Monday, August 31, 2009

a spiritual encounter

I had an amazing poignant revelatory encounter with God the other night. It wasn't that glamorous actually, but it felt really good because it represented an instance where I surrendered to God, really listened, and really got a satisfying, significant, hopefully life-changing answer.

I was in a Sunday night worship meeting here at the Betor guesthouse for missionaries. I had been especially struggling the last few days with something, what was it, emotional discord maybe, I don't know It was like emotional unrest, Something was not happy, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I had been conscious of this unrest for a number of days. Anyway, I was letting the music and the emotional expression of the worshipers take me to approach that dark spot. It's always been a dark spot for me as long as I can remember, always, its the dark spot. Any conscious attempt to investigate the dark spot leaves me shrouded in darkness, I become confused and disoriented and frustrated and lost and hopelessly uncertain. It is my dark spot and through-out the years I have dealt with it differently. Actually I don't think I really became aware of the dark spot until maybe high school or junior high or earlier. It was definitely was of those youth worship nights where the intent is to stir up a passion for Jesus in the youth, they get you all riled up and pumped up and play the music and shout about repentance and sacrifice and fire, lots of fire, fired up. Anyway, for me, that's when I first became aware of the dark spot, it manifested itself to me as resistance to the passion and abandon that my youth leaders were trying to encourage in me. Initially my ego protected this dark spot with its pride, covering up my paralyzing, though barely recognized fear. Eventually my ego was hacked to pieces by the persistent, persuasive rhetoric of my youth leader's call to become "undignified" and be on fire for God, and all I had left to protect me from that dark spot was pure, irrational fear. I adopted the popular label "Fear of Man" and it became my arch nemesis all through-out high school and into college. There were a few breakthroughs in which this dark spot in me was pierced and the sacred inner emotions were released for one terrible and blissful minute, but these episodes were few and far between and usually looked upon as emotional breakdowns.

Anyway I was looking at this dark spot and asking God, 'please help me I don't know what this is or why its here or where it came from,' and I was kinda of thinking it was the painbody that Echhart Tolle describes in his books, but I was sure in that moment, that this dark spot had been with me for my entire life, even though I wasn't aware of it when I was much younger, and I got the sense that this dark spot was a womb of some sort. Now I've always been very skeptical about all this womb talk in modern psychology and people having memories from in the womb etc...
So I'm thinking, 'ok, a womb, so... like, did something happen to me when I was in my mothers womb...' but God's like 'no, look, you've never come out of your womb. That dark spot is just you hiding in the comfort of darkness and ignorance from the outside world. You've lived the great majority of your life with your life force cuddled up into that little ball.' And basically the whole point was that I have never really lived. It was a huge *click* for me. I had kind of known all this stuff the whole time, but for the first time I made a connection, connecting the dark presence inside of me with my life blood, my passion. All these implications began to unfold before me. For the first time I gained an understanding about this presence that I had always considered an affliction, but actually was just me, neglected by myself. and with that understanding I gained access to a consciousness and an energy that before I had to provoke with emotional, egoic appeals to religion and honor and identity etc... With this access I didn't need to urge or prodd or perform or anything of the sort, all I had to do was enter into it, let it be, let this force of consciousness and energy absorb me and rise up in me naturally from the source, the way it naturally wanted to, and I didn't have to choose to trust it or choose to let go because it was all so natural the choice was obvious, all I had to do was keep the ego out of the way as it tried to interpret, and edit and understand and predict and preform and be like "ok ok, I get it now, I see how it works, I've got the formula, I'll take it from here" But it wasn't a battle with the ego, it was just an awareness that I was trying to take charge, that there was a habitual tendency acting up in me to be in control, but I was aware, and I simply changed my focus back to the powerful presence rising inside of me, and I stayed open to it as it surged and stirred inside of me, and as I became familiar with this energy I eventually became privy to creative outlets and means of expressing this energy, of manifesting this internal presence in a physical, external form. For me in that moment it wasn't even anything spectacular or new, I simply stood, and sang with the music, and moved my hands, all rather traditional really, but for the first time, it wasn't so much a willed action as a present one. It was like a kind of confidence, not one that you must cling to to get you through a trial, but one that carries you into the natural flow of the universe.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

initiatal communication attempt

so I'm in Africa and like, totally missing everybody, like seriously, but then my friend Kirsten sent me a link to Kristen Gaylord's blog, which btw is practically the best thing ever, (I'm totally going to link to it when I figure out how this thing works) and it was so good I stayed up all night reading it, but then I noticed some links to other people's blogs, which I clicked, and they had links to other peoples blogs and I kept clicking them all until I realized, "OMG! everybody has blogs!" So I was like, "uhg; I totally want one"

and that is currently the most accurate account that I can offer for the existence of this particular entity of literature. Seriously though, I'm in love with blogs right now. I feel like a whole new world of dysfunctional relationship has been opened up to me, I possess this terribly satisfying sense of knowing people that I really have little-to-no socially concrete basis for feeling intimate with. My past few days have largely consisted in reading the public journals of other people, most of whom I'm really only theoretically friends with, thanks to the strength of that sense of community that Westmont is always touting.

Self-conscious digression #1: yes, I'm aware of the pathetic/lonely/stalker-ish implications of so gluttonously indulging oneself upon the daily lives of others. to anyone tempted to judge I would kindly point out that I've been in Africa for the last 3 months and humbly suggest that you back-the-fuck-off. I'M HUNGRY! for details pertaining to my westmont compatriots, and other people that maybe I don't know very well but am still interested in, and maybe think are kind of attractive, and perhaps for whom I have secretly composed various love letters and marriage proposals. Africa.

Self-conscious digression #2: A few astute readers may have born witness to the following thought as it confronted the paradoxical lobe of their brains: "wtf? If he's in Africa how is he spending so much time reading blogs?". Just hold on to your damn wildebeest, I'll get there.

Self-conscious digression #3: its kind of late, I will hopefully edit some of the fuity flavor out of this blog tomorrow.

Answer to objection presented in Self-Conscious digression #2: I'm currently in South Africa. For the last 3 months I've been in Mozambique working for the Chuck Norris of Bethel church aka Tracy Evans. Due to an expired visa and the strict government and some other complications I might decide to detail in a separate blog, I had to leave the country. Instead of renewing my visa and returning directly to Moz. I've opted to make a detour to Arusha, Tanzania to meet up with Jesse Borden and his family for a week or so. Afterwards I fancy myself connecting with the Iris ministry base in Maputu, Mozambique until Nov. 13 when my flight is scheduled to return to the states. At the present moment I am hanging out at a missionary guest house Nelspruit, South Africa. I am bored, very very bored. I've read through the entire archive of xkcd comics, which is probably the best possible waste of time ever

Thursday, August 6, 2009


After I had been here in Mozambique for about two weeks I began plans for initiating a biweekly newsletter in which I would transcribe a few highlighted experiences along with any associated thoughts or feelings that I might have felt compelled to share with all my family and friends back home. This mass means of contact was to be an ongoing literary work, serving as both a window allowing any curious acquaintance a peek into the cross cultural conventions of my new-found bush-life and as a sort of diary to record for the future an experience I felt sure would stand out in the course of my life as something pivotal and permanent; an inalterable change that, if not insuring me a path of novel significance, at least would grant me access, perhaps (but not necessarily) in the form of clarity, to the secret of what I consider to be the greatest achievement a human being can attain: a life well-lived; or as currently like to think of it: life abundant. I suppose I might admit that I had even imagined, very very briefly and under the influence of an inflated and rather whimsical state of mind, that I might even use the material from this dynamic and insightful newsletter in a book I could perhaps someday write (I would defensively backstep this last admission but if I allowed digression for every self-conscious objection that came to mind this article would never say anything).
Four months and several failed attempts later I am posting this blog. The reason I've opted to blog instead of sending out emails can partly be found here, but mostly I'm thinking blogs are more sustainable and available and I don't want to gunk up people's inboxes. I will hopefully have a number of stories and reflections up here soon, I have many already in the works. One of the first posts I plan to write will be an explaination as to why it was so hard for me to write updates on my trip. Not so much because I feel terribly guilty about keeping everyone in the dark about my wonderful exciting adventures all this time, but because the struggle to write an update letter was actually one of the most interesting conflicts I've yet encountered over here. I'm trying to hint that this wont be a terribly interesting blog and I don't want your hopes higher than they should be because for some probably unhealthy psychological reason your approval is important to me. I will probably also lie alot in this blog.