Here's a major essay on growing up that I posted yesterday to my facebook page How To Make Heaven On Earth, and being so long belongs here in this blog as well. Enjoy!
IMAGINE A LIFE THAT IS REAL: As I get older, I learn more about the differences between what's fantasy and reality, and the differences between what's reality and real. Actually the lessons aren’t all that hard, but society doesn’t make them easy, with all kinds of distractions, misconceptions, and ego fodder to keep us busy for lifetimes with wayward companions. But since society is a product of the self (not really the other way around) I can see how I’m facing my own reluctances to grow up. Old habits die hard, as we tend to go kicking and screaming into that adulthood for which we need to give up on our perfect dreams born of simpler times. A big one: we’re never going to finally get that perfect parent figure who takes care of us, regardless of how much relabeling we do to not embarrass ourselves. “What, me want to be a child all of my life? Don’t be silly! Of course I’m not looking for a mother or father to reward me for being a good boy or girl, that’s ridiculous. No, I’m just expecting that if I follow the rules and do what I should, then government, God, employer, society, spouse, etcetera should meet all my needs and make me so happy. Love me in other words; is that too much to ask for? And if they’re not doing their part, if they’re messing me up, then I have every right to feel betrayed and afraid, helpless and hopeless, throw tantrums and blame, and play or work harder until they appreciate me and make everything better, right? Right? Oh wait. Um, never mind.”
The job of children is to play to stretch their imagination and senses, not to be practical and run a life in a world they can’t yet understand – that’s what the adults around them are for. Unfortunately, most of us had parents who were themselves still children inside looking to be taken care of, with varying degrees of outward display of this fact. They were busy trying to get us to behave and be good for them, with little capacity to understand themselves much less understand us and teach us real self-love and self-care. So in ways that were subtle or obvious, the children had to be parents to the parents, in hopes of getting their needs met someday, and this pattern carries on into the rest of life. We develop all kinds of habits of trying to love to get love, rescue in order to be rescued, blame before we are blamed, indulge and compromise and wait, as we entertain ourselves in extended childhoods that consume the resources of a planet which increasingly needs to be wisely managed by a high-impact humanity that didn’t want to grow up.
Those who act more responsibly than little kids tend to get stuck in the next phase of life, that of the adolescent, whose job it is to enjoy practicing adult responsibilities with no real abilities to follow through, only look good and fake it while they keep growing up. Teenagers can be incredibly sophisticated, able to display amazing talents and skills in theory which fall apart in practice, as they quickly cave in to inexperience, insecurities, peer pressures, and anxious defenses. Adolescents are adults in training, who need more validation, guidance, and love than ever, for a world that’s bigger and bolder than they dared to imagine, as encountered from within their own powerfully functional new bodies to match.
So look around now and ask yourself, how many of those accomplishing people making it big today are really just overgrown teenagers still winging it through their grandiose plans and insatiable desires, able to get by until they can’t, quick to be imitative, rehearsed, competitive, idealizing, idolizing, avoidant, rebelling, judgmental, and compulsive for the attention that might make them feel as good as they hopefully look? Gosh, and what about me, as I go through the motions of a responsible adult life, doing great and enjoying adult pleasures even as I live in secret fears of what’s waiting for me around the next corner, hiding the fact that I’m more needy than ever and half the time wishing I could just be a child taken care of again!? Yes, sad to say there aren’t all that many fully reliable real adults living in the world today, as most people imagine and wish for more of what they had when they were younger, or more likely what they never got and no one but themselves can give it to them now. It’s time to grow up, in ways that will be more fun and satisfying than our hurt younger selves could have ever imagined in the dysfunctional training of the dangerous grups (an original Star Trek term for terminally ill insane grown-ups from whom the children had to hide and fear puberty). But to attain our overdue liberation we have to be willing to become realistic with our fantasies, and discover what was real all along.
I’m reminded of a popular quote from that great American satirist and conscience prodder Kurt Vonnegut, who said "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." This snappy little barb is understandably funny and scary as a political favorite. But it’s also more poignant than most people realize, because it’s circumscribing the adolescent panic that each of us needs to feel and then ask ourselves why. It’s not enough to just point the finger of blame, because sooner or later that finger always points back to its owner, and we’re each responsible for our own reformation. We’re each members of any set that to our credit we may be pushing to leave. Vonnegut’s terror was his own at himself, as was dipping in to feel how much he’s been expected to grow up along with everyone else. If he had tuned into this planet’s spiritual adults and the incredible power of human evolution, Kurt would have been far more hopeful and grateful to be alive, but instead he couldn’t relate much beyond his own condemning high school superiority.
Vonnegut’s dead, so I guess from a position outside of the set he can finally see why he felt the way he felt and said the things he said. Unfortunately, healing by dying is incomplete, that's why we have to go back again, to retrieve and relive the rest of ourself and hopefully get to a different end. In his past life Vonnegut was Mark Twain, a nearly identical legendary American author. Check it out, they’re dead ringers for each other, and constitute one of the more convincing no-brainer proofs for reincarnation. So we’re talking about a truth-telling soul here who’s been helplessly brilliant and scared for many lifetimes, not yet revealing his full inspirational potential to humankind. For all the good that he did (and he did a lot), Twain quotes remain the favorite of curmudgeons, atheists, conspiracists, and misanthropes everywhere, because they are so incredibly acerbic and indicting of human downfalls.
I’ll never forget my shock at the degree of seething judgmental rage that a former coworker who idolized Twain would leak out like a trail everywhere he went, or perhaps even more alienating to me, how much everyone else admired this guy for his entertaining tales of world travel, political activism, and cultured knowledge that always ended badly in who was to blame for everything wrong. This quasi-friend of mine was also an incredible mirror to me, as I discovered synchronicities in our heritage going well back to German great grandfathers. The fellow is dead now from cancer, that modern pandemic of sublimated anger which changes us when we won’t change otherwise (Twain by the way died of a heart condition, and Vonnegut of a brain injury from falling down the front steps of his own home). Although he didn’t believe in an afterlife, I trust that my former coworker is learning his lessons now on the other side, with his own best friends and growth companions (they aren’t necessarily the same sets, you know).
So, little kids with little toys play, to imagine the things that aren’t in front of them for some mastery, while adolescents are big enough to enjoy adult gear and immerse themselves in the feelings and thoughts that can blow them away. It’s all good, it only gets ugly when people don’t understand and can’t just keep moving along. God has a plan for us each to fully awaken, so God created nature as a kind of conveyer belt that will take us through the stages of development that we need to arrive into our full divine power. The more we get the help we each need to stay on the track, the more that every step of growing up is a safe, fun, eye-opening experience of love in training. Mistakes are manageable, good mentors find us to tell what things mean, we discover our skills in time to meet the most serious requirements, and change is the magical friend on the journey that always gets better. No wonder a free healthy child is wide-eyed with wonder and love, full of enthusiasm for a life full of learning! “Is that something new? Oh please yes, a new adventure, complete with more friends!”
But the more we are burdened and shamed and attacked through the years by the ones who were scared because they never grew up, the more we have to make coping compromises of our own to survive. We may arrive into adulthood more dead than alive, crippled from reactions born of fear and ignorance, looking and feeling really bad from all the self-preserving defenses that we were advised to construct on the way. We become heavy and buried in our shields and armor: things like the merciless ego that says we're better (or worse) than anyone else, and beliefs that life is a senseless horror show, just take what you can and get out of here. The spiritual intention is to rise out of the muck when we're ready to clean ourselves off (like the lotus, you see), but it’s easy to see only junk and forget who we are. One day we look in the mirror and realize, oh shit, I’m no better than those I condemned for messing me up, and now I’m one of them. Oh sure I’m not exactly the same, I’ve got my own flavor and spin to my negativity. But I’m thinking and saying and too often doing the broken stuff too, and adding to the pain of the world. I’m a grup now, I can feel it; I’m a compulsive disease spreading germ of a human being. First they did it to me, now I’m doing it back and passing it on. I’m not fit to exist - that’s what you will think or feel like in despair - and in this state alone you are right, even if it is not all that you are.
Stop! Stop whatever abuses you can wherever you can, let softness enter, and pray to something greater than you to be saved. Give it a try, dare find out what’s real. When you’re at the end of a long troubled road, the only antidote for so much shame is to start over, with the imagination of a child and the passion of an adolescent and the caring of a parent and the best and worst experiences of all three, but all working together now under the new hope of a spiritual adult. Imagine that God is real, and reality wasn’t just a cruel joke or mistake. There was a good reason buried for everything that happened, and in fact it’s still happening. Imagine that there is still a miraculous seed remaining at the heart of your tattered dreams that kept you alive, something more real and amazing than all of the misconceptions and pain that obscured your vision for most of your days that got you this far. Where there is life there is hope, and thank heavens you are still alive. Begin to imagine a real life, and be willing to be more grateful than surprised when the magic returns to make you divine, when yesterday’s failed hopes become today’s miracles in the light of a new and more real tomorrow.
So, can we say yet what is real? Certainly not this tinker toy building block stuff that we call our reality; it’s so incredibly useful, but too flexible, too easily misunderstood and misused to guarantee that a good will come of it. That has been both the problem and the gift, that people have tried with their reality creations to fix the real outcomes for all participants, and they can’t. Everyone remains free to feel something different, think something different, go their own way - good or bad you can’t stop them from finding what they’re looking for. Reality is an empty container, a vessel waiting to be filled, a basket of props on a stage. What is your play, your theatre, your cue for a line? You make reality do what you want, you create your own reality.
But energy, that's something else. Energy is real and persistent, hauntingly so. The patterns of meaning for you, the emotional experience you get from the things on parade, that is most real and lasting and true. What makes one person happy may make another one sad, or even what triggers happiness for you one day may cause you pain in tomorrow’s context (a most alarming situation for addictive personalities who seek to control their own pleasure buttons), but happy and sad are themselves absolute. It’s funny, people call them abstract, these energy states, and represent them with so-called concrete things that are in fact far less concrete or universal. Each individual passing through the same life situation is coming from and going to their own choices for what they want to experience, and while the degree can vary to which their goals become manifest or made visible for all to see and agree that is that, nobody can take your own experience from you. This means that while you may temporarily feel patterns from the impact of others - overlays of energy that can compel you to do things that won’t feel right for you - sooner or later you’ll let go the false and head for the true, homing in on the center of subjective experience that’s you.
You have your own divine path of true feelings through everything, and that is why people who are discovering their spirituality get really into symbols and synchronicities and talk about incredibly subjective perceptions that are hard to explain to someone who isn’t having a similar experience. Of course, those who don’t get you can think you’re just making it up, because you look like the kids who imagine something that’s not there with their toys. But you know what’s real. The people who don’t understand are just looking at a different emotional experience, they’re in a different real place and phoning themselves in to you, having a telepresence in the shared forms of a reality that's been manufactured for us all to use. Are those people on TV really inside the box or up on the wall? Of course not, but you don’t have to know what studio they’re broadcasting from, or even when they recorded their show, to react and respond and get to know them here and now.
Of course, the more you become real and self-aware in your own reality, the more you can filter out the effects of yourself, to guage and evaluate the consciousness of other people. This is commonly called getting past your own ego, and in the TV metaphor it means you can react less to the actions directed at you, and pay more attention to the broadcast quality, themes and agendas of the show, and whether it’s live or taped. Obviously if you’re yearning for a real conversation, you don’t just start talking to a movie or series rerun. You need a live two-way connection, a video conference that goes beyond watching the prescripted performances that adolescents will favor and hide themselves in. So this is when reality can become real, as you and a friend can both be in the same place emotionally, sharing energies, regardless for how far apart or close by your world says you are. The real universe is not limited to time and space, after all - distance is a measure of closeness in thought and feeling. You can be in the same room or across the galaxy, in the same human bodies or totally different forms, and still be right there together, sensing and touching and affecting each other.
Imagine then, that imagination is where the real journey begins. Not all consciousnesses choose to grow physically, but the ones who do have done so for a very good reason. They know that a physical life was just the right help that they needed, the handle on what is real which they would require to take them all the way Home. So when you’re ready to embrace your own destiny and paradise, start where you are, and trust your decision to be alive at this time. You won’t be done with the set til you can make a good use of yourself. Your life may not turn exactly how you thought it would go, but that’s only because it can be so much better, by some measures of quality and depth that you hadn't considered before. The world is not simply mundane or profane – your every action on this planet is a sacred prayer, a ritual before God, a meditation on enlightenment, a dance of sympathetic magic, a resonant structure in which to become more alive with more love. You will not fully discover this however until you enter into the illusion itself, to make use of the unconscious tools that you buried there, to divinize and spiritualize not only yourself but the world around you. This is the pact that you made with God, this is the plan and the path that you set for yourself as a human being born unto Gaia.
Imagine to find a real life. You conceive of a plan, you start putting together some pieces of your reality, and you see what comes alive to share a part of the journey with you. Keep that part, let go the rest, build upon what is most real and important to you. Notice that accessible reality is becoming much greater than just the current physical time and space that you’re in. The expanded realm for experience available to you as a human being who is in touch with your soul includes the past, present, and future, vast and varied worlds of consistent thoughts and feelings that intersect in some places with you, and other dimensions beyond the reach of your imagination today but which are waiting for you to perceive their effect. Angels are real, so is God, Goddess too. Spirit guides and fairies, dragons, friendly extraterrestrials, demons and devils to be avoided unless you have something to learn, teachers of all kinds and so very much more - all are as real as the next door neighbor on Earth who, by their own use of your shared reality to further their own choices for real energies, is calling into form more influences than they can fully understand but to which they are vulnerable, exposed, and open. You’re doing much the same thing as well, so keep perceiving and conceiving the many kinds and amounts of love around you. Set boundaries, make choices, feel your progress as you change. Don’t underestimate the power of what you can imagine and begin to make senses of, even if at times you must assess and redress the mistakes that you make in sorting through to connect so many ideals and ideas, shapes and forms. To err is human, to forgive and live and let live is divine.
Don’t get sucked into the cults of groupies who say explicitly or implicitly there is no higher power and nothing beyond their own little world, when you can so easily know they are wrong. People for example who insist there is no afterlife or metaphysical realm have their own emotional reasons for saying so, perhaps even good ones as they focus themselves on what’s left to improve. You’re welcome to ride any bandwagons too, you just might want to jump off before they hit the wall hard. All systems have their limitations, which can be experienced as betrayal for what didn’t come or gratitude for what did, that is your choice.
Modern technology is taking humanity for a great ride, and the benefits don’t have to end after the limits are known. There are those who think the internet isn’t just another window on the collective unconscious (when in fact people have always networked in their dreams and synchronicities for example), that cellphones aren’t just a way of focusing telepathy, and happiness and love are only the right mix of brain chemicals that we can and should engineer. Such people even think that robotic bodies will one day make them into immortals and gods, and until then they can wait to be saved by technology (unless it fails them just like all the other saviors they tried). These people don’t understand that they’re worshipping their tools of experience, but any technology can only give you more access to the unconscious spiritual powers you already have. Nothing is real unless it’s symbolic, so tapping into a technique or entertaining a vision is just the beginning of self-discovery. People are already immortal and gods, just not acting from a sustainable understanding yet to choose that much power to love.
So then to balance in reaction come all the people of faith who condemn modern ways, who attack the science of bold humanity and say only God should have so much power, now we are surely doomed. And if you think I’m only talking about religious fundamentalists, think again – the new age has just as much dogma and prejudice against the useful technological realities of Earth’s spiritual evolution as the old churches they loathe to find themselves in (but past lives will take you into so many wonderful subjective places!) Well, now you can know better than all these extremes and more, as you tune into the real Spirit that’s driving the interconnected reality experiences of humanity growing up. It’s all good in the end, just different stages of development still unaware of themselves. There are angels in the cities as well as the countryside; there are devas of the higher orders ready to guide you through the hardest places and the longest detours you may find yourself on. There are ascended masters waiting for you in the heavenly realms, and some of them are even you in your own self-realized tomorrows.
Imagine and begin to discover the truest seeds of what was real all along. It's okay to slip up and fall short, to not get the point for a while. If you can’t imagine a thing in some fashion, then you won’t find your way into the actual experience later. The real road may be winding and long, as what excites you at first may change and evolve, and you turn a corner to realize that you set your sight wrong. But this is the nature of the path that you’re on. From an unseen spark of motivating inspiration that's real and partly felt, you create something in your reality to carry the magic as best as it can, and you build upon that as far as it goes. Did you build upon sand or stone? Walls may tumble down to reveal what was real and lasting - if so, start again with what you can learn. Don’t get discouraged, keep the treasures you find for your next cornerstone, learn to design in alignment with God, keep to that humbling long winding road. Yes, there are some shorter cut paths that many will take, side routes from the truth that run straight to false promised ends, glamorous ways that are wide with indulgent leniency or narrow with harsh discipline. But those are the quick direct lies that sound very good but leave people aching, compulsive, and empty inside. Only the real unpredictable path of a spiritual learning adventure, the reality consequences filled with so many surprises (they’re meant to be good!) will lead you in the end to the end that never ends: your eternal life. Trust and seek, ye shall find. The feelings will grow until you will know, as you learn to be free in good Time itself, that old precious friend you have known for so long on your quest for the heaven in Earth. Sometimes you’re going home. Sometimes you’re coming home. And sometimes, you’re already Home.
- Carl J. Schroeder, Saturday August 10, 2013
“Imagination is the doorway to perceiving what's real.”
(This is the phrase that came to me to accompany my photo from the Renaissance faire at Hammond Castle, Gloucester MA, July 28, 2013. John Hays Hammond Jr. was an eccentric genius inventor who also fancied himself a monk so that in the 1920’s he built a medieval castle which he called his Abbey by the Sea (Abbadia Mare) from many real European artifacts to serve as his home and laboratory. Late at night he would sit in monk’s robes and read by candlelight there, his refuge in a storybook life. A close protégé of both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell (his remarkable family was friends with Nikola Tesla, the Wright brothers, and many more), Hammond is second only to Edison in number of patents, mostly in the realm of radio control which he pioneered (he ran the first radio controlled riderless ghost ship around the harbor to terrorize the local fishermen, which led to the US navy hiring him for torpedo guidance systems), but also in diverse areas such as the first synchronizations of sound and image for the movie industry’s new talkies, and controls for the large 10,000 pipe organ he specially designed to resonate and shake his beloved castle walls (he wrote “nothing can reincarnate their spirit except to walk through rooms in which they have lived” – but no, he’s not the Hammond of pipe organ fame). John remains a controversial figure, as most seriously he was accused of treason when his inventions showed up in enemy hands during WWII (seems an assistant was the spy, but John had compromised his reputation when he dealt with the likes of Mussolini to acquire his castle parts), and furthermore he often fed a large ego that was given to high-tech pranks on his many famous visitors which included presidents, scientists, artists, celebrities, and more (he especially loved it when Gershwin would come play his piano), plus he dabbled in the occult later in life (the castle could use an energy clearing, after thrilling too many ghost hunters from nearby Salem). When my own spiritual growth broke through nearly 16 years ago to a depth of imagination that included our past lives and many simultaneous dimensions, I was called by dreams and intuition to John’s castle for further guidance and inspiration. Eventually I came to understand that John and I are eternal colleagues, and things that he felt compelled to do in his lifetime contained reasons and meanings far deeper than he was able to comprehend, a limitation which people like me and Emanuel Swedenborg work to change (I’m not saying I was Swedenborg, only that John led me next to study with him). It is time for humanity to learn more of the purposes of history for the making of heaven on Earth. We are all in effect remotely guided from our own higher selves, a fact we come to understand and make use of as we move into that higher consciousness position for this New Age of power which John instrumentally assisted to usher and make visible. Thank you, old friend, I finally know which monk you are to me now, assisting me as you did to write my visions down!)