy to find as a blooming flower. The first seen days passed rather quickly interviewing all the elders of the land. The young men were shocked that elders did not know the answer. The elders lived within the confines of the city and Arthur realized that they must widen their search to the wooded areas where hidden knowledge is guarded.

The forest is a storehouse of wisdom but finding the guardians for truth has always been difficult. These were the wise elders who existed in the world that had many goods, way before the time of the one God. They went deep into the forest asking every man and beast where to find the wise elders. The eagle flew north and then flew north again and again. Galahad and Arthur realized at the same time that the bird was giving them directions, so they followed the eagle due north for three days. The eagle eventually began to encircle a small hut. Around and around it flew. As Arthur and Galahad arrived at the entrance to the hut, and old white haired man exited the swelling. The young men dismounted their horses and frantically explained their plight. The man was a hermit, wise to the lay of the land, able to read the souls of animals, and able to decipher the scents of healing plants and flowers and mix them into healing potions: but no – no he did not know what women really wanted. They were feeling bleak because they had barely three days left. The hermit informed them that he had heard about and old Hag that lived in a cave at the southernmost part of the Kingdom. He believed that she would know the answer. It was a two and a half day ride so they left immediately. Riding day and night, they arrived two days leaving only with one day to return with the answer. They tied their horses up to a tree next to a the cave’s entrance. They could see greenish smoke billowing out of the cave. An overpowering odor pierced their nostrils. Arthur felt faint and Galahad fought against becoming ill. The cave sloped downward and they descended to the bottom. There the found the most grotesque looking women imaginable. She was stirring a cauldron with a decayed wooden staff as twisted as she.
The Hag was hunched over showing the large hump on her back. Her hair was like green straw, her eyes had the narrowness of a rat’s eye and her nose hooked enough that something could be hung on it. Her welcoming voice had the sweetness of a nail scratching a blackboard. “Welcome my young men, “ she snorted, “and what can I do for you?” The young men explained their desperate predicament.
Their lives hung upon her knowing the answer for they had no time to search further.

Dear Lad, do you know what women really want? Do you? Do you?

"Of course I do.”

“Thank God” was Arthur’s reply. The Hag told them that you can thank God but you are going to have to please me before I give you the answer.

“Of course, of course, anything you want” stated Arthur. “You see our lives depend upon it.”

"I want the hand of Sir Galahad in marriage.”

Arthur sighed, thinking he could never ask his friend to marry such a hideous damsel. He knew Galahad could barely stomach her smells, much less stand her snorts and cackles. Arthur was in profound conflict and nearly paralyzed with fear. Galahad stepped forward. “My friend, you are firstly my king, I would give you my life so there is no question of not marrying her to save your life.”

Arthur felt the first strains of kingship, he had to decide. He chose life. “If your answer is correct and acceptable as truth to the king who holds our lives in his hands, I will set your wedding date for two weeks hence. Now , what is it that women really want?”

“From the deepest part of a women’s spirit – she wants autonomy over her life.”

“You mean freedom of choice?”

“Yes, yes, and I will be at the round table two weeks from now, wearing my wedding dress and expecting a reception like no other.”

Arthur thought – it will be truly a reception like no other, given the Hag Bride. Arthur and Galahad raced to their horses and rode with speed to the adjoining kingdom. There the king was informed of the answer, this desire for freedom. The king also found this a curious answer and so he summoned his wife. Upon the queen’s arrival, the king related the answer and asked her if she thought it was true. “No truer words have ever been spoken about a women.”

“Are your sure?”

“I am certain.”

“Go my future young king and may you reign with wisdom.” Pondering the puzzling answer that women want to be free, the king bade fare-thee-well to the young men and set them free.

Arriving in Camelot, Arthur began to prepare for the wedding. He had a hard time looking at his friend Galahad, it made him sad. His trusted friend was willing to live with a Hag for the sake of him and the kingdom. Arthur was learning about loyalty and more importantly about nobility.

The fateful day arrived. Arthur, Galahad and the bishop stood at the alter as the hideous damsel entered. She was bent over and it appeared that without her staff she would be bent to the floor. Her dress was gray, ripped and dragging, as if weighted down by ants
And other creatures of the earth. As she waked toward the altar she let out strange sounds of unknown origin. She wore a brown veil that hung over her head and face. As she took her place next to Galahad he could smell the same frightful odor that had overcome him when he entered her cave. He took long slow breaths over and over again until he heard himself say “I do.: As the bishop recited. “I now pronounce you man and wife, go in peace." Galahad wondered how he would ever have peace.

Galahad and his bride sat at the head of the table for all to see. Her first act upon being seated was to put her elbows on the table top and began screaming an ancient wedding chant in some unknown language. She ate with her hands and used her knife only to pick her teeth. Galahad's stomach began to scream from embarrassement, disbelief and the thought of no relief. All Arthur could do was to offer prayers of gratitude for his friend for saving his life.

The bride danced with her staff spiraling around. She fell to the floor several times but she didn’t have to worry about her dress being torn and dirty for it already was. As Arthur gave a toast for the couple to experience health and happiness, tears flowed down his cheeks and wine flowed done the brides dress.

At this point the Hag screamed loudly with great force “Husband, husband, to the bridal chamber we must go.” Galahad escorted her off the dance floor and into the bridal chamber. He was kind to her but all he could think was, “I’m doing this for my king, I’m doing this for my king.”

Galahad washed and got into bed with a sheet pulled up to his chin.
His bride stated, “Husband I will return in several minutes for I want to prepare myself for your embrace.” As she left the room, Galahad closed his eyes, took long slow breaths and repeated to himself ‘for the life of my king.” He then heard her return to the room and not wanting to hurt her feeling he opened his eyes.

He couldn’t believe what he saw. There stood his bride transformed into the most beautiful women he had ever seen.

She asked him in a near angelic voice, “Galahad, my husband, you have a choice to make. I can be beautiful for you each and every night but during the day I will return to my hideous damsel face. Or I can be beautiful during the day for your friends to see and had-like at night for you to lie with. Which do you choose?"

“My bride, my wife, you make the choice.”

“My husband, Galahad, you have learned your lesson well and have given me freedom of choice. For this I will be beautiful for you day and night.”

Galahad left the bed and embraced his bride saying “Wife before I kiss thee tell me your name.”

“Husband my name is Sophia.”

The Celtic story beautifully illustrates how we should honor the feminine principle. A healthy relationship with our inner feminine will lead to wisdom.

Till Soon,

FXCggg

WHY DO YOU WEEP FAIR CAMEL?
May 30, 2006 12:06 PM

My last entry Nature and Illness related how our ancestors viewed illness as being out of harmony with Nature. The story of the Chinese Rainmaker and Greek healing centers are related examples of balancing. The “how to” of balancing oneself was accomplished through entering the silence and paying attention to dreams that revealed aspects of being which were out of harmony.

A few weeks after writing those thoughts, a film appeared entitled “The Story of the weeping Camel”. The film had no English narration and it was shot on location (Gobi desert) in a semi-documentary manner.

It is about a family of Mongolian camel herders who deal with a crisis when the mother of a newly born while camel rejects her offspring. The herders live in an isolated place within an extended family. There were several generations living together.

The mother Camel endures two days of labor and appears not to be able to give birth. Two of the herders finally intervene and pull the colt out of the mother. The mother then refuses to nurse the colt and the herders try various means to force it. They keep pressing the colt to the mother and they tie the mother’s legs apart so that the colt can have access but to no avail. They finally milk the mother and endeavor to feed it to her offspring but this also fails. Force fails. The colt is not being nourished and the herders fear the worst.
When all seems hopeless, and elder speaks up to remind them of an ancient ritual that could bring the mother back to her natural nourishing nature. The elder is an old woman who is seen offering food she prepares to the four corners of the world before having the family eat. She lives in a sacred world and shows honor to the sacred.
She says that a violin is needed to perform the ritual and it is quickly decided that two boys should ride their camel to a community center in order to request the violin teacher to come to their home to play for the ritual. The boys travel through ragged territory but succeed in their quest. The teacher agrees to return to play the violin. While they are at the center the youngest of the boys joins other children watching television. The boy is clearly enthralled.

The mother camel moves toward her colt and she lets it feed. Somehow the music transmits harmony with nature and the mother is restored. Perhaps nature becomes out of balance with the human interference but the film is a powerful demonstration of the idea that nature can be restored through music.

The documentary ends with a scene of a satellite disk being erected at the tent so that the little boy can watch TV. Ironically, the enactment of the time honored ritual leads to the beginning of the end of their ancient lifestyle.

Does the Camel Weep from music of the heart or does it weep from the installation of TV?

Things change and it is within the change that we must learn to still find a means to balance one’s life with nature.

Close your Eyes, Breathe out 3 times.

Now hear and experience the music that stills your heart.

Breathe out 1 time.

Know that it is rhythm that balances your body and soul.

Breathe out 1 time.

See, sense, and experience yourself in balance.

Until Soon,

FXCggg

NATURE’S GENIUS AND THE DEEPER SELF
May 30, 2006 12:01 PM

In ancient Rome the word genius meant an invisible guardian or companion who travels with one throughout life. Prior to the Roman Empire, Greek philosophers referred to the same entity as a daemon and later, the Christianized world called it a guardian angel.

The existence of an entity that knew the truth of our nature’s will was accepted by all three societies. In Plato’s The Republic there is a section called “Myth of Err” which relates a near death experience of a soldier named Err. He is wounded and leaves time. He returns to the world of beginning where he witnesses disembodied souls awaiting rebirth after having arrived from previous lives. Essentially, each soul is given a daemon and a life mission. During the birth process, memory of the mission is forgotten and life’s task is recalling it. The daemon is there to assist but it needs to be contacted.

Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius said:
"Must I grumble at setting out to do what I was born for, and for the sake of which I was brought into the world? You have no real love for yourself: if you had, you would love your nature, and you nature’s will." (Meditations, Vol 1 pg. 77)

To love one’s nature will usually pit one against one’s culture and time. It is a task for heroes. Finding and living one’s nature, no matter what the cost, is the movement to one’s deeper self. This is the movement from work to support oneself, to a career where one broadens the work experience and receives rewards and finally to vocation where one can hear the inner voice (Latin: vocus). This voice is one’s soul speaking or listening to one’s daemon, genius, or angel. Vocation has a passion that is lacking in work or career.

To hear this call take courage and boldness. It is the call our Deeper Self.

Several hundred years ago, Goethe said, "Whatever you can dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

In the tradition of classical thought, Goeth’s hints that genius can be found in the world of dreams and imagination. This world separate from everyday thought and expectations. It takes courage to enter these realms and more so to take what you encounter there seriously. One way of looking at psychopathology is to see it as the suffering of the soul (Greek, Psyche) seeking it nature’s will in opposition to its conditioned expectations. Another way to contact our nature’s will is to recall that which we most enjoyed doing as a child. Did we like drawing, singing, building, and writing and when did we stop this activity? Return to it and play at it. Jesus tells us that we must become as a child before we can enter the kingdom of heaven.” When you play like a child you will experience openness to the unknown and you will learn what you were born to do.

On rediscovering and early passion, William James offers a clue as to how to maintain it, "There is a law in Psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly how you have been picturing."

EXERCISE:

For the next week recall an activity of your childhood that you loved doing and one that you no longer do. Then picture yourself doing this activity (even if it makes no sense) 3 times a day for 7 days. The picturing need take only a few minutes.

As you practice this exercise, pay particular attention to your dreams for the week. Write your dreams down. If you feel that you have connected to something meaningful continue doing the exercise for the next two weeks. This is 21 days in all.

Good seeking and Listening.

Until Soon,

FXCggg

NATURE AND ILLNESS
May 30, 2006 11:57 AM

Early on a Sunday morning, a few weeks ago, I was riding a horse in a southwest desert

Logic indicated that the horse new the desert trail well but the sight of those cliff-edge drops and hairlines ascents would have scared me witless on other occasions. Something inside me that morning told me to do and what not to attempt. I gave in to trust.

As I relaxed, I began to notice that the vast desert around me also trusted nature.
The desert works. There are varied forms of intense life and beauty there even though there is so little rain.

I momentarily wondered what the “it” was referring to when I say “it is raining” but could not arrive at a satisfactory explanation. My thoughts shifted to a story told by Carl Jung about a Chinese rainmaker. My reverie was constantly interrupted by new experiences; the dust, the dryness, the hollow sounds, the foreign smells, being with the horse and my sense of awe at my strange surroundings.

Jung got his story from his friend Richard Wihelm who maintained it to be true.
Wihelm translated the I Ching (The Chinese Book of Changes) and had great insights on Chinese culture. This is how Wilhelms’s story went:

A village in China had been experiencing a draught for several months and the villagers had tried every method they ever heard of to get it to rain. They danced, they sang, they prayed with a priest and all to no avail.

Their crops were dying, their livestock too, and the villagers were desperate. An elderly came forth and informed the village about an old rainmaker who lived far away. It was decided that that they would send for him.

After many weeks the ancient rainmaker arrived in the village. He was old and unassuming. He walked through the village and when the desperate villagers asked him if he could help, he said he would try.

He told the villagers that he would need a small swelling in the village to stay in by himself for 3 days. His only other request was that someone leaves a small bowl of rice outside his door each morning. He was given a house and the villagers watched it round the clock. Nothing unusual happened.

Finally, on the third day, rain teemed from the sky, snow fell on the high ground and
Moisture filled the region. The villagers were ecstatic. They rightly felt that life had been returned to them.

Richard Wilhelm sought out this old rainmaker and asked him what he had done to bring about the rain. The old rainmaker said that he had done nothing at all.
He went on to relate, however, that when he entered the village he felt it to be extremely our of harmony with nature. It affected him. He believed that if he could balance himself it could be passed on to the other people of the village and once they were harmonized, Nature could do its work.

There in the desert, under the guidance of my new relationship with my fine horse, the clarity of what I have believed all my life hit me with renewed force.
Nature, when in balance, can heal.

Today, when a sick person goes for medial treatment, the illness is attempted to be treated by control. The patient is never asked about whether or not his/life is in balance.

In ancient Greece, healing centers were mainly concerned with balancing a patient’s life in relation to the various Gods. The gods represented different aspects of living and when it was found that a certain God (form of being) was out of balance, the patient was instructed on how to acknowledge a balance their neglected part. The out of balance-ness was found through paying attention to dreams had while at the healing centers. The priests and priestesses would assist the patient in understanding the message of the dream. The message of the dream showed the un-balanced parts of the patient’s life. Then the patient could act to balance his own life in order to achieve healing.

Close your Eyes and breathe out 3 times.

See, sense and experience yourself riding a horse into a vast desert.
Experience yourself trusting the horse. Give into the nature of the horse.

Feel your own nature. Feel where your life is out of balance with your nature. See and know how to correct the imbalance.

Know that too much civilization makes an animal sick
And too much animal prevents civilization. Live this paradox and then open your eyes

Do this exercise for seven days in the morning.ggg

POET AS A PLUMBER
May 30, 2006 11:52 AM

Recently, a friend shared a poem with me, first published in Paris on April 1, 1922 by Edna St. Vencent Millary:

A Mile of Clean Sand

I will write my name here, and the trouble that are in my heart.
I will write the date and place of my birth,
What I was to be
And Who I am.
I will write my forty sins, my thousand follies,
My four unspeakable acts....
I will write the names of the cities I have fled from,
The names of the men and women I have wronged.
I will write the holy name of her I serve,
And how I serve her ill.
And I will sit on the beach and let the tide come in.
I will watch with peace the great calm tongue of the tide
Licking from the sand the unclean story of my heart.

Accumulated guilt blocks the life of the soul. " The unclean story of my heart' clogs the soul and the unclean story of my soul clogs the heart.
Stagnation occurs at the point where our experience is clogged with the external shield’s and shouldn’t of our lives. We hear only the imperatives of those from whom we seek love and acceptance and the anguished cries of those we feel we have failed. Without inner movement, we cannot hear our soul's voice and it's longing to be reborn. To "ill" serve" "her" is to not recognize the feminine or more interior aspect of ourselves.

A plumber unclogs a drain in order that it may perform its task of discarding waste within the system putrefies and brings stench. The malodor blocks out all our others senses and we gag. A plumber restores the natural balance by restoring the proper function of elimination. We know that blockages in the body which prevent elimination causes physical ills and we have remedies that restore balance and elinimate waste.

When noxious contents get backed up in our consciences and are not eliminated from the mind, they serve to obscure and separate the soul, the interior, from our lives. The "smell" of our self-disgust gags us and we flee from our deeper self. We refuse to look inward. It's too painful.

In ancient times the poet's work was considered to be the translation of the divine voice into words that mortals could understand. In the more recent past, religious practive often served to expiate blockages and return open receptivity to our living selves. Have we lost access to either grace? It may seem that we are left to plumb along as we work to unblock this invisible pathway.

A mile of clean sand contains a divine inspiration that can assist the modern plumber. It can be translated to practice that enables inner movement and shifts the guilt buildup that stains the shining light of our soul.

Close your eyes. Breathe our 3X
See, sense, and experience yourself standing on a mile of clean sand.
With your finger, write your name and the trouble of you heart in the sand.
Write the date and place of your birth.
Write what you were told to become.
Write who you are now.
Write your "forty" sins and many follies."
Write 4 of your unspeakable acts.
Write of places you fled and the names of those you have wronged.
Now see the tide come and surround your words.
Now experience the licking from the sand of the unclean story of your heart.
And the dragging it out to the dept of the sea.
See and experience a mile of clean sand.
Do this exercise for 6 days in row; know that you are claming out dark inner clouds.
On the 7th day..........Breathe through nine slow exhalations.
Again see, sense and experience yourself standing on a mile of clean sand.
You’re writing nothing.
The tide rushes in it covers your feet with salt and sandy water.
The tide quickly retreats revealing the name of the inner one, you
will serve and your name before you were born.ggg

THE VERTICAL AXIS
May 30, 2006 11:44 AM

Imagination and the Vertical Axis: Remembering the Invisible

Imagination can be used as a practice that enables one to open one’s heart to the realm of the invisible. Through the imagination, we can enter the vertical ladder of mystery. In
Modern times we have neglected this resplendent arena for the sake of analytical certainty. If something is not measurable in quantity it is considered not to exist.

The ancient world had rituals and practices that were constant reminders of humanity’s relationship to the invisible. The realm of meaning. Through imaginable practice we can enter the vertical axis and experience as our ancestors did the qualitative rather than the quantitative, the immaterial rather than the concrete, the mysterious rather that the profane. The imaginable realm, when entered with intentions can take us away from measurable reality into the world of possibility.

The verticality of the imaginable movement in ancient times can be witnessed through mythology and in their physical structures. The Egyptian pyramid and obelisks proclaim an obvious verticality. Isis dug up the pieces of Osiris buried beneath the ground and remembers him to new life. The Greek Gods resided on top of Mount Olympus while their rites of initiation and their healing sanctuaries lay beneath the ground. Hercules had to face Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underground. Homer writes of Jason and the Argonauts undergoing initiation at elusion mysteries on their way back home from claiming the Golden Fleece. He states that after they descended into the mysteries they returned with “Shining Faces” and their lives were changed forever more.

In nature, the seed is planted beneath the ground and new life arises. Are we not part of nature?

Moses trudged through the sands of the desert for 40 years before ascending to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. He later rose from the dead and thus Christianity begins.

Archeologists have discovered in Europe hundreds and hundreds of pre-historic caves thought to be places of initiation into the other worldly realms (invisible). Scholars believe that in these caves, the initiates enacted proscribed rituals and emerged transformed.

Today, we are out of alignment with the invisible realms. The closest we come to rites of initiation is the practice of Sabbath within the western monotheistic traditions. Sabbath can be understood as a stopping of the horizontal existence (everyday life) so as to align with the invisible verticality. This practice has weakened over the centuries through unreflective repetition.

Here is and imaginable exercise that will enable you to remember the invisible:

Close your eyes and breathe out 3 times.

See, sense and experience yourself within a deep cavern where it is extremely cold. You are below the earth’s surface. It is very cold there. You find a crystal bowl with water in it.
There is a wondrous red fish in the bowl. You realize that the water is beginning to freeze.

You experience yourself taking the fish bowl to the livable climate and as you ascend you realize that you are also moving to the climate of true Self. Arriving at the climate see, sense, and experience yourself and the fish full of Life!!

Open your eyes and live this self.

Until Soon,

FXC
ggg

JOURNEY TO SELF
May 27, 2006 03:06 PM

The Journey from cloud cuckoo land to reality lasted a long time. My progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out to the "...little cloud of earth that I am."
CG. Jung (written in his 8th decade)

"And there is a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own,
That kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do, determine to save the only life you could save." Your own.
Mary Oliver.....The Journey

"Descent to Self"

Close your eyes and Breath out 3-times and then continue to breathe without thought.

See, sense, and experience yourself within the clouds...You feel blissful as you float on a cotton-like breeze. You hear and angelic choir...you are enthralled by the experience.

You hear voices calling you onwards further into the sky. You hear voices calling you to the sea. You hear the call to the fire.
Breathe out...Suddenly a ladder appears in the Sky.
The Ladder descends...you feel and hear a voice within your heart calling for you to decend.

You now are beginingg the experience of descent...you are climbing downward...the air becomes thicker and you begin to smell smells...you feel rain falling upon your checks...you experience coldness. You experience yourself stepping down into the darkness....The cotton sea of clouds are calling you backwards but you keep your resolve to descend.

You are aware of leaving peace. You now feel fear...you become frightened ...your heart ponds aloud with fear of the unknown...you keep climbing down...you discover tears in your eyes...The cold wind blows the tears away ...you climb down into the wind...you decend into ludness the serenity of the sky above beckons you back up...The voice you now recognize as you own beckons you downwards...

Feel the tension of these opposite pulls.

As you near the bottom of the ladder...jump off and experience yourself landing upon the earth. Experience your earthened being and at the same time experience your boundless soul.
Sense and know yourself as the fulcrum of the opposition.

Write out these experiences and draw any of them you desire
Once you have written this experience out...begin the next seven mornings by experiencing your earthened body and the sound of your innner voice...follow it.

Until Soon,

FXCggg

CROSSING THE BRIDGE TO MORE LIFE
May 27, 2006 02:13 PM

"Anxiety is the dizziness we experience in the face of our freedom to change." -Soren Kierkegaurd

I have come to believe that any growth in life is preceded by anxiety. Birth is full of angst from the total dependency of the womb to th light of uncertainty. A child teething has pain and tension before the tooth breaks through. All Child development is heralded by anxiety but despite it, progression happens.

The anxiety of the first day of school calls us forward into more life.

Somewhere between boundaries, courage of youth and mid-life movement is slowed and in some situations it is at a standstill.
Lack of movement brings upon us greater forces of netropy and we bend to the gravity of what is expected of us and belief of our convictions" did not impress him but that "the courage to challenge one's convictions" is what brings about depth and growth.

"We would rather be ruined than change
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the present
And let our illusions die."


“Age of Anxiety” ~W.H. Auden

Challenging one's convictions is what is meant by climbing the cross of the present and naturally anxiety presences itself upon the climb. We cannot become what our soul demands until we face the illusions of our life. The "What can be" of our lives cannot become until we cross a bridge of anxiety which is the "What is" of our habits, beliefs, complexes and shadows.

The Bridge of Becoming

Close your eyes and breathe out 3 times.

See, sense, and experience yourself standing at a cave carved into the side of a mountain. You have a torch in your hands as you enter the cave. Inside the cave, you find three walls, (left, center, and right)
You find a chisel and a hammer in the cave. Now you carve into the left wall words or images of fears that prevent you from living your life more fully. Now experience yourself moving to the center wall and you carve beliefs and ideas that prevent you from becoming all that Soul demands. You now move to the right wall and you carve into this right wall habits, complexes and feeling of guilt and shame that continually undermine your authentic self.ggg

NEARNESS
May 27, 2006 01:22 PM

Today my senses were dull, dreariness filled the sky as well as the streets.

Paperwork and proofreading filled my desk. Reviewing my manuscript I was reunited with the words of "Kazantzakis" --- in his Zorba The Greek (p.51) he speaks of Zorba - he speaks of first experience of Life, he speaks agianst the dulling of everyday experience:

This is a leap that should be taken only after much inner work. Those untethered leapers of the first half of life become true believing fanatics, myopic ascenders and paradox avoiders.

The going down into the dpeth of self is frightening but it will eventually lead to the ascending vertically, which offer the choise which is the leap of self.

Exercise

Close your eyes and breath out 3 times.

See and experience yourself as having ascended from the deptshs of the frozen lake of last week' exercise and you are hoding the found object. Experience yourself climbing to the face, on your arms and hands, you feel the weight of the object you carried upwards with you....

Now you feel the wind becoming stronger and stronger -- you feel the force of the wind and an intense power -- you feel yourself being lifted and taken -- you are hoding your object for protection, and the vibrations of forces are taking you where they will.

Now see, sense, and experience yourself arriving at the landfall of your soul.

Know the area and experience your calling.

It is important to write out all your sensations, thoughts and images of this landfall and study it all week, knowing that your truth is dependent up this work.

Unitl Soon,

FXCggg

YOUR SOUL’S CALL - “UNIMAGINABLE DEPTH”
May 27, 2006 12:37 PM

The Poet Rilke instructs us to "Know that there is room in us for a second large and timeless Life.” This is a life beyond and beneath the social and cultural adaptation made in the first half of life. This large and timeless life must be searched for and found, it is not given to us. Where is this life found?

James Joyce points towards this destination in his novella “The Dead” when he states, “The world, I've come to think is like the surface of a frozen lake. We walk along, we slip, we try to keep our balance not to fall. One day there is a crack, and so we learn that underneath us is an unimaginable depth.”

It is here that we can claim what is wanted by our soul. Unfortunately, the culture does not encourage such explorations. We undertake this expedition during the second half of life. The strength, courage, and differential within us are not strong enough in the first half of life. The wisdom of nature is not appreciated nor do we recognize that we are part of nature in our first half of life. Ancient initiation into the mystery schools always involved a descent into the depths. This is the landfall of the soul.

Exercises: To be performed only once every 6 months

Close your eyes and exhale 3 times.

Know see and experience yourself on a frozen lake. It is very slippery and you are with a very trusted friend. You approach a hole in the ice, you take from your knapsack a long strong golden rope and you tie it securely around your waist. Your friend then ties the other end around a large tree on the bank of the lake. The rope is secure at both connections. Now you see and experience your descending into the hole as your friend slowly guides you and the rope downward. You experience yourself going deeper and deeper.

It is dark and you cannot see but you keep descending. Your rope is extremely long and after descending for what seems like forever, you enter the waters of light. You are no longer cold. Experience yourself being able to see far and wide. You continue to descend deeper and deeper into the illuminated depths. You feel the connection to the upper world by the rope, your friend, and the tree.

Now -- as you float within the endless dept of flight, reach out and grab hold of an object. It is a small object and you are going to bring it back up the frozen lake with you. Now pull on the rope to signal your friend that you are ascending. You begin to pull yourself upwards and upwards going through the light into the darkness and eventually into the light of everyday life on the frozen lake. Leaving the depth, you now behold your object of desire.

Breathe out 3 times.

See and know how this object is pointing to your second large and timeless life.

Now open your eyes and return to your life--when ready write and draw of this experience. Draw your found object and look at it for 7 days in the morning and in the evening.

Until soon,

FXCggg

WHAT IS VIRTUE
May 27, 2006 11:58 AM

"And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet act as the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.

So do you also:

Cut away all that is excessive,
Straighten all that is crooked,
Bring light to all that is overcast,
Labor to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the Godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine."

Plotinus, 270 A.D.

When Plotinus was writing about virtue over two thousand years ago, there existed a general understanding as to what was meant by virtue. He called on individuals to cultivate virtue and wrote on the metaphysics of how to attain it. What are our Philosophers writing about today? Are they mostly concerned with issues like Dewy's "Cash Value of Being"? Do we still have a common idea of what is meant by virtue?

I cannot guide you on your virtue but I can give you some imaginable exercises that Plotinus might have used so that your soul can speak to the subject.

I. Close your eyes, and breathe out 3 times counting backwards from 3 to 1.

Now in your imagination look into a full-length mirror and see what is excessive within yourself.

Breathe out 1 time....
Now see what is crooked within you.

Breathe out 1 time...
Now see and experience yourself chiseling away what you have found to be unwanted. As you chisel, see and uncover the beauty within.

II. Close your eyes again and breathe 3 times.

Now see, sense, and experience for yourself that which lies within the revealed beauty of the soul.

Breathe out...
See, sense, and know that chiseling is a forever task.
Open your eyes -- draw and write out these experiences.

Until soon,

FXCggg

WELCOME
May 27, 2006 11:01 AM

In the coming weeks I will be writing about imagination as a personal practice, which enhances health while putting ourselves in contact with the deeper self.

This “Self” has been quieted by noises of life and fear of death. The Self we need to discover in order to experience real life.

In the work of imagination, hope is a priority over actuality. Hope is an active responsible task, not a passive wish or fantasy. Practice is required and must be exercised. It requires one to surrender to the appearance of images and mystery. The Talmud has stated that Man's imagination is God's will. If we cannot see the possible, we are not able to concretize it.

Life is a mystery to be lived - we must not spend our time trying to control what is possible to control. Each week practices will be set forth here, which will enable you to make concrete what you see possible...and in so doing you may experience why you were born.

For now, I leave you with the enchanted words of Rilke...

"You must give birth to your images
They are the future waiting to be born
Fear not the strangeness you feel
The future must enter you long before it happens
Just wait for the birth
For the hour of new clarity."

PRESENT MOMENT

"Music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts."

"The Dry Salvages," ~T.S. Eliotggg




Praxis 1available now
images/available now.

Imagery Immunology and the Deeper Self

Guided Imagery Exercises By
Dr. Francis X. Clifton

mind imagination and freedom

Guilt, Imagination and Freedom: The Foundation of Psychotherapy Within Imagination

By
Dr. Francis X. Clifton

our Goal

The Center's mission is to teach the means of mobilizing energy through the use of mental imagery. Imagery activates the immune system and enables one to become more concentrated in achieving personal goals. Dwelling in the landfall of the soul/mind is applied psycho-neuro- immunology. This is a practice of applying attentional mind to our health, to our goals, and to our lives, despite our history

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