Saturday, December 30, 2017

On what we value, part IV—the existence of sorrow


It is terribly difficult for a human being to understand that our relationship to God’s consciousness is reciprocal; and that we participate together in what is called obligate consciousness. 

That is to say, the consciousness of man and God is bound together; one depends on the other.

Human beings who don’t want to believe in God (remember, their valuation already begins with themselves) look around them in the world and see awful things happening and say to themselves, “there can’t be a real God or a merciful or loving God, because these awful things take place.” 

This lack of understanding arises because of failure to understand the nature of the obligate relationship of consciousness. 

When God created a reciprocal consciousness, all emanating from himself, within the material universe, that consciousness — which was inevitably a fragment of his own absolute autonomy — demanded autonomy of its own, because the autonomy of God is within His nature. 

God was morally required, due to the obligate nature of the relationship, to release this fragment of his own consciousness from his absolute control and allow it to have its own autonomy. With that autonomy came the potential, inevitably, for rejection and rebellion, because autonomy includes the possibility of difference. 

When God did this, he did it out of absolute Love, understanding that the growth of Being — which is what His aim was in creating the universe, that is, the concentration of responsibility, the gathering of impressions, and the return of them unto the Godhead — absolutely and irrevocably depended on its ability to exercise its own autonomy.

In the instant of creation, God already understood that releasing this force carried the potential for great evil as well as great good; and yet the Love of his creation and its creatures required Him to allow such choice. 

So a great metaphysical gong of anguish was sounded in Heaven at the instant of creation; it was already known that creation would include both good and evil, both creative forces that concentrated responsibility and destructive forces that denied it and tore it apart. Part of the obligate nature of the relationship of consciousness was God’s willingness to allow this; if He did not, it would never be possible for the diffused supreme energy of His Being to re-concentrate itself, because that action had to take place voluntarily, by choice — otherwise it would not be a worthy action aligned with God’s own cosmic intelligence.

In this way, creation and everything that took place in it was automatically granted responsibility for what happened: in the same way that God became responsible for allowing for the possibility of good and evil as described above, human beings and all of conscious creation became responsible for its execution. In a certain sense, the release from absolute moral obligation at this level was required in order for the level to properly reflect both God’s nature and our own potential; yet it was already known in the realms of heaven that this action opened the gates to the potential for staggering disasters.

The universe began, then, with the sounding of the gong of anguish; and the reverberation of that anguish passed through from the heavenly realms throughout all of material creation, penetrating all of material reality with what Gurdjieff called the sorrow of the creator:

And concerning this he once said as follows: “ ‘The factors for the being-impulse conscience arise in the presences of the three-brained beings from the localization of the particles of the “emanations-of-the-sorrow” of our OMNI-LOVING AND LONG-SUFFERING-ENDLESS-CREATOR; that is why the source of the manifestation of genuine conscience in three-centered
beings is sometimes called the REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CREATOR. “ ‘And this sorrow is formed in our ALL-MAINTAINING COMMON FATHER from the struggle constantly proceeding in the Universe between joy and sorrow.’

This sorrow is, furthermore, a material substance of a very fine nature that penetrates everything; and it needs to be of that nature, because it needs to stand perpetually prepared to respond through the loving action of God — His anguish on behalf of his creation — to every evil instance that arises. 

It is on the nature of a metaphysical substance that is already there as the antidote for everything that goes against Love, before the rebellion takes place. In this way, God foresaw the consequences of autonomy in the world of obligate consciousness and placed a mechanism at the foundation of reality to counteract, at least emotionally and through a Love-feeling, the worst of its effects. 

In this sense, any and all sorrow and anguish we can feel are cleansing substances, purifiers, antidotes, and healers of the evil that inevitably arises on this level. God has foreseen the eventuality; and in placing this substance at the root of the cosmos, He has furthermore created conditions that automatically convert all evil actions that take place into good on a much larger cosmic scale:

The mind, unable to penetrate behind the veil, cannot grasp the total plan of the divine providence and, in its characteristically one-sided view of things, finds it equally easy either to approve or to decry; like the Kantian antinomies, the arguments both for and against appear then to be logically valid. As long as this duality of mutual contradiction prevails, it is not possible for the mind to evolve an ethical ideal that will have any eternal value, unyielding to the challenge of temporal or environmental changes. 

…there is also possible an insight into a deeper subjective experience, which in the thick of the blind and maddening rush of events reveals to the heart the unfolding of a secret purpose that can be measured only in the terms of the silent joy of the spiritual blooming of the individual to which the whole cosmic process is made subservient. This spiritual intuition of the good, variously called lila, anandam, or the perfect self-poise of the liberated soul, is the ultimate basis of all ethical standards. But as is usually the case, this supernormal vision at one step further becomes warped by the partial vision of the tendentious mind and gives rise to the current norms of morality, which always contain a seed of violence… 

The mental limitation thus imposed on the integral perception of the spirit can be done away with only when we can live in the higher altitudes beyond mind in the stratosphere of the cosmic buddhi, where the conflict between the universal moral order (rita) and its perversions on the mental plane (anrita) can be so resolved as to secure for the action of the individual a sanction, not of the code of traditional morality but of the direct vision of the divine purpose behind it. 

It is the vision which reveals to the discerning spirit the mysterious ways of the divine action (divya karma) which are evolving the eternal good through apparent evils, the abiding values through the vicissitudes of circumstances, first in the crystal-clear inner vision of the realized man, and ultimately in the totality of the world movement which, however, always remains an enigma to the surface mind.

—Sri Anirvan, Inner Yoga, pos 80-81

It may appear, by now, that we have strayed far from the subject of valuation. But in the next post I will explain how these subjects are tied together.

Hosanna.









My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.


For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On what we value, part III



There is a power in the soul, of which I have spoken before. If the whole soul were like it, she would be uncreated and uncreatable, but this is not so. In its other part it has a regard and a dependence on time, and there it touches on creation and is created. To this power, intellect, nothing is distant or external. What is beyond the sea or a thousand miles away is as truly known present to it as this place where I am standing. This power is a virgin, and follows the lamb wherever he goes. This power seizes God naked in His essential being. It is one in unity, not like in likeness.

Meister Eckart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 161

Well, we are not quite stuck here in this condition. The divine inflow (the Holy Spirit, or prana) is already active in us; the difficulty is in our sensory apparatus, which does not receive it properly so that we are consciously aware of it.

This little question lies at the heart of everything Gurdjieff and Mme. Salzmann said about consciousness. Our awareness is deficient; and the deficiency begins at exactly the point where the inflow begins or, as Salzmann would put it, we “receive the higher energy.”

The yogic traditions have a range of bliss-related teachings on this subject which cannot be denied; yet in my opinion they are baroque and subject to a great deal of unnecessary embroidery. Meister Eckhart was aware of this and attempted to describe it more simply by defining the right effort as an unclothed approach to the unclothed God. (Eckhart said so many things about this idea it requires a separate document to recount them, and stands as a study in itself.)

Yet we don’t need to concern ourselves with the complicated nature of these questions, because they all come after the single most essential question, which is how we may discover our value first within God, instead of ourselves.

If one is serious about spiritual effort, one can’t afford to treat this as a theoretical proposition which deserves hypothetical investigations.  In this enterprise, our practical receptiveness determines everything.

Now, I will tell you something true: receptiveness is actually the ground of Being, which is why Eckhart said,

“There is still another way of explaining what our Lord terms a noble man. You should know that those who know God naked, also know creatures with Him: for knowledge is a light of the soul; all men desire knowledge, for even the knowledge of evil things is good.” (p. 562.)

Man’s primary purpose on earth is to serve as a vessel that receives the impressions of life, regardless of their nature; in this mystery, which cannot be grasped by the mind or any ordinary part, all things are good within God, even though it’s impossible for all things to be good within man’s sight.

In order to craft—and it is crafted, though in subtle ways—a receptivity to this energy a certain kind of stillness is needed. Yet even this stillness cannot originate from my own sense of value, from where “I am;” instead even this stillness itself arrives from where I am not; and that place exists right next to me, but is not of me.

Eventually, the inner material necessary for perception of this kind can be deposited in sufficient amounts to increase one’s capacity for such work; and this is the real work of a human being, which extends into every corner of life as it expands. One becomes God’s representative, or vicegerent, in the action of perceiving; and this is a matter of the subtle vibrations of Being which have the capacity to form inner relationships in a quite different way than the ordinary parts of being.

It can be fairly said that value itself changes as this begins to take place, because value is inverted; and the perception of life itself is inverted accordingly, so that the equanimity (Gleichgültigkeit) of Eckhart’s teachings and sermons becomes an apparent and inherent property of life’s events, not a premise that needs to be applied.

In this action of finer substances, one is gently drawn nearer to God. This action is a loving action and an action of intimacy that I do not initiate. As I am myself, instead, I become passive towards myself as I am: a part forms that does not participate, but stands aside.

This part has the potential to receive in a new way because already it has separated itself from my false sense of value.

Hosanna.










My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.


For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Monday, December 25, 2017

No other way

Capital, Vezelay

"If people within the church have ignored the Lord and recognized only the Father and have closed their minds to other thoughts,they are outside heaven. If people have divided the Divine into three in the world and held a separate image of each one without gathering and focusing these three into one ,they cannot be accepted."  Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg

A reader asks, 

When you say Christ, and Swedenborg says the Lord, are we talking about a "person" who was born in 2017 and all that, or is Christ really something else ? 

And do we have to have faith/belief in Jesus Christ exactly in order to go this way and enter heaven, or is something else meant here ?  

From a philosophical point of view these questions are perhaps difficult. Yet I’ll just try to speak directly to them based on what is true.

Christ is a person. This is not meant in some supernatural way, for there is nothing more absolutely natural than Christ, who is God. Swedenborg’s discussions about the trinity were meant to explain how Christ is God, who is Born. 

The birth of Christ is a perpetual action, an eternal action, which takes place outside of time but is forever manifest within each moment of creation, throughout all of creation. 

This Birth consists of the absolute action of Love, which is the chief emanation of the Lord from whom all things come; but that Love is precisely divided between Joy and Sorrow because they are inseparable. 

Of this, it can be said the portion that is Joy belongs to the Lord; and the portion that is Sorrow belongs to all of creation. In fact, of course, it is all of the Lord in the end. 

The Love that creates the universe is nothing but personal.

To the extent that we are willing to suffer and receive His Grace, Christ is born within us in all places and at all times. This is a mystery which is impossible to explain, and leads nowhere but here. The Kingdom of Heaven is within and it is only in this place that Christ can be born; even though He is born everywhere and forever within the material, only through a relationship with Him can His Grace be made manifest.

In this way we are always and forever on the threshold of God’s Grace as His servants; and it is only through an inner seeing of this that Grace can be received.

And so, then, there is no other way.

Hosanna.







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On what we value: part II—Saying no to Love



Whoever would name the soul according to her simplicity, purity, and nakedness, as she is in herself, he can find no name for her. 

Meister Eckart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 148

Try to think of our inner Being, such as it is, as a willful child. A child who has its own way almost all of the time and can’t see its relationship to other children, or the world at large. 

All of the life one has is exactly such an entity. Now, it’s true there are some children too intractable to tame by any ordinary method; but for the average child, or really perhaps any child, if one wants the child to come to a new and different sense of value one has to gently draw that child nearer through love—not demands, or corporal punishment. 

In a perversion of both intent and means, because of the way we are already constructed inside, we automatically tend to begin with the idea of demand and punishment as a means. This simply isn’t going to work; it goes against the very nature of inner Being itself because it’s based on the wrong postulate. By analogy, it’s as though we start out in our spiritual work with the postulate that parallel lines always meet. No wonder we get bad results! 

There has to be a different place to begin. The entire enterprise of inner spiritual work needs to be realigned and reimagined using a new set of tools which is not based on coercion or punishment. We are never going to whip our souls into heaven. 

The intimacy of God’s Love is such that, if it begins to flow inward into Being, it will without our interference slowly begin to correct our dislocation. It has a natural and Divine ability to engage in all the changes that are necessary, if we are willing to get out of the way. This is the secret meaning of the phrase, “God’s Will be done.”

Now, you are not going to believe this (due to the dislocation of value) but God’s Will is the most extraordinary, subtle, and powerful force in the created universe, and exists at all times and everywhere. Indeed it cannot be said to exist anywhere, or even at any time, since it is beyond time and beyond creation and exists perpetually. It is what causes all of created reality to manifest—and is the root value of all that we are and everything we do, despite our own dislocation of value.

God’s will is forever seeking us. Meister Eckhart’s sermons do a phenomenal job—over their full range, of course, but often even in any single sermon—of explaining this. God has no greater wish than to correct our dislocation of value but this cannot happen unless we let Him. Herein lies another subtle point; because (as Swedenborg pointed out) God loved his creation so much that when we willfully demanded our own autonomy (a cosmological action that lies at the root of all the legends of the fall) He granted it to us.

 This incredibly selfless action left God in a position where His creation was granted, through Love, the power to say no to Love.

In our dislocation of inner value, this is precisely what we are doing. We refuse the intimacy of the Lord; we think we are important, even though everything we are begins and ends in total dependency on God’s grace. So each of us is, in a certain way, a manifestation of Satan, such as we are—and yet we wonder why things work out so badly on this planet, both for ourselves and each other. One might say, without hyperbole, that earth is a planet of demons—machines that intended to resist the Will of God from the very beginning.

 In this sense, both hell and purgatory are not external places or conditions, but a state which we inhabit voluntarily from the moment that our inner work begins with self–valuation. 

Ah, and the arguments begin! All from self-will; and prosecuted with an extraordinary vigor that  defies every effort to temper it. Our resistance to the inflow is very nearly bullet-proof. So even now, whether or not you are spiritually inclined, you are rejecting this, that or the other premise here. You know better than God. This conviction is so ingrained in you that you would quite frankly rather die than let it go; and many, many people do.

This is what hell is all about. Hell isn’t a bad place at all; in fact most people like it there, as it’s exactly suited to themselves and their own opinions. That is what hell is: a place that is all about me. Most of us spend the vast majority of our lives in hell without even realizing it. It isn’t somewhere else we go after we die (that’s a very different question.) Hell is as eternal and ubiquitous as heaven, and God granted us the right to live there, if we should wish to, though Love alone. The choice is ours.

 Perhaps this will, if you study Gurdjieff’s ideas, give you some new insight into “the Sorrow of His Endlessness.”

Hosanna.












My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.


For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

An Epistle for the Christmas Season

Virgin and Child
Metropolitan Museum, NY

Hong Kong, Dec. 8th.

An Epistle. 

One spends a great deal of time “doing” this, that, or the other thing.  

One thinks one works.

 One perhaps even senses work, or feels it; or at least one construes it so. 

One is filled with the arrogance of believing, instead of the humility of waiting.

Yet one is forever immersed in this humility of waiting, whether one knows or not; whether one wants to be or not; and there are exceptional times when that wait is rewarded, above all (if a reward is real) with true humility and the absolute Grace of organic sorrow and organic contrition, which exist as Truths—which originate far above this level on which we are required to labor in services.

These two elements, organic Sorrow and organic contrition, are atomic elements of the soul—gold and the silver, irreducible noble metals of inner alchemy. 

They are purified factors which reveal exactly how blessed we are, how blessed this life is: in which the very smallest things, the moment-to-moment existences of things mundane, are revealed themselves as Perfect Graces.  

When we acquire this appreciation of the Perfect Graces, which is intimate and too sweet to bear for every long, then and only then does real insight arise within us.

One learns, very slowly, to live in more and more abject humility while awaiting these Perfect Graces; and one learns as well how thoroughly one’s own existence (as it is—I speak solely of awareness here) is inadequate, unable. 

Yet at the same time we are made absolutely whole in God’s most Perfect Grace, and may thereby know His Glorious Presence, if but for that single instant.

Here we meet not just the Lord; but our brothers and sisters of the soul. We will know, together, that the blessings of the Lord are far too great for us; and yet we were precisely crafted to receive. What undeserving creatures we have become! Our heads will bow in shame as we see how generous God has been. We will know one another then, in Christ; let us pray together! Love to all of you.

It may seem strange to say that all of a spiritual life is lived in the hopes of receiving the Sorrow; yet Christ’s example stands perfectly before us as not just a suffering and a Grace and a sacrifice, but as hope and prayer and all the good things which we men and women may bring to one another in the Holy Spirit, if only we but receive this single Perfect Grace. 

So, let it Be.



Hosanna.











My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.


For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.




Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

On what we value: part I—the mathematics of Being


I say something else, and even harder. Whoever would exist in the nakedness of this nature, free from all mediation, must have left behind all distinction of person... As long as you favor your own person... you are assuredly not right and you have never for a single instant looked into this simple ground. You may indeed have seen a derived image of the truth in a picture, but it was not the best!

Meister Eckart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 109

There is only one value in life, and it lies in the inflow of life itself as a manifestation of God.

The difficulty lies in this; that human beings are separated and apart from the intimate and daily experience of that inflow, and think themselves to be the source of their own value.

Now, this is a tricky thing; because of course each person does have a tremendous value, but that value begins in God and ends in God. Unless the inflow is active, however, a person always experiences their value as beginning in themselves. 

From there, the presumption of value (and its consequences) can go in two directions: there are people who believe their value begins in themselves and ends in God, and then there are people who believe their value begins in themselves and ends in themselves. These are both external valuations that take place after we have gone astray—and herein, by the way, lies the esoteric meaning of the biblical parable of lost sheep.

Broadly speaking we call the first group religious people, and the second are what I call mechanistic rationalists. There’s some crossover; and the two groups often find themselves opposed on a wide range of issues. Society builds itself from the tensions and conflicts that arise as a result of these two ubiquitous streams of wrong valuation. And of course, the collapse of valuation creates a massive set of problems, because once one has decided one acts on God’s behalf, or that there is no God, one can do pretty much anything one likes. Although the premises appear to be opposite, they are actually identical, and produce identical results. And the blame begins.

Both of these streams of “understanding” are fatally flawed because they start from a premise instilled by egoism. Unless one clearly sees through an experience of the inflow that value begins in God, everything that takes place in personhood is automatically external. No internal, no inner or esoteric, experience of God exists to engender the feeling which is necessary for proper understanding of the nature and purpose of life.

That nature and purpose can’t be understood using the intellect. It is impossible. Nature and purpose can be hypothesized using the intellect; yet hypothesis by its nature opens the door to a huge range of possibilities and endless experiments and arguments. Collectively we call this “culture” and “civilization,” which of course are not at all cultured or civilized.  Unless the participation of sensation and feeling as active forces emanating from the inflow inform our Being, we forever begins in the wrong place and assign a wrong value to ourselves.

Value of one’s self has, in other words, an inner center of gravity in Being. To think that one’s value begins with oneself is a dislocation of value. We are, generally speaking, wholly committed to the inner dislocation of value, because as we are we are unable to conceive of a value that doesn’t begin with ourselves.

This point is critical, because our entire premise of spiritual work, whatever it is and however we undertake it, begins right where this dislocation of value originates. The premise from which we begin is already incorrect.

Let’s look at it this way. Every mathematical system, including the one we currently use (there can be others) is built using postulates, that is, a set of a priori assumptions about how the world of mathematics works. A classic postulate from our own current mathematics is “parallel lines never meet.”  Everything we understand in our mathematics is based on this and a few other postulates; yet it was shocking for modern mathematics to discover (as it did) that it’s entirely possible to construct a complete, internally consistent mathematics that begins with the opposite proposition. In the world of math, as in our inner world, everything depends on which postulates we choose. 

The system derived from a set of postulates may or may not accurately reflect real-world conditions, yet still be entirely consistent within itself. Human beings create a countless number of entirely subjective inner mathematical systems because of this problem. The shooter in Las Vegas, for example, constructed exactly such a system; and we will never understand his motives because the incorrect postulates which lay at its roots—which were so subtly wrong that they allowed him to live what appeared to be an entirely normal life up until the end—are obscure to us. Yet we see how absolutely consistent his inner mathematics were. 

This ought to worry us much more than it does.

Our inner mathematics of Being already begins with a wrong postulate, that is, that our value begins in ourselves. We construct absolutely everything that we think, sense, and feel from that postulate; so our entire mathematics is whole and consistent, but it isn’t accurate. It corresponds to a set of conditions in which we are the creators of our Being.

I’ve spent more than four decades in a range of spiritual work. My own inner center of gravity was relocated by fiat more than seventeen years ago; and since then I’ve devoted a great deal of observation and pondering in an attempt to understand the implications of this problem. In a way, one might say that everything I have ever written since 2001 is about that one issue, which illustrates the scope and complexity of the problem. Yet it just begins to scratch the surface. 

In the end, it repeatedly boils down to a single thing. We think we are worth something. This is exactly why Gurdjieff said a man must first come to a sense of his own nothingness before anything else in his inner work can begin to bear fruit. The point here is extraordinarily subtle: it sounds like an exercise that begins in self, because that is the only way we can understand it when our sense of valuation is dislocated. 

In point of fact even the exercise itself must already begin outside of the false valuation of self in order for it to bear any fruit.

If one reads Gurdjieff’s—or de Salzmann’s—essays and talks in which they rant about how everything in us is a lie, they are actually alluding to this exact issue. Those talks have never sat well with me; they come across as far too negative, even though their premises are entirely true. Everything in us is a lie; yet browbeating ourselves, or each other, about it isn’t going to go down any very productive path, in my experience. All it ever does is provoke reactions in ego which strengthen the opposition. 

The subtle inner work that needs to be undertaken to better understand the matter is then pushed further away, instead of being gently drawn nearer.

Hosanna.










My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.


For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The contemplation of grace



Coimbatore, Oct. 12

This October has been a month for the intense contemplation of the receiving of life and the question of our relationship to grace.

I understand that most individuals either think of grace as the theoretical relationship of benevolence bestowed by God, or good fortune of one kind or another — a life in which we are lucky enough to have enough food, friends, sufficient means to clothe and house ourselves, and so on. 

Sometimes it goes deeper. I’m touched in particular by Jean-Marie Crocker, whose son Denton was killed in the Vietnam War. (See Ken Burns' film, Vietnam.) She transcended her loss and understood that her son’s very existence itself was proof of God’s grace. This is a true thing.

Yet it is a material thing; and although grace is a truly material thing, because it is an actual substance that flows into it through God’s great mercy and love, it is somewhat greater than the material world. Grace and prana, life energy, are actually the same thing and they represent the actual moment-to-moment manifestation of God’s Divine Love and Wisdom on this level. They are eternally present and all things are made of them; this is why the whole world and even the universe is filled with grace. Yet we don’t sense that very often, even though we are designed as receivers that can actively sense grace as it flows into being.

The action of grace is perpetual, and a human being has the opportunity over the course of a lifetime to come into alignment with that force if one opens one’s heart. Yet that is not a simple thing at all; for it is true that our hearts are hardened, and we don’t see that clearly at all. 

That point of work has been very active in me for the last eight years within the context of the prayer, “I call to thee from the depths of mine iniquity. I have not delivered myself sufficiently unto thee; I know not how.” 

This very essential prayer takes many years to act on the inward being and must be repeated not just during morning prayer, but all day long, and remembered as a fact. I think I know how to present myself to the Lord and make a right offering; but in fact I don’t understand that at all.  It is only through constant prayer and repeated recognition of the perpetual action of grace — whether I sense it or not—that this realization can penetrate me more deeply.

Well then. Grace is a substance, a material action — it bridges the divide between glory (God’s infinite and unknowable Being) and mercy (the act and action of material manifestation and life.) In this sense it is the bridge between unknowing and knowing; and that ought to give us a clue about its nature. The consciousness of our being stands in the gap between the transcendent and the immanent; and grace is what flows into this to help us be.

So often this month, I have come back to seeing that the duty of mankind is to continually put our own opinions and desires aside, and make a conscious and intentional decision to stay quiet and to serve, as intelligently as one can, within the moment at hand. 

This requires many moments of acceptance in which I need to see that my own desires do not come first. 

It requires many moments in which I understand that grace comes strictly in order to help a compassionate attitude be born, an attitude which is considerate towards others.

It requires a different kind of intelligence than the action of the intellectual mind, which is agile but misguided. 

And it also requires a balance of the emotional life in which it is seen that ordinary feelings are like little children that run in every direction inside us, and that need to be gently and lovingly disciplined and redirected so that they don’t cause mischief of one kind or another. This is like herding cats, from an inner point of view. Once one agrees to undertake this task, it keeps one quite busy.

We ought to live in grace. 

Not because there is any coercion or force involved here, but because it’s our duty to do so: this is what we owe God in return for having given us life.

Hosanna.









My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.  While the book, in its first half, discusses Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson at considerable length, it also looks at the nature of the universe in some depth from a cosmological point of view in the second half, The Information of the Soul.

For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Every life is a sacred arising





This morning I choose to break into my regular 3-day publishing schedule and write something that is  of the moment—today.

It’s easy to live life as though everything is automatically granted and just keeps happening. The way that our sensory input works and that our minds react with it, we believe everything is routine. This is because our intelligence has become disconnected from a proper relationship with the part that has feeling.

To be sure, we do have feelings — emotions – all day long, and a lot of them are extremely powerful; even overwhelming. But real feeling, which connects to the sacred properties of the planet and the universe itself, as well as the nature of reality, is a rare thing in human beings. It produces a condition that is quite different than what we call “ordinary” life.

I had several impressions of this kind over my last trip to China, within the last two weeks. And there is one here again this morning which I will speak about now.

Every single life is a whole thing, a sacred entity. We see our lives as belonging to ourselves, because of our egoism; but every life is a single sacred expression, a punctuation mark inserted into the language of The Perfection (The Reality.) 

These punctuation marks help to define the way that each sentence flows. Another way of explaining it is that each life is what helps define, separate, and value the various parts of what manifests in what I call the Perfection—what we call reality. Reality is its own language, but without the punctuation its meaning deteriorates.

Our feeling part is meant to help us see and appreciate our place within this dialogue. With sensitivity — if we “listen,” that is, a word that means something much greater than the idea of hearing spoken words with our ears — we are able to know in a very deep way the nature of our Being. This ought to humble us, because we live in the midst of a life in which every tiny little thing is an extraordinary and impossible gift which God has granted us; and not only have all the miraculous gifts that seem ordinary to us been granted, but also our capacity to sense, interact with, and correctly appreciate them. 

So for example the taste of a cup of coffee is a miracle; its warmth is a miracle; the steam that rises off it is a miracle. A piece of paper? Also a miracle.

There is a certain irony in Ouspensky’s title, “In Search of the Miraculous.” Human beings spend their lives searching for miracles and don’t even see that they are already a miracle themselves and living within a miracle and that everything is already in fact a miracle.  What are we searching for? It is already here. Look around you this morning.

The word itself comes from Latin miracle, meaning an object of wonder. The OED defines it as “a marvelous event occurring within human experience, which cannot have been brought about by human power or by the operation of any natural agency, and must therefore be ascribed to the special intervention of the deity or of some supernatural being.”

Without the feeling part, the rational mind and the intellect reduce everything to disconnected arisings separated from their Divine origins. Only the minds of feeling and sensation can actively sense the Divine origin of Reality and understand that everything, absolutely everything, within it arises as a result of Divine action. The complexities of this, especially the things that we perceive as “bad,” are the subject for much greater contemplation; but there is no need to pick apart the complexities if the feeling part directly senses the sacred nature of reality. It is the intellect alone that lags so far behind this activity and demands the explanations.

I have explained many times that it is the active nature of organic sensation that connects these two possibilities: our intellect, which interprets, and our feeling, which understands. The one operates at a much slower speed than the other; so unless our feeling part is engaged, we can only interpret and do not understand.  And our sensation provides the connective tissue.

Anyway, I am writing this this morning to remind every reader that we are particles in the body of God, and thoughts in His mind, and that we cannot be separated from the essentially sacred nature of this action — any more than anything around us, no matter how apparently insignificant, can be separated in itself. 

So in this way we understand that we should give thanks and praise at all times and in all places, because we are already within God, and ought to devote our eternal praise and gratitude to the sacred gift of these lives which we currently participate in.







My new book— which, in part II, speaks about the nature of the Perfection in great depth and has a great deal to do with the subject in this post —is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.

For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.

Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A call from the innermost part of the soul


There is a call from the innermost part of the soul that grows stronger over time.

At first, this call is so faint it can barely be heard; so faint that it is a mere echo that one strains towards, uncertain that one has heard it at all. It is far in the distance; yet it passes between mountain peaks, blue against the horizon of the inner self, and one somehow knows that it sounds the truest of notes.

Over a lifetime, with diligence, one tries to learn how to open one’s heart; how to be legitimately (as opposed to intellectually or theoretically) compassionate towards oneself and others; how to restrain one’s temptation to find fault with others, to criticize them, to be looking for the negative in everything. 

One can learn to restrain; and through grace, that restraint can become voluntary rather than being a struggle. 

The awakening of real feeling injects an irresistible and unassailable element of conscience in a person’s Being; this because conscience is, in fact, the Representative of God. This can only be found through grace and suffering; one cannot read or talk it into oneself. Yet once it is there, God is with a person at every moment.

Eventually this call from the innermost part of the soul forms a center of gravity, a magnetic attraction that wishes to draw life itself into it. 

It does not use words to do this; nor does it use ideas or concepts, coercion or conviction, allurement or persuasion. It does not need any of these things, because its source of power comes from grace and God. 

Grace and God draw Being back towards God Himself without assistance.

Hosanna.











My new book is now available in paperback, and as a PDF.

For the text of the introduction, see the PDF link.


Novel, Myth and Cosmos at Amazon (paperback)

PDF file for digital devices cab be ordered at:

Novel, Myth and Cosmos PDF format


An iTunes bookstore version will be available soon.






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.