Initiation into spirituality

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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HiJolly
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Initiation into spirituality

Post by HiJolly » 01 Aug 2009, 09:22

"Initiation is a personal experience in which one becomes aware of mysteries -- realities that were previously hidden, that cannot be communicated by one person to another in words or symbols, that must be experienced directly, firsthand. This last point is crucial. One finds "mysteries" communicated in ... initiations or even at festivals, but these are only hidden meanings of symbols and tools used..., or of stories told about the Gods. The fact that they can be communicated makes them not true mysteries, only secrets.

A body of teaching, practice, and ritual that facilitates initiation is an initiatory path. Most religions start out as paths of initiation. Religion tends to be conservative. Initiation, however, is always revolutionary.

"Initiation transforms a person's life, bringing inner peace, greater insight into the workings of fate, and awareness of the connections linking all things, as well as ... power. If it were a common-place event, if people went through initiation as surely as they go through puberty, we would have a far different and better world....

Initiates can be found in the context of any religion, including those least similar to Neopaganism. St. Francis of Assisi was an initiate, and many a Sufi and Qabalist, Buddhist and Yogi, Taoist and Shaman. A modern Neopagan initiate has far more in common with them than with an illiterate, superstitious pagan of the Roman Empire, gobbling the flesh of sacrificed animals while contemplating how to backstab his competitors. All initiates of all paths have a common heart. it is religions that circle the periphery of the sacred that differ.

But, while Christian, Jewish, and Muslim initiates do exist, the established religions don't make it easy. For every illuminated Catholic saint, there are hundreds of burned heretics. Indeed, many post-Constantinian saints escaped burning themselves only by miracles greater than those for which they were canonized. Burning is passe nowadays, but condemnation for heresy is not, and thrives as well in most Protestant denominations. So bound about with the fetters of faith is the Christian that initiation is virtually impossible, except for their boldest and best minds.

This is no accident.

The tragedy of Christianity is that it began so well and decayed so quickly into such a parody of its beginnings. This is a recurring phenomenon. Again and again, the initiatory message has presented itself in some new form and met with some success, only to be hidden in a maze of illusion, crusted over with barriers and restrictions.

There are always counterattacks from outside the new -- from established religions, but the truly effective counterattacks also come from within, so that what began as a bright new hope becomes a mere religion. The priests, the figures in authority, forge an instrument for the furtherance of their own authority, to which genuine initiation is a serious threat. The initiatory impulse is carefully bled off into harmless channels, and all (true, life-transforming) [revelation] outside those channels is ruthlessly suppressed."
(edited; source reference available by PM to HiJolly)

* * *

"There is an *inner* aspect to initiation -- Properly conferred, an initiation includes a transformative personal experience the nature of which is ineffable. That is to say, it cannot be readily described. Such experiences in religous or spiritual settings are often termed "Mysteries." Thus the common observation that [x] is "an initatiory Mystery religion." Part of the purpose in the long training period that normally leads up to one's first initiation is to try to put the candidate into the proper frame of mind to undergo and derive the fullest benefit from the transformative experience."
(edited; source reference available by PM to HiJolly)

* * *

"Now, in light of all of that, at least part of what Joseph Smith was trying to create, was an INITIATORY PATH -- and the Ordinances of baptism, Confirmation and the Gift of the HOly Ghost, the Endowment, and the higher Temple ordinances, were all meant to be (again, at least in part) INITATORY RITES -- to confer upon their recipients, an "awareness of Spiritual MYSTERIES" -- and the "spiritual technology" (so to speak) to be able to access the Other Realms where they could continue to pursue understanding of more Mysteries (and their attendant Powers) for themselves first, and then for their children, and ultimately for all those for whom they would serve as "Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses".

So part of what i'm saying here, is that far from being unique, this is what ALL spiritual systems try to do, if they are not perverted into little more than a bunch of (powerless, bloodless) rules, boundaries and limitations.
(edited; source reference available by PM to HiJolly)
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

swimordie
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by swimordie » 01 Aug 2009, 09:54

WOW!!!!

There it is!! All laid out in one simple post!

Thanks, HiJolly. I wish I could "teach" this to my children. Is it by example? Or some other way?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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HiJolly
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by HiJolly » 01 Aug 2009, 10:05

swimordie wrote:WOW!!!!

There it is!! All laid out in one simple post!

Thanks, HiJolly. I wish I could "teach" this to my children. Is it by example? Or some other way?
:) Thank *you*.

Yes, always by example. But also, if you have experienced 'god'; If you have ineffable knowledge (or, gnosis), then there are things you can say in conversation that will help. It can only serve the good if it is done in Steadfast Love, and if it is done carefully and at the pace that the hearer can understand. Even Christ, the perfect One, had to perceive that the Nephites were unable to comprehend His message, could not receive more. So he sent them home to ponder, meditate and absorb, to return again for more the next day.

God bless us that we can all be so observant!

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Tom Haws
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Tom Haws » 02 Aug 2009, 23:23

I don't know how to speak. But I experiment and keep trying. Thanks for a great example of beautiful communication.

Tom
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

Poppyseed
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Poppyseed » 03 Aug 2009, 07:50

So are you saying that the church is like public school? Catering to the middle of the bell curve?
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Brian Johnston » 03 Aug 2009, 08:33

That was a great explanation of something profound and important out there HiJolly, thanks for sharing it.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Brian Johnston » 03 Aug 2009, 08:36

Poppyseed wrote:So are you saying that the church is like public school? Catering to the middle of the bell curve?
No. I think he is saying it is a means to an end. The Church is not the end itself, but another manifestation of a system that can help people go towards this "promised land" out there waiting for us to discover it.

That's what I hear from HiJolly.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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HiJolly
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by HiJolly » 03 Aug 2009, 09:20

Poppyseed wrote:So are you saying that the church is like public school? Catering to the middle of the bell curve?
I have to agree with Valoel. It is true that the school is there to 'educate' a broad variety of people, and those who catch the true understanding of what it is to be educated then proceed on to greater heights. However, we all leave the public schools at some point, going on to either personal specialization or other careers. Some few return to public schools as teachers, administrators or counselors, but this does not fit very well to how I view the role of churches.

I think most of the membership of the Church can remain within it to find happiness, fulfillment and to reach'greater heights'. Some few may find that doesn't work for them, when they cannot free themselves of the misconceptions and 'group think' that surely does exist in the Church, without making a 'break'.

Most of the people that I have talked to that leave the Church, presumably for spiritual growth reasons, say that they "grew beyond the Church", or "are no longer catepillars and must now fly free". My own view is that I am like a kite flying high above, yet tethered to the ground by a string. Should the string be loosed, should I be 'free', I would shortly find that rather than continuing flight even more freely, instead I would come crashing down. I am not truly independent of God, nor His Spirit, nor (to a lesser extent) the Church.

Sometimes the wind shifts -- and I need that string to move me to safety, that I may fly again, in due time. This is a major function of the Church, to me. It keeps me grounded. My baptismal and temple covenants keep me safe so that I may fly to greater and greater heights. To this point, this has been my experience. I accept that not all people fit this (similie, metaphor, any English majors out there?), but I also think that more do fit it, than would want to admit it.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

Poppyseed
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Poppyseed » 03 Aug 2009, 09:33

Yeah. I see what you are saying. I think there is wisdom in flying high but being soundly anchored at the same time. The skies do storm on occasion. :)

And on some things I feel ready to fly...and others I am back trying to grasp the fundamentals.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Initiation into spirituality

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Aug 2009, 15:35

I like to let my mind wander to and fro, but I like to have my life grounded. There is a power for me on a physical level in the routine and stability of an organization (and MUCH more so for my wife), and that stability allows me to let my mind contemplate the cosmos without risking being burned by the sun or set adrift in a sea without gravity.

I love the balance this gives me - and, frankly, those around me love it, since it doesn't threaten their peace and safety if they don't need or aren't ready to fly.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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