My quest for method began with James Pryse's assertion that the Apocalypse does not describe its method. He writes in the Apocalypse Unsealed:
"Moreover, although the Apocalypse treats very fully of the spiritual and psychic forces in man, it nowhere gives even a clue to the process by which these forces can be aroused to action..."16
This remains equally true for the four Gospels as restored by James Pryse. Nowhere does anything resembling a method appear. In fact, Pryse continually suggests that method cannot be revealed, since to do so would expose it to those who might lack the purity of soul required to utilize it properly. Indeed, to reveal it openly would risk allowing it to fall into the hands of those who would abuse the power it confers. Less malevolent practitioners would run the risk of harming themselves, even to the point of bringing death unwittingly upon themselves. Powerful stuff this!
One day it suddenly occurred to me that the missing method and the lack of the mention of love in the Apocalypse might be related. Because of the emphasis on love in the orthodox tradition, I got the idea that love itself might be the method, but not "love" as understood by orthodoxy.
If this were so I would discover simultaneously the reasons for love's apparent absence in the Apocalypse and uncover the hidden method that Pryse claimed the Apocalypse did not reveal! I found out that the two are intimately connected. And if love was indeed the hidden method, what was so dangerous about it that it had to be so thoroughly disguised in the Apocalypse?
We discover method or we fail to discover method depending on what we look for and just how we look for it. Pryse observed that the Apocalypse does not describe a method, if by a method you only mean step by step instructions, like the assembly plans that were included with your youngest child's doll house. The Apocalypse is not an instruction book.
When you purchase a camera you get a detailed instruction book with it. The instruction book describes all of the various parts and features of the camera and what to do with them all.
If you read the instruction book carefully and follow its procedures faithfully you will learn just how to operate the new camera properly. You will know where to put the film, how to set the exposure correctly, which end of the camera to point at your intended subject and how to release the shutter. When you get your pictures back from the developer you will have no unpleasant surprises. They will look like whatever it was you photographed.
Now just because you know how to operate the camera and can take pictures that look like the subject, does that mean you will then be able to make good photographs? Let's be honest about it, probably not. Just knowing how to operate the camera does not make you a photographer.
Of course, to make photographs at all you need to know how operate the camera. To be a photographer, though, you also need more than simply the technical knowledge of how to operate the camera correctly.
Most of us are not photographers, even though we all have cameras, know how to use them, and make thousands of photographs with them every year. Our photographs are just snapshots, simple pictorial keepsakes of all the places we have visited and the people we have met.
All the photographs we have made merely help us remember where we have been and with whom. Those photographs serve no other useful function. No art beckons in all those thousands of photos. They are just data: a record of places and faces. Nothing more.
Conversely, a photographer sees a picture as art, not just data. We see it as data but not art. That makes all the difference in the world. We do not think about capturing a mood, composing for emphasis, or trying to juxtapose subject and background for some desired effect.
Artists do those sorts of things, but not us ordinary folks. We just do not think about it; we just point the camera in the general direction, make sure so-and-so is in the view finder and push the shutter release. Well, photographers who make good photographs also do those sorts of things the same as other artists. They think about those things all the time.
Just knowing how to use a camera correctly does not make you a good photographer. In order to be a good, or artistic, photographer you must also know how to be an artist.
To be a good photographer, you must know how to think and feel like an artist. You must know how to see like an artist, how to express your thoughts and your emotions like an artist. Seeing and expressing like an artist is not the same as seeing and expressing like ordinary people.
When you can do all that with a camera, when you know how to be an artist with a camera, then you can be a good photographer and expect to make some good photographs. They will not all be good, but some of them will be.
James Pryse apparently looked at the Apocalypse and tried to find an instruction book. He concluded that the Apocalypse is not an instruction book. I agree completely with him. The Apocalypse is not an instruction book and was not intended to be so.
Pryse apparently looked no further for method but I did. Why? I can not guess why he did not look deeper. As for me, I just had the strong feeling that the Apocalypse presented more than mere theory or academic trivia intended for the intellectual titillation of its readers.
Metaphysical instruction books are a dime a dozen. You can find them anywhere. The Occult, Philosophy and Religion sections of any halfway decent bookstore are filled with them. They range in usefulness from the vague and halfbaked to step-by-step, no questions left unanswered. For example, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is an instruction book. The Atmabodha of Sankaracharya is an instruction book. The Vigyana Bhairava Tantra is an instruction book. The Sex Handbook of the Dark Girl is an instruction book. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
These are instruction books about what? Very simply, the human being, that is what. All of these books and far too many more to list here are instruction books on maintaining and operating the human being.
They describe all of the various parts and features of the human being and what to do with them. They are just like the instruction book that came with your camera. They are full of technical data and information about how your human being operates. And I bet you never thought you needed an instruction book!
The instruction book that came with your camera describes all of the parts of the camera. It describes how to use the camera. But remember, just because you know how to operate a camera correctly, you are not thereby necessarily a photographer with a portfolio of good photographs.
Likewise, just knowing the various parts of your human being and how to operate them does not automatically make you a mature human being. You need something more than that. This something more does not come from an instruction book.
Although you can learn to operate a camera by reading the instruction book, you can not learn to be a photographer by reading a book about photography. A photographer is an artist with a camera.
To become a photographer, you must first become an artist. How do you do that? You can not become an artist just by reading a book about art. You can not go to art school and be taught how to be an artist. You can not go and live with an artist and copy everything he or she does day and night and thereby become an artist.
To become an artist requires that you see in a certain way. It requires that you think in a certain way and feel in a certain way. For the sake of convenience, we may simply term this certain way of seeing, thinking, feeling and expressing yourself the "artistic attitude."
Obviously, the artistic attitude includes within it a wide spectrum of individual behaviours and personal idiosyncrasies. All artists exhibit the artistic attitude, because, by definition, the artistic attitude is that which characterizes an artist. Each artist manifests a very unique expression of the artistic attitude.
The artistic attitude is really something an artist is. It is not something the artist possesses. It is part and parcel of the artist's being and not something put on or affected. Although many people try to affect an artistic attitude what they are expressing is not the same thing.
Artistic expression, which is something different from artistic attitude, depends directly upon the technical skills and knowledge one may possess. One artist may have a greater technical skill than another artist - for instance, the ability to draw realistically - which determines one area of artistic expression in which the two differ. The one may be described as having the ability to draw better or more realistically than the other.
But the ability to draw something realistically, or the inability to do so, has nothing to do with artistic attitude. The ability to draw in a realistic manner is simply the way in which the one artist expresses his or her artistic attitude. It is merely a technical skill or talent.
What I am saying then, is that the artistic attitude is clearly not like a liberal attitude, or a democratic attitude, or a conservative attitude. These various attitudes merely represent specific and limited points of view on social and political issues.
The artistic attitude is not just a specific point of view on art. The artistic attitude is a way of being, a way experiencing and organizing the world in such a way that art finds expression in the life and work of the artist. In other words, artists consciously create a reality in which art manifests itself.
The artist approaches the world and interacts with other people in a distinctly different manner than the non-artist. This distinctive manner is partly what distinguishes artists from non-artists.
Although it would be difficult to say just exactly what this artistic manner consists of in so many words, few of us have any difficulty in recognizing it when we see it. It is usually fairly obvious.
We all have the potential to be artists and to express the artistic attitude in our lives. We do not have to go out and "get" it, like attaining success, for instance. It is not something to be possessed, like a new suit of clothes, but rather something to be lived.
Some of us seem to be born with the artistic attitude, and have an easy time experiencing it and being it. Some of us, on the other hand, are not born with it and consequently we have to work harder at tuning in to it. But each one of us has the potential. We all have the chance to live our lives in a creative and exciting way. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we do not live creatively. No one else can prevent us from expressing the artistic attitude in our lives if we really want to do so.
Likewise, each one of us has the potential to become a mature human being. Unfortunately, most of us are not yet mature human beings, but very immature or even infantile. To become a mature person we must first know how to operate the human being. For that information we need an instruction book. But we also need more than an instruction book.
The instruction books only give you basic information - like where to put the film in your new camera, or how to assemble a doll house. They do not tell you what to do then. Where do you go from there, once you have learned how to operate the new camera or have completed assembling the doll house?
After the instruction books about operating your human being tell you all sorts of interesting esoteric information about your body and mind, what next? What do you do then to become a mature human being?
I am not talking about maturity in the same sense that most people talk about maturity. Most people seem to think that maturity means getting older. The older you get the more mature you get. It's something automatic.
According to this notion, if you manage to avoid dying long enough, say for sixty or seventy years or so, you will be mature. No one says just how this maturity comes about.
Many people apparently think it just happens by magic or by some unavoidable natural process, like aging. In other words, you do not have to do anything for it to happen. In this vein, people will say that someone who is forty years old is more mature than someone who is just twenty years old. The assumption is that someone forty years old is more mature because he has the benefit of twenty more years of life experience under his belt. This may very well be true, but it is also irrelevant.
I am not talking about that here. Just getting older and accumulating life experience is not the maturity I am talking about. I am talking about something more subtle and much more important than chronological age.
No one would seriously argue that Rembrandt was a better artist than Degas just because he painted more pictures. He certainly did paint more pictures. But the quantity of artistic output is not necessarily related to its quality. The two are distinct. Rembrandt might be considered a better painter for other reasons, but not just because he painted more than Degas.
Similarly, the quantity of human life is not necessarily related to the quality of it. I am talking here about the quality of human being and not the quantity. The maturity I am talking about means quality and has nothing to do with age.
Most human beings lead lives of low quality and that is what I mean by immature and infantile. High quality means mature. The reasons why people generally lead lives of low quality have been discovered and analyzed by the science of psychology. You may consult any standard text on the subject and see for yourself the psychological baggage we carry around with us that prevents us from maturing fully.
Do not misunderstand. The quality I refer to has nothing whatsoever to do with material wealth or social standing. It has nothing to do with formal education or college degrees. It has nothing to do with one's church affiliation, a regular and good-paying job, two weeks in Bermuda, or life insurance.
The quality I refer to has nothing to do with being in good health. It has nothing to do with being popular, attractive or sophisticated. It does not mean having a family or a house in the suburbs. It does not even mean achieving happiness or contentment. These are all quantity concerns. They mean nothing in terms of the quality that I refer to here.
I am talking about attitude here. Attitude determines what you do with your human being and how you do it. Attitude is the most important thing.
All of the instruction books for being human are, finally, just like the instruction book that came with your camera. Remember that simply knowing how to operate a camera does not make you a photographer. So, too, just knowing how to operate the human being does not make you mature. All you learn from instruction books is technical information. How you use that information depends on attitude.
Unfortunately, that is what the instruction books seldom tell you. For example the instruction books for being human all say: "Follow the directions and everything will turn out fine. You will become a quality human being." But this is misleading.
Thus misled, many students of so-called spiritual paths mistakenly think that growing in human maturity means learning how to perform mental tricks. These are sometimes called psychic abilities. Many people make the mistake of thinking that such stuff as clairvoyance, telepathy or channelling information from entities from some hypothetical higher plane of existence indicates a greater level of maturity. Others think that developing mental control over autonomic physical functions and manipulating the body into various non-ordinary states of consciousness indicates maturity. They often think of it in terms of "higher consciousness" or "spiritual growth."
But just as you need more than the technical knowledge of how to operate your camera to make good photographs, you need more than just the technical knowledge of how your human being works in order to become mature. Having the technical ability to shift in and out of non-ordinary states of consciousness does not make one mature.
To make good photographs, in addition to technical knowledge, you also need the artistic attitude. Similarly, to become mature you need a certain type of attitude in addition to some basic technical knowledge. We might call this required attitude the mature attitude.
What is the mature attitude? How do you "get" it? Is it even something you can get? Or is it more like the artistic attitude, something that you must be?
Pryse rightly understood that the Apocalypse is not an instruction book telling you how to breathe, or how to sit, or how to hold your tongue, or where to focus your eyes, or where to concentrate your attention. There are no such instructions in the book. It was not written to reveal such things.
The author of the Apocalypse makes the tacit assumption that the reader already possesses some knowledge of instruction book methods. So he does not describe how to breathe, or how to meditate on the chakras, or how to induce altered states of awareness, etc. The Apocalypse does not teach these things and you will have to look elsewhere to find them. They are omitted, not because they are unimportant or irrelevant, but simply because they are not the point of this particular book.
Within the Apocalypse something of far more importance than any specific instruction book method appears. That is: how to develop the mature attitude! Within the Apocalypse lies the method of how to transform your attitude so that you can come to the personal realization of human maturity.
Remember that the instruction book that came with your camera can only show you how to operate the camera. It can not show you how to feel and think like an artist. It can not guarantee that you will be able to make good photographs, only that you will know enough to remove the lens cap before trying to snap the picture.
The same can be said about your human being. The instruction books can only show you how to operate it. They can not guarantee that you will become mature. They do not show you how to be mature with it.
This is true with any type of instruction book. Attitude is not something that can be taught like the assembly of a doll house. Attitude is not like operating instructions for a camera. To learn attitude you can not simply do A, do B, and then do C. It is more complicated and subtle than that.
You might ask, can there even be a method for developing attitude? Any attitude, let alone the mature attitude? If so, it must be different from what is taught in the instruction books. It has to be different.
With this in mind, I realized that the method I sought in the Apocalypse must be of extreme subtlety. There could be no step by step instructions, since step by step instructions are precisely what instruction books teach you. What I was looking for had to be described in terms of process, rather than procedures.
This would mean that the precise method might vary from individual to individual, in fact, probably would. Yet there must be some similarity by which the method could be identified as such whether you or I apply it. Otherwise it would be pointless to speak of any method at all.
At this point in my quest, after pondering these matters, I began to understand that each of us is on our own. The precise way in which I might discover the mature attitude within myself must be different from the precise way in which you might discover it within yourself. That is simply because you and I are two very different human beings. At the same time there must be something common in our ways, if due only to our shared human nature.
I say that we must discover the mature attitude within ourselves. As I intend to detail, the Apocalypse describes the full panorama of human consciousness as a beautiful rainbow of complementary states of awareness to which there is nothing to be added or taken away. The rainbow of human consciousness is complete and whole.
Since human consciousness is complete already, the mature attitude must already exist within each of us as a part of that fullness. It must always have existed and ever will exist as part of that holistic rainbow of consciousness that is us.
Since the mature attitude exists within us already, then it is much like the artistic attitude. You could even say that the mature attitude is us and we are it. It is us and we are it both individually and collectively. This may seem contradictory and in a strictly logical sense, it is. Yet by a very simple leap of intuition we can easily grasp this fundamental truth about consciousness.
Each one of us as a unique person has the task of bringing the mature attitude into conscious manifestation in our own way. My manifestation of the attitude will be me, and yours will be you. We can not be the same. Yet, because we are both human beings we share a commonality that we can not escape. Indeed, there is nothing else for us to be than human.
I was convinced and have always been convinced that the Apocalypse teaches a method. But if there are no precise procedures by which an attitude can be taught, at least not in the instruction book way, what form could a method for teaching or learning attitude take? What could I be looking for as the method of the Apocalypse? And could it really be called a method at all?
Fortuitously, at about the time I was beginning to ask how one teaches attitude I began the study of an oriental metaphysical system called tantra. Superficially at least, no two doctrines could seem further removed in their respective views of reality than orthodox Christianity and tantra, with its exaltation of sex.
Even the second and deeper level of esoteric Christianity as expounded in the Apocalypse Unsealed and The Restored New Testament by James Pryse seems to be incompatible with tantra. In accord with much of Indian metaphysics, the esoteric Christianity elaborated by James Pryse places human sexuality in particular and phenomenal existence as a whole at the bottom of a cosmic scale of value. In fact, they possess negative value. They exist solely to purify human consciousness of its gross physical and psychic attachments on its journey towards a state of disembodied perfection.
The negation of human sexuality and phenomenal existence in general which I encountered in so much oriental and esoteric metaphysics just did not sit well with me. My own intuition and feelings about myself as a human being would not buy it. Something about it all was just not right.
I felt that there must be some deeper meaning about human sexuality and materiality in the Apocalypse underlying the rather negative interpretation expressed in the Apocalypse Unsealed. As I studied tantra and the Apocalypse further I became convinced that the negation of the human condition as expressed in the Apocalypse regarding sex and physical existence was itself erroneous. I began to feel that something was being covered up.
Pryse had correctly interpreted the Apocalypse at what I am calling its esoteric and second level. This interpretation was certainly much more valid than the simplistic and literal understanding of Christian orthodoxy. But I began to realize that there existed yet a third level of meaning beneath that which Pryse had exposed.
I discovered this third and deeper level of interpretation simply because I did not accept what James Pryse had to say about sex. I just could not accept it. Something was wrong. I knew it and felt it with every fibre of my heart.
Human sexuality seems to me to be a wondrous and beautiful mystery. As an aspect of being human, I felt that our sex must also be a necessary and vivid color of the rainbow of human consciousness that is described so clearly in the Apocalypse. Sex is inextricably linked to the experience of love in my own personal experience and that of most people I know. So I felt that sex must somehow play a more positive role than that explained by Pryse.
This is no bold claim. Even in its orthodoxy, Christianity offers itself as the expression of God's love for humanity. Its greatest commandment is love: the love of God and the love of mankind for God. Of course, sex has no place in the orthodox scheme any more than it does in the esoteric order as described by Pryse. The ideal state for both is sexless celibacy. Sex is accepted as a necessity by the orthodox, but that is all. Yet there exist some very interesting incongruities.
The analogy of the bridegroom and the bride is often used to express the orthodox understanding of the nature of the relationship between God and the church, and between God and the individual soul. To this day, Catholic nuns still celebrate a nuptial ceremony to become fanciful brides of Christ. Many wear wedding rings to symbolize the relationship.
Brought up as a Roman Catholic, I was familiar with the bridegroom and bride analogy. Yet, I had always thought there was something strange about it. How could a religion which denigrates human sexuality to the degree of Christian orthodoxy use such blatantly sexual symbols to describe its most sublime doctrine? For the bridegroom/bride analogy is doubtless that of the sexual consummation of the wedding night.
In my own personal experience and understanding, human sexuality and love are intimately interconnected. And this is certainly the overwhelming human experience. In terms of psychological growth and health, love and sex are nearly inseparable. Of course, you can have one without the other. I am not going to deny that. But to divide and separate them invites very grave risk to the human psyche. And this fact is borne out daily in the bedrooms of the world and upon the psychoanalyst's couch.
In my opinion, one of the severe and perennial problems of the human condition seems to be that we have now and have always had so much love and sex without the other. Separated from one another, both are equally diminished. Both are put in danger of being perverted.
At the literal, superficial level of understanding Christian orthodoxy, of course, asserts that love without sex is the ideal. We must all strive towards this ideal sexless state of altruistic love. In this regard, remember Paul said that marriage was instituted by God only out of concern for the weakness of the human flesh. Better to allow sex in the context of marriage, so the rationale contends, than to risk losing most of the faithful because they are weak. Chastity, virginity and celibacy, however, remain the preferred state, even if only the strong and courageous can attain it.
With this part of orthodox belief Pryse and his second, esoteric level of Christian understanding apparently would agree. For to him, as well as to orthodoxy, virginity and celibacy are the preferred condition. Indeed for the esotericist it is absolutely mandatory.
How we are to manage this sexless state and remain psychologically sound, not simply functioning, but healthy, is not elaborated upon by either the orthodox or esoteric schools. In fact, maintaining a state of psychological health is not even addressed.
Suddenly, something occurred to me one day. It was one of those sudden flashes of insight that helps tidy up loose ends. What occurred to me was that all of the denunciation of human sex and sexual activity from both the literal level and the esoteric level of interpretation might well be a not so subtle smokescreen hiding a very great truth.
This is the train of thought that occurred to me. I think that all of us would agree that sex without love does not amount to much. Sure, it may feel good, but it feels much better when love and mutual affection take place at the same time. Not too startling a concept so far.
But the really exciting part of the train of thought was this: "How much does love without sex amount to?"
True, many people seem to love greatly without sex. I could go on for page after page describing the wonderful deeds that many unselfish individuals have done for the benefit of others. They have done so often at great sacrifice and personal cost to themselves. Most parents, for example, love their children without any thought of sex with them.
We are all familiar with examples of such people. I am sure that each of you reading this essay has accomplished something unselfishly at least once in your life that was totally sexless as well. I did not question that it is possible to do so. I wondered rather: "Is love without sex really any better than sex without love for growth in human maturity?"
Remember that sex without love has its good points. At least it feels good. So, too, we might expect love without sex to have its good points as well. At the very least, it probably feels good too.
Please do not misunderstand me here. I do not deny that many people have done many loving things without sex entering the equation. I have done so, and you have, too. I merely asked the question: "Of how much real usefulness are sexless actions to spiritual growth?" May I suggest that "spiritual growth" is an archaic term for what we now understand as the process of psychological integration, what I am calling maturity? As I shall demonstrate in this essay this suggestion is not farfetched. In fact such a correlation has been made by many psychologists and others for years, Jung and Campbell among them.
If "spiritual" growth involves the process of psychic integration and an increasing realization of creative potential, how do merely sexless acts compare to merely loveless acts? Is either one any more useful than the other?
Both the orthodox and the esoteric proponents of sexlessness allege very high utility to spiritual growth for love without sex. Remember that I am here suggesting that spiritual growth is an archaic term for psychological integration and maturity.
The proponents of sexlessness do not, however, document their claims, except to point out individuals who to all intents and purposes present evidence of psychological pathology. These so-called "spiritual" athletes demonstrate unbalanced, often deranged, lives.
As a group, the sexless saints of the church may have loved God and humanity, or at least the officially proclaimed anthropomorphic image of God. But their personal lives were all too frequently filled with self induced and masochistic sorrow and pain. Often they tortured and mutilated themselves for the purpose of mortifying the flesh or to punish themselves for failing their high standards of behaviour and thought control.
They sometimes decided to include others in their self-abuse, whether or not the others were willing. And as we have discovered recently, very many of these so-called "men of God" have slipped from their path of purity into the arms and genitals of prostitutes, secretaries and even children.
On the other hand, the many journals of psychology are full of case histories documenting the subtle and terrible psychic consequences of separating love and sex in human life. And this separation is the cause of the gravity of sexual malaise among those Christian churchmen who have tried to put themselves above nature.
It may very well be the case that as human beings we must learn to act simply for the sake of acting. It may be that we must learn to act not for the sake of any benefit that we might accrue from doing so. In other words, we may need to learn to behave altruistically at times. The need to learn altruism may be as true for love and sex as it is for anything else.
But benefits can very well accrue from loving without sex just as well as from "sexing" without love. Self satisfaction, feeling needed or wanted, controlling or manipulating others are but a few. I am not saying that these are necessarily wrong or even undesirable motives.
What I am asking is simply, how much personal spiritual or psychological growth can occur if you do something for another human being because you feel needed, or need to feel needed? I think not much. Your motive should be simply that you do something because it needs to be done. Not because it makes you feel good to do it. That is really what altruism is all about.
Do not misunderstand me. I am not claiming that altruism is nonsense or a waste of time by any means. I am not saying that altruism is beyond our capacity or that only superhuman beings can ever act in a truly altruistic manner. And most emphatically, I am not suggesting we stop doing things for the benefit of each other for whatever our reasons happen to be. For after all, it is better to do what benefits another than to do nothing at all.
I am merely suggesting that attitude is more important than sexlessness in our actions. All of the emphasis on sexlessness is misdirected. Sex is not the culprit.
Finally, what occurred to me is this. Remember that I am speaking in terms of "spiritual growth" or psychological integration and maturity, to use the modern terms. If sex without love does not amount to much. If love without sex does not amount to much. And since separating love and sex also risks serious psychological ill-health. Could love with sex amount to everything?
Could love with sex be the big secret? The whole enchilada? The way things are meant to be? As soon as I asked myself that question, I found that tantra makes the very claim that indeed it is!
Tantra teaches that whenever two human beings approach one another in openness they have the chance to enter into a deeper dimension of life than they otherwise could. This is why love - even without sex - and sex - even without love - may lead to growth. It is the openness and the interaction that matters most. You see, being open is an attitude, just as being closed is the opposite attitude. And it is the attitude of being open, being vulnerable, being able to absorb the unknown that leads to growth. It is the attitude that determines the outcome of the experience.
Tantra further suggests that when a man and a woman begin to explore love and sex together they soon open a door within themselves that they never before imagined existed. This door opens them up to the possibility of a deeper experience of their human being that without shared sex and love neither on their own could discover. Love and sex together are the key.
When you open a door, you still have the choice of entering or not. If you enter the door that tantra reveals you will enter into a new dimension of human being. If you do not enter that door, then you will not. You always have the choice.
Many people encounter this tantric door whether or not they learn any specific knowledge about tantra. Many men and women share love for each other sexually and have never heard of tantra. They begin to experience, too, because the big secret is not knowing something called tantra. The big secret rather is knowing from your own experience what tantra knows. You may call it whatever you want to call it.
Remember, you always have a choice. Many people choose not to enter this new door of possibility. For them love and sex do not lead to growth. These are the same people who will say that I am talking utter nonsense here. For them it is nonsense, because they have closed the door. But they have only closed the door to themselves, not for anyone else.
As I studied tantra further I soon found that it examines in detail the nature of being human. This it shares in common with most other metaphysical systems, both oriental and western. The important thing that sets tantra apart from nearly all other metaphysical systems, however, is its enthusiastic acceptance of sex as part of the process of being fully human.
Tantra considers sex to be not the least valuable part of human nature, but the very part in which and through which we can discover all of what being human is and is about. Sex and love together are the vehicle of human transformation into deeper understanding and experience.
I began to see certain unexpected similarities between tantra and some of the symbolism of Christianity. The bridegroom and bride is one very striking example. These made me start to wonder if the similarities between tantra and Christianity might run deeper yet.
Eventually, a tantalizing idea struck me. Could Christianity actually be a version of tantra? My quest for the method of the Apocalypse had taken a fresh turn.
I juxtaposed tantra and the many symbols of Christianity as understood first by James Pryse and then in The Supreme Identity by Alan Watts. I ultimately discovered what I am now convinced beyond the shadow of doubt is the method and the hidden teaching underlying the Apocalypse. Further, it is the hidden doctrine underlying all of Christianity itself.
What is ironic about the method and hidden teaching is its simplicity and its almost too obvious nature. It had been staring me right in the face the whole time. It has been staring Christians in the face for two thousand years! To understand this, let us return again to the analogy of the camera.
Suppose that one day you decide to do more with your camera than simply take snapshots. Let us imagine that you decide you want to become a real photographer and make good photographs.
You know how your camera works. You have studied the instruction book and feel confident about the workings of the camera. But what you do not know is how to experience the artistic attitude. You do not know how to see and think and feel like an artist. You do not know how to be an artist with a camera. So what do you do? How do you learn to be an artist with a camera?
You might first enrol in a course that promises to show you how to take better photos with your camera. Such a course might teach about proper exposure. It might show you how to choose appropriate film for differing conditions of light. You might learn to use filters to enhance contrast or certain colors. You might find out how to compose your subject matter to achieve dramatic effect, and how to shoot your photographs from different angles to accentuate or hide certain qualities.
Such a course might even attempt to teach you in some very rudimentary manner how to see and feel like an artist. You would probably study the good photographs of a number of real photographers to see just how each of them handled different subjects and achieved different effects with their photographs.
Having completed your course, you now venture out armed with your new knowledge and confidence. Will you make good photographs? Will you even manage just to make better pictures than before?
Let's be honest, not likely. Before you can expect to make good photographs you must first go out and just make photographs. Lots of them.
Most of your photographs will not be particularly good. They will just be the same old snapshots. Still you must continue making photographs, and you must examine your new photographs with a critical eye.
You must begin to see and to think with your camera in a different way than you did when all you wanted to do was take snapshots of the family at the beach. You must stop thinking about merely recording places and faces. You must start trying to express feelings. This is the new way. You must begin to see your pictures as being either successful or not successful in representing this new way.
If you do not, then you will still just be taking snapshots. Maybe now you will always get the exposure just right. Maybe now you will always compose your subjects to divide the frame into thirds instead of right in the middle. Maybe you will get close enough to your subject each time now instead of getting all that needless and distracting background in the your pictures.
You will be taking technically better snapshots. Maybe you will be content with that. But you will still not be making good photographs. You are not yet an artist.
To become an artist with a camera you must do more. You must decide that you are going to express yourself with your camera, not just record data. A face is no longer just a face, it is the expression of something. A place is no longer just a place.
Remember there is a big difference between data and art. Art expresses feelings and ideas. To become an artist you must decide to express your feelings and ideas.
To become an artist with a camera, you must begin to see your feelings as potential pictures which can be expressed with a camera. Instead of just perceiving your feelings merely as imprecise sensations within your body, you must begin to see them. You must begin to see your ideas manifested in the world around you, where you can capture them with your camera. You must have the attitude that you can express your feeling and your ideas as photographs with your camera.
When you can see your feelings and ideas as pictures, you must start to compose those pictures in the real world that you intend to photograph. You must begin to see places and objects as external symbolic representations of your inner feelings and ideas.
You must see, for instance, that a certain tree in a certain quality of ambient light from a certain angle might represent a certain feeling you would like to express. Then you must make photographs of that tree in that light at that angle until you manage to make one that does just what you want it to do.
You must make photographs. Lots of them. You must look at them with a critical eye and keep throwing them away until you finally have one that exactly expresses the feeling you want it to express.
Now you are no longer just making photographs of a tree. You are now making photographs of your feelings.
You are also learning the artistic attitude. You are learning to think and to see like an artist. The artist sees the outer world as an external representation of his or her inner feelings and ideas. This is what you must learn to do as well.
There is no precise procedure except doing it. And just how you will do it will be uniquely your own way and no one else's. A book can not show you how to do it. Another person, a real photographer perhaps, can not show you how to do it. A book or a photographer can only point you in the right direction, by showing you how they did it. You can not do it by copying their way. But you can learn by seeing their way.
The photographer or the book will tell you: "Make photographs." They will add: "Study your photographs; learn why some of them work and some of them do not work; that is the only way."
Someday, if you work at it long enough, you may become a photographer and make good photographs. Will the course you took have helped you do it? It might have helped.
If you learned what the course had to teach you, it will have helped you. To make good photographs it is first necessary to know how to use your photographic medium, to know its limitations and its strengths. You need to know what is possible and what is not possible to do with film.
But then you will have to go out on your own and do it. No book and no one else can do it for you. You must do it and you must discover it for yourself.
Is that a method? Certainly it is. But is it a method you could learn from an instruction book? No, of course not.
The method of the Apocalypse is something like what I have just described. The Apocalypse describes the process of the mature attitude. The mature attitude is a process of growth. It is a process of conscious growth, which just means that you are consciously aware of it going on.
There are some well defined stages in the process of growth. If you know what these various stages are and what their characteristics are, then you can examine yourself critically and objectively, then you can discover where you are within the process right now. You can discover what your conscious awareness of the fullness of consciousness is right now.
Maybe your awareness right now of the fullness of consciousness is one per cent. Maybe it is ten per cent. You want your awareness to be one hundred per cent. That is the effect you want to have. It is like the photograph that does what you want it to do. It is the awareness of who and what you are in full.
There is nothing you have to do in order to become part of the process of conscious growth. You are in the process now because you are a human being and being human is the process. Through self examination, however, you can discover where you are in the process, what part of the process is you right now, what went on before and what will go on later.
As the inscription of the temple at Delphi says: "Know thyself." That is the first part of the method. By discovering just where you are in the process you immediately become aware of the process itself. It now becomes your conscious experience.
You are the process. You are the whole process. You always have been and always will be. There is nothing else to be and nowhere else to be it. There is nothing to be done except be what you already are. Be human. That is it.
By becoming aware of the process of conscious growth your attitude changes. Your attitude begins to change. You start to mature.
The first part of the method is to discover just what your awareness of the process of being human is. But knowledge by itself is not enough. You must do. That is the second part. The second part of the method is to discover what the process is by doing it with conscious awareness. You have been doing it unconsciously until now. Wake up! Now is the time for you to wake up.
Become consciously aware of being a quality human being. You become a quality human being simply because you always have been and always will be a quality human being. You are just not aware of your own quality until you make the discovery of it.
What I learned from tantra is that the hidden method of the Apocalypse is love. The process of being human, the true process of psychic integration and the realization of the full creative potential of being human is love.
The method of love hidden in the Apocalypse is not the sexless and emasculated love of the celibate and ascetic. This sexless perversion of love has been held before the Christian world as the ideal for two thousand years. It is the reason Christian society is so obsessed with sex.
By stubbornly and ignorantly refusing to accept sex for what it really is, Christianity has perverted it into an ugly, neurotic obsession. It is time to put this ignorant misunderstanding of love and sex to rest permanently.
The method hidden in the Apocalypse is the passionate love that expresses the fullness of the human creative potential. It is the love that burns our hearts with desire and longing for one another. It is the love that inflames our deepest needs and drives us to one another. The method hidden in the Apocalypse is learning to trust and believe in the force of passionate, personal and romantic love.
The most powerful and transforming trait of the human personality turns out to be our very capacity to love one another sexually. That capacity to love one another sexually exercised and realized to its fullest extent becomes the real hero of the Apocalypse. The symbolic hero of the apocalyptic drama, "The Conqueror," is our capacity to love one another sexually. By doing so we transform our conscious attitude from seeing in a limited and circumscribed way to experiencing an unlimited perspective.
The conqueror is the doorway to perception. Passionate love opens us up to the ultimate human adventure.
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