Addressing The Irreligious And Religious Alike

I will now address myself directly to everyone who noticed the religious language in my previous post, “The New Dharma Arrives Today”. Divine. Sacred. Logos. Tower of Babel.

Not to mention: Magic. Magick. Philosopher’s Stone.

I offended everyone with an agnostic or atheist ear before I even commenced to tell you all about the chief topic of the discourse, Lingua-U. Oh, the unbelievers might be too polite to say they were offended. They might simply be puzzled, confused, bored, or simply aware of a feeling like contempt or a self-superiority coming over themselves as their convictions about religion were seemingly reinforced.

I did this without even using the most ostensibly religious words: God. Gods. Goddess. Jesus Christ. Qur’an. Bible. Buddha. And so on. Irreligious persons noticed my use of religious language with a negative sentiment, while religious persons surely noticed my use of vague spiritual language with a similarly negative sentiment.

Even with carefully chosen language, it is difficult to gain credibility with a wide audience of believers and unbelievers these days. Fortunately, there is no need to appeal merely to one camp or the other. There is a place where the religious and irreligious can meet with common cause: awareness that religious and spiritual language is the source of great and seemingly interminable debate by believer and unbelievers alike.

The Meaning of Divinity
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Start Here: The New Dharma Arrives Today

I am ready to announce something wonderful the likes of which is more exciting than anything I have previously blogged about in over a decade of online writing, with a few possible exceptions. The New Dharma that I have referred to begins today.

What I am about to begin today is unlike anything I have ever previously done. It could very well be the first time that you have seen something quite like it. I for one am not aware of anyone else doing a project online of this nature. If you do, let me know!

Before I begin, I have a few words targeted to my current readership. As you are no doubt aware, Joe-Perez.com has served as a hub for my writings since November 2003. For more than a decade, I wrote well over 1,000 posts. Recently I have chosen to retire several hundred of those, not because they were embarrassingly immature (which is also true in some cases), but because I felt they would be distractions from the New Dharma that I have to offer. I left over 300 posts from half a dozen distinct blogs online, perhaps more than I ought to have, but I feel it’s important to give my readers a sense of where I have come from. I just don’t want you to get hung up on the many shifts in my perspective over the years. Down the road it may not be important to keep them online at all.

So today I have made an editorial move to help simplify my Web presence. Every post prior to today I have labelled with the category “Legacy Post”, and I have eliminated other descriptions. Moving forward, my posts will have the category “New Writings”. This will make no difference to many of you, but it is important for me to say it properly. Like the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in mid-life, I find myself with the need to re-invent myself in order that I may speak more clearly and be heard.

So now … what is it that is so important for me to say that I need to preface it with a declaration that my old writings are of a constitutionally different category than this one and others to come?

A Universal Language Arrives

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Two New Blogs Plus New Dharma Coming Soon, And Why I’m Asking You To Pay For Them

Dear Friend,

I would like to give you an overview of some key changes in my Web presence that you can expect between now and the end of the year. Within a matter of weeks I will have completed re-organizing my past writings into three categories: writings on Integral philosophy and spirituality which reflect my current views, writings directed specifically for the gay/LGBT community, and everything else. Some of my past writings in these two categories will be moved to one of these two websites: Gay Spirituality (basically launched for the first time) and Integral Blog. Everything else will remain on Joe-Perez.com. All three of these sites have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and I will do the best I can to stay socially plugged in.

Integral Blog is live on the Web and will be taking the shape I am envisioning in the next few weeks. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my Integral writings. For the first time, I am creating a site exclusively devoted to Integral philosophy and spirituality, wisdom and folly. My writings on this site will explicitly use the AQAL Framework and other tools in the Integralist’s toolbox such as the concepts of True Self and Unique Self. I very much want to create a site that builds connections within the Integral community, provides a source of news and views, and encourages education and dialogue. For the Integral revolution in consciousness to advance, it simply must have a healthy ecosystem in the blogosphere, and there is an opening for a site to play a critical role as a hub. Did I mention that I want to write daily? It’s a fine goal to strive for. I also want to see the site expand to include multiple authors over time.

My writings on gay spirituality have evolved considerably over the years. At this time, I have a new dharma related to Gay Spirituality which I will soon begin to elaborate. Building on the AQAL Framework described in my eBook Gay Spirituality 101, I will expound for the first time an Integral Gay Enlightenment teaching. The dharma will make it clear that I am articulating an Integral Gay Spirituality, not a variation of the postmodern school of thought by the same name which is very enmeshed in affirming gayness as part of the separateness of the personal self, but an evolution of it. Furthermore, I will make it clear that by “enlightenment” I do not mean any variety of spiritual individualism with its navel gazing and deification of the present moment. My own view is strongly Evolutionary and Integral, so I will be showing how gay identity is a source of wisdom at all levels of identity from the shadow to the personal self to the Supreme Identity. In my teaching, enlightenment carries a definite sense of integration into nature, culture, and society … accordingly, the new Integral Gay Spirituality site will include diverse commentary.

Finally, after certain Integral writings of mine are re-posted on the new Integral Blog and other writings of mine for a gay audience moved to Gay Spirituality, much of what is left is worth preserving. Some of these posts are six, seven, or eight years old. My “legacy” writings are what they are; they are markers on my journey. But of course I cannot continue to write as I did eight years ago. I have been working on new stuff — which I’m calling a new dharma — for more than four years. I have previewed glimpses of the poetry and language mysticism and calendary and esoteric thoughts on occasion, but the time simply wasn’t right for me to take the next step. I have shown you fragments of a mystifying variety, but there is a comprehensive vision with new spiritual literature, art, and technology ready to emerge. For the uninitiated, I am speaking of my poetry and thought influenced by the T’ai Hsuan Ching (the ancient Chinese esoteric classic known as The Canon of Supreme Mystery), and Lingua-U, the Language of Subtle Energy, among other projects. The new stuff is going to begin to come out slowly starting on December 22 of this year, a date picked to coincide with the solstice and the beginning of the Kalendar (a new Integral calendar of Sacred Time, one of the technologies in my toolbox). The new writings will show you how my contemplation and theorizing have evolved beyond the Integral framework into a style which helps me to be more at home in the world. However imperfectly, I am envisioning technologies and linguistic tools that can help humanity to evolve over the next 1,000 years … because we owe it to future generations. The writings have exerted a personal toll and inflicted deep spiritual wounds as well as gifts. If I could have abandon these writings, I probably would have. But I am stuck with them. They need to see the light of day, and I say let those souls who are likewise drawn to them come along for the ride.

There is one other thing I want to talk about. For the first time ever, I am going to begin to put some content behind a paywall, restricting its access to paid subscribers. My intention is to allow a certain number of free articles to be read every week, and additional page views would require a subscription for access. If you are interested in seeing the new dharma emerge on any of these three new or re-launched websites, I will ask that you contribute to my work in the world. The funds are needed to support this work for sure, but I don’t feel a need to justify wanting a source of income to pay the rent or medical bills. I have come to believe that there are many readers who are interested in my work (and future readers who haven’t discovered it yet) who are willing to support its author in bringing it forth into the world. If I don’t ask, I won’t receive.

I know I can do so much, much more good in the world with a paid subscriber base than without one. Two of my books are available in libraries throughout the US and I expect eventually my new writings will become books which will become freely available, so I am not preturbed at the thought of depriving anyone of knowledge on account of their inability to pay. All the content will be available to those who wait. At most freeloaders desiring everything all at once without restriction will be inconvenienced and discouraged from tackling my new writings, and I feel that is a necessary and therefore acceptable price to pay so that my work can continue to evolve. Although I am sure to lose some Web traffic, what good is mere traffic? I honestly don’t know that it does me any good or that I am doing any good simply by attracting more eyeballs to the pixels on my Web pages. I don’t want hits or clicks; I want readers who are committed to learning about and exploring the original dharma and literature and spiritual technologies that I am bringing into the world. I want deeper transmission and dialogue and relationships and fewer uninterested lookee-loos. If you’re moved by the dharma or the mystery or the Light or the Love or all of these things, let’s move forward together.

It feels good to get this off my chest. I’ve resisted asking readers to become paid subscribers for years.

I will be in touch with you again when each of the new websites launch or re-launch over the next several weeks.

Much love and many blessings,

Joe

Staying Present

There is an ancient enlightenment teaching from the East regarding the importance of concentrating the mind in the present moment as opposed to the past or the future. In this pose, inner peace is found as opposed to the turmoil of worry or remorse. Acceptance of the present moment is a key to liberation from suffering. Developing the skill of resting the mind in the stillness of the present is counseled for spiritual practice.

Enlightenment teachers today have developed these insights into spirituality into a totalizing, absolutistic teaching which is supposed to be self-sufficient for virtually every need and situation. If you suffer, it’s because you’re not experiencing the Be Here Now or Power of Now or something like that. It’s hard to argue with the wisdom of avoiding unnecessary inner conflict and being aware of the present moment, but I am certain that these teachings are too good to be true.

Consider the fact that only a small fraction of the human population – far less than 1 percent – is seemingly capable of sustaining a permanent focus on the present moment such that they do not need to pay attention to the past or future. It is wise to question if it is possible at all for anyone, though I imagine that if gurus are able to have followers take care of the “mundane” details of life for themselves, or if they can live self-sufficiently in a cave somewhere, then it is conceivable that they could rest in the present moment constantly. And they could also make themselves virtually irrelevant to the goings on of “mundane” humanity.

The Power of Now and other teachings which concentrate on the importance of “staying present” ought to be regarded as spiritual technologies, not absolutistic worldviews as they are sometimes presented or held to be. As a technology, I believe these teaching has the ability to generate positive spiritual growth and create more fulfilling and well-balanced lives if it is put into use. It also helps in the attainment of enlightenment, I think, though it is difficult to support this claim without a longer discussion.

So I would urge a practice of remaining awake and aware during the present moment as a matter of good spiritual hygiene, for all the reasons that have been pointed out by the proponents of the Here and Now technology. What needs to be avoided is the oversimplification of the spiritual life by making this teaching the totality of one’s spiritual practice. For all but a very few, that would be a serious mistake.

Meet Ken Wilber at Success 3.0

Ken-WilberAs you may know, I will soon be visiting Boulder, Colorado to attend the Success 3.0 Summit which is bringing together key thought leaders together to explore the impact that can be made by collaborating together and redefining success.

Among the folks who I am most looking forward to seeing is my friend Ken Wilber.  Owing to his health, I’m not sure whether he will appear by video or in-person, but either way is good. His bio as it appears on the site:

According to Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism, “the twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.” If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today. He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages. Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print.

Tony Schwartz, the president, founder, and CEO of The Energy Project, and the author of What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America, has referred to Wilber as “the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times.” Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D., the well-known professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy and Anthropology at UCI’s College of Medicine, believes “Ken Wilber is one of the greatest philosophers of this century and arguably the greatest theoretical psychologist of all time.” And in commenting on the scope and impact of Ken Wilber’s philosophy Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development, and the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentions that “After reading Wilber, it is impossible to imagine looking at the world the same way again”.

What makes Ken Wilber especially relevant in today’s world is that he is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”. As Wilber himself puts it: “I’d like to think of it as one of the first believable world philosophies…” Incorporating cultural studies, anthropology, systems theory, developmental psychology, biology, and spirituality — it has been applied in fields as diverse as ecology, sustainability, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, business, medicine, politics, sports and art.

Wilber explains the need for an Integral Approach in the following way: In our current post-modern world, we possess an abundance of methodologies and practices belonging to a multitude of fields and knowledge traditions. What is utterly lacking however, is a coherent organization, and coordination, of all these various practices, as well as, their respective data-sets. What is needed is an approach that moves beyond this indiscriminate eclectic-pluralism, to an “Integral Methodological Pluralism”, aimed at enriching and deepening every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others.

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In Media Res

joe-cowboyAfter taking a month’s writing hiatus to focus on my book series, I am back. Perhaps this is your first time reading about my projects and so you are joining me in media res. Welcome!

My books were advanced much in August but they are still a significant way off, and I do not want to spread myself too thin. Therefore my publishing on the website and social media will need to be light out of necessity if I am to finish the books on my planned schedule. You won’t be hearing much from me in the months ahead, but I am still working out of view.

The book series is called Kalen O’Tolán and is currently slated for release in three volumes plus appendices beginning in 2015. The publisher is not yet determined, and I am considering publishing the entire series in total online at www.kalenotolan.com (though I haven’t decided).

These are the working titles of the first four books:

Kalen O’Tolán: A Canon of Supreme Mystery

The Season of Yang: Rise of the Great Oracle (Kalen O’Tolán, Vol. I)

The Season of Yin: Fall to the Fathomless Ocean (Kalen O’Tolán, Vol. II)

The Season of You: Return to the Beckoning Stars (Kalen O’Tolán, Vol. III)

Appendix I: Lingua-U, A Unification of the World’s Wisdom of Sacred Word Traditions

The books do not fit neatly into a conventional genre but are partially inspired by the poetry of the ancient Chinese classic T’ai Hsuan Ching (The Canon of Supreme Mystery). These are poetic works, but they are also philosophical and divinatory books. They are sacred literature which aspires to provide a sort of guided tour of consciousness from the Symbiotic Station through the Unitive Station, step by step, in individual and collective dimensions.

There is a definite psychology in the books as well as philosophy, one which is Idealistic but not based on any extant school of thought. It is not empirically derived from research into human subjects. It is inductively derived from the structure of phonemes as they are arranged in Lingua-U. The book does not present a map of consciousness by means of which mental phenomena are interpreted; it provides a literary canon which articulates a complex cosmology in which the features of consciousness are induced.

The fact that this feat is even possible is nothing short of miraculous, in my view. Many spirituality books and poetry books are published every year. But how many aspire to use language in such a way that every phoneme is meant to mirror a comprehensive cosmology at the level of sound symbolism? One really must look back centuries, I think, to find comparable efforts. This is not to say that my books will succeed at achieving this sort of inspiration, but I am doing my best.

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Key Integral Tenets for Human Nature

stepsI have created a simple list of twelve items to summarize a not-so-simple thing. Incorporating elements of Ken Wilber’s “Twenty Tenets of All Holons” along with some insights from my own work and general AQAL Theory, I hereby present a list of tenets for describing human nature.

1. We realized that nothing in the universe exists on its own. Every being in the universe is incomplete on its own, and requires the redemption of every other being for its completeness.

2. Love is the basic nature of existence and this Love flows in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

3. The flow of Love from the Source to the Destination is the basic drive of evolution. We evolve by aligning ourselves with Love.

4. Fear is the chief opposing force of existence. It manifests in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

5. Our responses to Love and Fear take two primal forms: communion and agency, which are also the evolutionary drives to self-preservation and self-adaptation respectively.

6. Generally all things display a tendency to change according to the two primal directions: Same-Directed Love and Other-Directed Love, which put another way is the drive to self-immanence and self-transcendence.

7. As distinction-making creatures, human beings have perceived the patterns of existence through types of gender and sexuality. In communal forms, the female; in agentic forms, the male; in self-immanent forms, the homophile; in self-transcendent forms, the heterophile. Human beings come in these varieties and more.

8. Human development occurs along a wide spectrum of lines of growth: physical, psychosexual, aesthetic, identity, moral, spiritual, and more.

9. Spiritual growth tetra-arises in four dimensions: the individual’s interior life, the individual’s body, the culture, and the socio-economic foundation. These dimensions are sometimes called the Four Quadrants.

10. Growth may be characterized as enfolding greater and greater degrees of The True, The Good, and The Beautiful.

11. A variety of states of consciousness have been observed such as gross, subtle, and causal states. Practicing different states effects holistic development.

12. Incorporating growth in multiple quadrants and lines, states and types, integral development occurs vertically, producing growth in levels or stages. Put in the service of redeeming all sentient beings, wholeness arises out of partiality.
Do you like it? How would you improve these? You may comment on this thread or contact me privately with your impressions.

What Is Enlightenment?

10oclockFriend,

Welcome back! It’s been a while since I last updated this website. I’ve been busy elsewhere and I’ll have more to say about that another time. But first let me ask the question “What is Enlightenment?” and suggest a response.

To do so I must put on the hat of teacher for a while, but not out of grandiosity. I will teach you just as you teach me. I strongly encourage you to teach what you know about spiritual wisdom, and I’ll do the same. This is how the truth evolves and static knowledge grows into evolving wisdom.

Simply but not obviously put, Enlightenment is the “tenning” of Light. This is an insight that I have developed through my reflections on universal language mysticism. I have expressed this idea through the poem “The Five Secrets of Enlightenment” for Kalen O’Tolán (KOT). It reads in part:

A Secret of Enlightenment:
It is not an inner knowing
But an Enfolding of knowledge;
It is not a private feeling
But an Encounter with the Light;
Not Light stilled but its disbursement;
Not to be inured but endured,
Its brilliance, long-lingering.

A Secret of Enlightenment:
It is not One-ness but One-ment.
It nears its end how Human ends –
With men tending to turn to Truth
Or women trusting in the Way.
In present it’s Meaning itself
It sees the past and what it meant
Enriching the future with Insight.

Read the full poem.

THIS is the core of my teaching on Enlightenment. It is precise. Every word is carefully chosen. It is also a work in progress and will likely be modified as time goes by.

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Letting Go of Mediocrity

trash-672x372
I’ve been taking spring cleaning quite literally when it comes to my online presence. I have been reviewing over a thousand posts that I wrote over a ten-year period of time and throwing many of them away.

Actually I’ve really just been making some posts a bit more difficult to find while making other posts much easier to find. But it feels like I’m tossing some 700 or 800 posts in the recycling bin. I am not yet removing them from the Internet, but they will be more difficult to discover.

The worst part has been realizing that some 80% of the posts that I wrote over ten years just aren’t very good, in my opinion. I held an overly positive view of the quality of my writing output and upon a fresh look so much of it appears ephemeral, dispensable, mediocre.

The degree of narcissism in a few of the posts strikes me today as almost shocking. I had a real chip on my shoulders because my writing was never as popular as I felt it ought to be, so I spent a bit too much time all but telling people that they ought to be paying attention because it was SO important.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. One of the blogs I maintained, Until, was written when I had only dozens of T-cells and was suffering from multiple “mystery illnesses” which made every waking hour a living nightmare. It’s amazing I could write anything at all.

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What is WE Spirituality?

we-spirit-banner

Today’s “none” and “spiritual, but not religious” lifestyles have made positive contributions but have also given rise to an unhealthy individualism. Arising in the midst of a narcissistic and escapist culture, Integral World Evolutionary spirituality takes a giant leap forward in the direction of deep authenticity, social engagement, and planetary consciousness.  WE spirituality insists that enlightenment can be a goal for everyone, and no one can get there alone.

World Evolutionary spirituality is a movement grounded in the realization of Unique Essence with All-That-Is. It transcends spiritual individualism in favor of an Integral humanism in which the Divine is joyously discovered. The result is an emerging Integral worldview which is gaining ground wherever the false “I” gives way to the WE. The focus is not on “my feelings” and “my desires” or “my experiences” but on the arising field of Divinity in the midst of a world needful of our awakeness, aliveness, and awareness. This worldview is sometimes called “Integral” because it makes room for more truth, more reality, than any other life philosophy. It even makes room for anyone who resists or rejects this evolutionary calling.

It’s an exciting time. As Integral Life says:

We live in a fascinating time, bearing witness to the intersection of several great eras, like massive tectonic plates colliding: a 5000-year bedrock of traditional values, 500-year era of modernity and rationalism, a 50-year run of postmodernism and pluralism, and now the rise of an entirely new era, yet to be named (though we might like to think of it as “integral”). And in the middle of this historic collision emerges, for the very first time in human history, a new kind of planetary civilization that operates with real-time awareness of every corner of the globe.

Storytellers for a Planetary Civilization

Let me tell you a story about the Way Things Are from my point-of-view. It’s a unique perspective informed by my own spiritual autobiography which was published as Soulfully Gay. To expand upon my personal philosophy, the mystery of existence is a Divine Comedy in which the Source of All reveals its essence in the course of time. Evolution is the way in which human beings become aware that human nature is part of the Divinity of reality — that is, its wholeness. Involution is the way in which the Divine becomes Self-aware of its nature as humanity — that is, its partiality. Evolution and involution are complementary forces, movements of the Divine itself, and together they are the driving forces of Spirit.

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