Monthly Archives: August 2009

what kind of mind do you have?

i have this quote by socrates on the bulletin board above my desk: ‘great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.’ (and of course integral minds discuss all three…) looking up at this quote just now, it makes me think of americanized christianity in that most of its focus is on whether a particular person (jesus) existed and events that may or may not have occurred surrounding that person. in my own experience with other christians, i have seen relatively little exchange of ideas and meaning behind the person or events. it occurs to me also that gnosticism is a rare place where important ideas within christianity are actually discussed and not taken as literal givens.

i’m not saying i have a great mind, but would like to think that it’s above average. 🙂

you might be gnostic if…

yesterday i read the short but packed little book living gnosticism: an ancient way of knowing by jordan stratford. as i was reading, i kept doing little fist pumps and exclaiming ‘yes!’ under my breath (or maybe not so under my breath…). over the last decade or so i have evolved from being a fundamentalist born-again christian with some unanswered questions to someone who ‘believes’ in god, still with unanswered questions, and thinks that while religion is great at pointing at the ineffableness of god, it ultimately gets in the way of a person experiencing god. i saw the underlying truth of Religion, but the dogma and the myopia of it all basically turned me off (and still does). not being a fan of being labeled or pigeon-holed, i just saw myself as someone who loves god, someone who was the dreaded cliché ‘spiritual but not religious’.

while completing my degree last year, i read a number of books that discussed gnosticism in depth and have found that i’ve based much of what i believe now on what i read then. still, reading stratford’s book yesterday caused a light bulb to go off above my dreadlocked head: um, gail, it looks like you might be gnostic. this ‘label’ doesn’t even matter so much, as it’s not like there’s any sort of gnostic community whatsoever here in the mostly spiritually homogeneous midwest. however, it’s also nice to know that there are people alive today who seem to really get the nature of reality and also are in love with mystery and beauty and wonder and questioning. it’s okay to not know the answers and it’s okay to get a different answer than the person sitting next to you.

at any rate, over the last day or so, i’ve pretty much read through stratford’s entire blog as well as having looked at many other websites having to do with gnosticism. many entries from his blog stand out for me, but this one in particular, god and faith for the non-god-and-faith crowd, expounds much more eloquently than i ever could on my feelings about god and faith and belief. and this has caused me to look at all these various little elements in my life, such as this little altar i already have set up to honor the divine feminine (i’d take a picture, but my camera is off in europe without me at the moment) or my fascination with the matrix trilogy or the realization of how integral many elements of gnosticism are (or can be), and i wonder why i didn’t pick up on this last year, if not sooner. (i was probably stressed just trying to get my damn thesis done.)

most importantly, this has helped me to realize that it’s okay that i’m not a christian anymore. yet it’s also okay for me to embrace jesus and mary magadalene and the other apostles and other aspects of christianity, not because any of it is to be taken literally, but for what it all can symbolize and how it can help me in my quest to know myself.

i think this is all pretty dang awesome. 🙂

interacting with god

the sgc doesn’t get it. anytime he starts talking about god, he prefaces it with ‘i know you don’t believe in god, but this is what i believe,…’ and i’ve told him time after time it’s not god that i have the issue with, it’s religion, especially the abrahamic variety, and the people in power within religion saying you have to believe a certain narrow conception of god or else you’re doomed. and he doesn’t get it with his reminders that i don’t believe in god, because, in reality, as far as semantics go, he’s right: i don’t believe in god, because belief alone in any person, thing, or idea is not proof that the thing exists. belief is based on hope, based on having seen some evidence or some sort of hearsay that something is true, but you don’t know balls to bones (thanks, oracle) that the thing is absolutely, verifiably true. so i don’t believe in god, but i do experience god on a moment by moment basis. i have to remind myself of this sometimes when i pass the homeless man on the street, refusing to look him in the eye, because i know if i do look, it’ll be into the eyes of god. it is my belief (ha ha) that we are all manifestations of different aspects of god’s character, positive and not-so-much (isn’t god described in the old testament as being a jealous god, with jealousy being normally seen as a negative trait?). our interactions with one another and life itself are really nothing more than illustrations of the myriad of ways that god has found to interact with god. god is so much bigger than the bible, so much bigger than religion, so much bigger than we can ever fathom, but because i have a different experience of god than the sgc does, we can’t even be friends (which i’m not sure could have happened regardless). another relationship bites the dust.

and i know this is the very best thing that could have happened, the best case scenario given our history. we’ve had our issues and i still think he is a selfish prick and he thinks i’m crazy and overly materialistic and really it’s mutual that it’s ending like this. aspects of god’s character interacting, huh? didn’t i just post yesterday that this shit needed to end? still it hurts. i did, and do, have feelings for the asshole, and it hurts that, okay, this is really not going to work, once again. but the reward is in being true to myself, not pretending to believe something just so i can have a warm body next to me at night. yes, it hurts, but the pain is overshadowed by the joy of knowing what i know of god, and the knowing that things are perfect exactly as they are, unfolding as things always do.

crouching asshole, hidden agenda

this has got to die

this has got to stop

this has got to lie down

with someone else on top

-from the song ‘elephant’ by damien rice

this whole thing with me and my sociopathic gentleman caller (the sgc) is just getting ridiculous. i just need to cut him off and not be bothered with him anymore and get on with my life. today it’s something like 95 degrees out and i live on the 7th floor of a high-rise building with no air conditioner (but plenty of fans). earlier this evening, there was a knock at my door and i answered, thinking it was the pizza guy, since i had just ordered a pizza so i wouldn’t have to hang out in a hot kitchen and cook for myself. the knock turned out to be the sgc, holding a bag of raw chicken, wanting me to fry it for him. (mind you, i have never prepared fried chicken in my whole life.) he even noticed how hot my apartment was, but that didn’t stop him from insisting that my cooking his chicken would not make my apartment any worse than it already was.

i kept repeatedly saying no, and he kept insisting, and the only way i got him to stop was to offer him a piece of the pizza when it came. so we were waiting for it to arrive and i was trying to watch a movie i had just started (crouching tiger, hidden dragon) and he asked me out of the blue what i had planned for the next 20 years. i replied that i didn’t know, but i did know that for the next couple of years i’d be in library school and after i graduated i’d get a job as a librarian and go from. then he goes on this mini-rant about how education is useless; there are embezzlers and adulterers that have an education, so education has nothing to do with morality. he went on to elaborate that he wanted to know about my inner life, where i saw myself in 20 years. well apparently i have no trouble giving this information out to strangers via this blog, but there’s no way in hell i’m going to present him, the epitome of blue/amber on the spiral dynamics scale of consciousness, with ideas such as the evolution of my consciousness and a continuing interest in exploring shamanism and entheogens. (considering all the sex we’ve had, you would think he’d know something of this part of me, but our so-called relationship is pretty one-dimensional.) the fact is that these are issues i want to spend the next 20 years, and indeed the rest of my life studying, but if i bring them up, he’ll start going on about how all i need is jesus and how he can’t see how people get along without knowing jesus, blah blah blah. (we have had some interesting conversations along these lines, since i spent most of my 20s in the place where his consciousness seems to be parked now.)

anywho… i answered by saying something about wanting to do some extensive volunteer work in south africa at some point in the future (true) and i was probably about to get the god lecture again, when the pizza man (finally!) showed up. i threw a couple of pieces at him and he left (is there some sort of metaphor in that sentence?!) and now i’m just like, why am i keeping him in my life? the sex, while good, isn’t worth it, and he’s treating me like a girlfriend/spousal figure, which neither of us actually wants (i’m not a christian like he is, so he can’t marry me; he’s not a godless heathen, like i am, so i can’t marry him). i cook for him, i iron for him, i loan him money, i perform sexual favors for him. it all sounds like at least some sort of girlfriend to me, but whatever i may feel for him, it doesn’t involve any sort of commitment on any level, other than frenemies with benefits. so why do i continue to allow him to take up space in my life?

it really is my intention to be free, to evolve my consciousness to the point where it just doesn’t matter what my ego wants. recently my reading has included andrew cohen, 11 days at the edge by michael wombacher, and the uncommon path of awakening authentic joy by mick quinn. i’m in the process of doing some of the exercises towards the end of quinn’s book, and wombacher’s book affected me so that i’m reading it again. i’m excited about the concepts i’m coming across in all these books and more, and i want to see them come to fruition in my life. however, it seems like when i feel committed to a practice or certain ideas, the sgc comes bumbling into my life again. is it that my ego is afraid that i’ll never have the attentions of a male, that i’ll never be in a meaningful relationship again (although how much meaning does this current one have?!), that i’ll never have sex again? but, if i’m free from responding to the machinations of my ego, and if through my freedom i’m serving the greater good, do those questions really matter? i hope to find out the answers to these questions and more, but first of all, i need to cut the dead weight out of my life. i mean, the man had me cooking spaghetti for him when i was stumbling around with my frickin’ star wars boot a couple of weeks ago, and didn’t even offer to take out my trash for me. it seems pretty obvious what i need to do, huh?

happy august

yeah, um, i know it’s been several months since i’ve been here. but hey, i’ve been somewhat distracted. this is just a brief update to let you know that i’m still alive and typing.

i’m still in kc, for the time being, although i’m planning to move back to columbia sometime in the next few months. i’ve made an executive decision and this time it will stick (fingers crossed). i’m currently studying for the gre, with the intention of beginning library school at mizzou this coming january. i’ve toyed with the idea of staying here and working full time while going to school part-time. however, i’ve decided that it would be best for me to go full-time and blast through it in three semesters or so. this way i’m not dragging it out for years and can move on with my life, which i still would like to include coursework from the california institute of integral studies. but first things first.

actually, i should already be packing to move to columbia. about three weeks ago, i turned in a letter of resignation at the library, with the full intention of moving to columbia at the end of this month. however, you know what they say about the best laid plans… while visiting my sister, i got up in the middle of the night to pee and didn’t turn on the hall light to go down the stairs. i was watching where i was going, as i didn’t want to step on any kittens, but the last two steps blended into one in the dark, and BLAM! – i was on my ass with a busted foot. it turned out to be a hairline fracture, coupled with a sprain, and as a result, i’ve been somewhat gimpy over the last couple of weeks. however, it is getting better and this week i’ve been walking without my attractive star wars storm trooper boot. i’m hoping the limping will be over by this time next week. anyway…. because of this accident, and the fact that i currently have really good health insurance, i’ve decided to stay around a little while longer. the fact is that i really do like my job at kcpl, a lot, but it’s the main thing keeping me in kc these days. i fell for a reason, and i’m sure i’ll find out what that reason is, but, while it has delayed my plans somewhat, at this point i still plan to go hang out in columbia for a couple of years.