2.4 THE METAPHYSIC OF ECSTASY

Rather early in my study of the Apocalypse I concluded that the so-called seven letters to the churches in Asia20 are descriptions of different types of awareness based upon directed meditations on the seven principle chakras. Pryse had clearly demonstrated their descriptive nature in his work. I expanded upon that base.

The chakras are often defined merely as "psychic energy centers." A large and rather simplistic literature has sprung up describing them. This body of literature describes them as if they are actually quasi-physical organs that can be accurately located within the physical body. This common misunderstanding results largely from a misinterpretation of oriental writings about the chakras.

The chakras are much more than simply esoteric nervous centers. The misunderstanding occurs because oriental writers make much less of the body/mind duality than we in the west. The body and mind duality is basically a nonissue for them, while for western writers it looms large. Western readers make the mistake of applying the western concept of body/mind where eastern commentators use both almost interchangeably.

You may find it less confusing to think of the chakras as symbolic representations. By saying this, I do not mean to imply that they are any less real, but only that they are more than the mere quasi-physical nervous centers commonly associated with them. The chakras symbolically typify the seven different types of dynamic activity that play major roles in the drama of consciousness that constitutes human life.21

These several different types of dynamic conscious activity may best be defined as distinct states of awareness. Each state of awareness represents a related but quite characteristic area of conscious orientation and operation, which acts in coordination with the whole.

You may or may not be personally aware of the activities of these various states. Many aspects of consciousness can be active without your direct awareness of them. The many autonomous functions of the body are a good example. These various autonomous functions go about their vital operations completely outside of your ordinary conscious awareness. For example, you are not usually aware of the regulatory activities of hormones. Yet they modify mood and behaviour continually.

The specific descriptions of the seven main chakras as portrayed in the letters to the churches in Asia in the Apocalypse may be termed meditations in a very technical sense only. In fact, all states of consciousness can be defined as unique and separate meditations in a strictly technical sense. The technical sense that I refer to here encompasses the wilful concentration upon a single object to the exclusion of all other considerations. The single objects in the case of the seven letters are the seven specific chakras. Centering one's attention and focusing one's concentration upon the chakras produces a meditative state colored by the specific chakra which forms the basis of the meditation.

But there is a broader process going on here as well. Each of the seven specific meditations on the chakras represents a different and distinct aspect of a much more comprehensive and singular Meditation.

This broader and singular Meditation does not refer to your or my sitting down somewhere quiet and directing our attention within. Sitting quietly and still, or chanting, or directing your creative imagination are all valid types of meditations. But I am not talking about any of that here. I am talking about something very different.

The seven directed meditations on the seven principle chakras explain how the human being operates. They further describe precisely what the human being is in its fullness.

The specific meditations contained in the Apocalypse describe the seven main chakras and the range of conscious activity involved in each of them. But this is not their sole purpose, or even their primary purpose.

At the intermediate, or esoteric, level of understanding, the seven meditations are simply descriptions of the seven types of conscious activity to which they each correspond. However, the overall message of the Apocalypse at its deepest and most fundamental level of understanding is something far more profound and mind-boggling.

At its deepest and most profound level of meaning, the Apocalypse in fact describes the very process of being human. What this means very simply is that you and I, in fact, all human beings, and ultimately all of existence, actually are the seven apocalyptic meditations. We individual human beings are not the meditators, but rather the meditations!

This is something very subtle and profound. Human beings, and existence as a whole, are not simply objects, things or entities. We are rather events! Existence in its entirety and everything, including human beings, who are a part of existence represent distinct and related aspects of a monumental and ongoing event that is taking place as time and space.

We human beings, and all other living species, and the universe as a whole are that ongoing event in time and space. Taken together, we form a single cosmic event! This cosmic event in its fullness is the Meditation that I am talking about here. Please understand this! This is the single most important idea in this book.

Recall that the Apocalypse exhibits three levels of interpretation. At its deepest and most profound level, the Apocalypse does not talk about the meditation that you or I perform in the privacy of our chambers to achieve yogic mastery over the chakras.

James Pryse accurately maintained that the Apocalypse talks about mastering the chakras22 and their energies. But he apparently did not grasp that his was only an intermediate level of understanding.

The intermediate, esoteric level of understanding that Pryse revealed is certainly deeper and more valid than the superficial interpretation of the literalists. But it is not the ultimate meaning of the book, nor of Christianity as he maintains in his writings.

At its most profound level, the Apocalypse does not talk about the physio-psychic gymnastics of altering states of consciousness. It does not describe the yogic transformation of an individual's level of conscious awareness from mundane to sublime for the purpose of freeing oneself from physical existence.

In the Apocalypse Unsealed, James Pryse proves conclusively that the intent of the Apocalypse at the intermediate and esoteric level of understanding that he describes is to indicate the transformation of a particular individual's level of consciousness. Its aim is to show the path to the liberation of individuality from the bondage of imperfect existence. But, despite his thoroughness, Pryse failed to realize that the understanding he revealed by his scholarship is not the ultimate meaning of the Apocalypse.

Pure and simple, at its deepest and most profound level of meaning the Apocalypse describes that cosmic Meditation that is us. It describes the process and fullness of human consciousness. And it does so in cosmic terms.

As I noted, the seven meditations describe what the human being is and is about. As startling as it may seem, this description of the chakras and the conscious activity involved with them is not intended for the yogic emancipation of any individual, you or me or anyone else. It is intended rather for the enlightenment and awakening of that which meditates. Read this over! This is the second most important concept in this book.

At this deepest and most profound level of understanding of the Apocalypse, "you" and "I" are not autonomous entities in any sense that would render emancipation or its reverse relevant. You and I are not in bondage to anything, nor can we be liberated from anything to something else. We are part of a process.

At the deepest level of meaning, all of our individual personalities simply express tangibly and in unique ways the general state of awareness of that which meditates. We also express in a tangible manner the specific degree of the realization of itself experienced by that which meditates. We are events! We are subevents of a much larger ongoing event.

Only at the intermediate, esoteric level of understanding described by Pryse and at the shallow, superficial level adhered to by the Christian literalists does individual autonomy become an issue. And only because it is totally misconstrued. (For the moment we need only realize that personal autonomy does exist, but not in the way we normally think. We are not autonomous entities!)

That which meditates is the very thing that manifests itself and experiences itself as the many personalities that exist. The many human personalities who exist are the tangible manifestations of the process which is that which meditates. This point is extremely subtle and important. Only one event exists.

Pryse and many others, and the many metaphysical systems they represent, mistakenly construe that some myriads of "spiritual," nonphysical entities are somehow entrapped in physical existence. These entities struggle painfully to escape the prison of the imperfect and physical world in order to return to some hypothetical state of perfect and nontangible being. This notion is totally incorrect.

Only one autonomous event exists: that which meditates. There is no one else here! We are it! It is us!

That which meditates is simply Consciousness itself! Consciousness is all there is here. It is us! We are it!

The seven meditations of the Apocalypse describe the abundance of consciousness. Just as the separate and distinct colors of a rainbow blend into its complete spectrum, so too, the many states of consciousness complement one another in a panoramic whole.

Is the color blue better than the color red? Is green more beautiful than yellow? Is violet higher than orange? Such questions are meaningless. We know that all of the colors of the spectrum have equal value and equal importance in composing the wholeness of the rainbow. Remove any color and the whole rainbow is diminished. Its spectrum becomes incomplete.

Likewise, such comparisons lose meaning when applied to the several states of consciousness described in the Apocalypse. After all, yellow is not green. Red is not blue. And like the colors of a rainbow, the different states of consciousness are just different. They complement each other. They form the full spectrum of consciousness together. They do not oppose one another.

Hence, real spirituality does not mean climbing to "higher and more exalted" states of consciousness. James Pryse correctly argued that the Apocalypse, at the intermediate, esoteric level of understanding that he interpreted, advocates that we free ourselves from the "lower levels" of consciousness. This we accomplish by means of asceticism, meditation and various physio-psychic disciplines.

According to the esoteric schools, by such methods we free ourselves from incarnate, imperfect existence. We then take our supposedly rightful places in some disembodied and perfect spiritual realm, removed from the vale of tears of physical life. We are, after all according to their school of thought, spirits condemned to the prison of sentient existence. We must struggle to return to our true state.

From this perspective sex, sexual attraction and the dance of desire of male and female becomes the ultimate impediment to liberation. In his writings, Pryse portrays them as such vividly, as does much of oriental spirituality as well. For these are viewed as precisely those forces which imprison us.

But such a viewpoint fails to see that each one of the various states of consciousness exists right now and complements all others in harmonious concert. It could not be otherwise. For, at the deepest, most profound level of understanding, there is nothing to become, no "higher" or more "exalted" state to enter. There is only the realization of what is, now and ever.

By discovering that the seven meditations describe the beautiful complexity of the conscious activity of being human, I learned that the Apocalypse, at its deepest level, expounds a very profound and subtle doctrine. Further, I learned that the Apocalypse turns out to be a much more intricate work than even James Pryse realized.

Not only does the Apocalypse tell a superficial story - fantastic and surreal as it may seem. This story covers and encodes a secret teaching about personal emancipation from physical existence. This second, and esoteric, level James Pryse describes faithfully and thoroughly.

Most importantly, the Apocalypse covers and disguises another and deeper meaning. This third and deepest meaning is far more important and significant than even the intermediate level described by Pryse. The writer or writers of the Apocalypse based their work upon this third and deepest layer of meaning. They sought to subvert it to suit their own purposes, since it contradicts their own position completely.

At this third and deepest level of understanding it becomes clear that only a blinkered perception sees the physical world and human sexuality as something to be escaped. At this deepest level it becomes clear that only a limited understanding beholds the impermanence and great variety of human existence as a tragedy and an illusion. At this deepest level it becomes clear that only an unbalanced metaphysic views the reveries of the pathologically introverted mind as the only real and the true window on reality and condemns the senses and feelings as mere impediments to knowledge.

Within its vitriolic description of divine retribution upon sinners, the Apocalypse encodes not only the intermediate meaning as revealed by James Pryse, but a deeper and more profound message. Concealed in the shadows of the symbolic and fanciful imagery used to disguise an escapist and clearly sexist and life-denying view of human life, the Apocalypse sets forth a very different metaphysical doctrine. This deepest level of meaning reveals the tremendous and beautiful panorama of consciousness.

The metaphysical doctrine that so subtly underlies the intermediate, and esoteric, level of understanding as described by Pryse sets forth the one method for realizing the fullness of consciousness in the here and now of physical and personal life. In this acutely life-affirming and uplifting metaphysic, woman and man together share the title roles.

This hidden metaphysic concerns itself with the relationship of woman and man. According to this metaphysic the relationship of woman and man in sex and love typifies the ecstatic dance of consciousness seeking itself and finding itself and loving itself. Therefore I have termed this deepest and hidden doctrine the Metaphysic of Ecstasy.

In its orthodoxy, Christianity represents itself as the religion of love. It almost prides itself and certainly distinguishes itself from other religions for being the religion of love. Rightly so. The Gospels and Epistles brim with references to love. One could hardly argue against the notion that love forms the foundation of Christianity, at least in theory if not in practice. Yet, the Apocalypse hardly mentions the word! And when it does mention love, it lacks the importance that the word conveys in the other books of the New Testament.

As I noted earlier, this very lack struck me as more than curious and impelled me to search more deeply into the Apocalypse. Something just did not add up, and I was determined to discover what it was. This search ultimately enabled me to find the missing references to love, and also to discover the method I sought.

My search also led me to uncover the reasons that the Apocalypse, at its intermediate and esoteric level of understanding, so vehemently and consistently negates love, sex and the present human condition generally. In so doing, I further uncovered a tangled web of intrigue that finally resulted in the Apocalypse taking the form that we now have. This detective story warrants more space than we can spare here, so I shall elaborate in a future volume.

My discovery of the method hidden within the Apocalypse rests upon the identity of one of the major apocalyptic characters: nikon. This word, as deciphered by Pryse, is the "conqueror" and represents the symbolic hero of the apocalyptic drama. This conqueror appears at each of the seven meditations on the chakras and later as the hero of the piece, banishing the beast and its allies. Metaphorically, the conqueror represents Iesous and the literalist churchmen equate it with their supposedly historical Jesus.

Pryse further identifies the character nikon as the author of the Apocalypse who by means of subjecting himself to the systematic ordeals of self conquest emerges as the self perfected man, liberated from bondage to his carnal nature. Pryse also interprets nikon to represent any specific individual who follows a similar program of self development. Doubtless the author of the Apocalypse, as we now have it, intended nikon to represent this notion of successful self conquest.

I realized, however, that the Apocalypse only at the intermediate level of understanding describes the author's supposed transformation of consciousness. I recognised that the identity of nikon had to be a key clue to unlocking a deeper meaning. This clue proved to be even more rewarding than I had imagined it would be.

I supposed that the word nikon typified some trait or characteristic of the human personality. The etymology of the word supported this preliminary supposition.

Nikon derives from nike, a word that means success or victory. But nike also means, on the more abstract level, the means to success. Knowing this, it seemed logical to guess that nikon might very well be, or at least symbolize, the method I had long searched for, by which the doctrines of the Apocalypse could be implemented.

If passionate love was indeed the method hidden within the Apocalypse, as I had suspected, then nikon with its number 1000 had to be the substitute word representing love. This made immediate sense in the texts of the seven meditations. In these the conqueror is mentioned specifically. By simply substituting love for conqueror I instantly revealed the method by which each chakra became conscious.

Another riddle now resolved itself as well. In chapter twenty of the Apocalypse the "thousand years," or millemium, is mentioned six times. Pryse makes no comment on what ought to be an obvious connection to nikon in his interpretation of the Apocalypse. In his only discussion of the millennium at all he contends that it is simply an arbitrary measure of time. He refers the reader to the Phaidros and Republic, where Plato gives the same period as the time between incarnations.

Pryse's failure to comment on the possible connection between nikon and the "millennium" is puzzling when one realizes the thoroughness of his work otherwise. For instance, in ferreting out the number 1600 in relation to the key words to soma heliakon (the solar body), which is mentioned only once, his detective abilities show clearly. How did he fail to see the much more obvious correlation between the millennium and nikon?

James Pryse, more than anyone else, knew full well that each number, each symbol and allusion mentioned in the Apocalypse is significant. Yet he did not connect the thousand year millennium and nikon whose number is 1000.

He may purposely have overlooked the thousand years and its obvious connection to nikon. The thousand years make no sense in relation to nikon given Pryse's interpretation of the word. In his interpretation the millennium can only refer to a period of time.

If nikon, however, is the secret word for love in the Apocalypse then the thousand years have a clear and unmistakable connection to it. That meaning is simply the personal transformation in awareness that occurs when love is realized to its fullest.

From translating the word nikon in the seven meditations as love, I discovered the metaphysic of ecstasy teaches that only through passionate love between man and woman does full self realization occur.

In light of the discovery of the connection between passionate love and self realization, the meaning of the "millennium" becomes clear. The "thousand years" refers to the lasting state of ecstasy within which the individual human being abides. In love and with love we enter the state of ecstasy. The irony is that we are already there and do not realize it!

Orthodox Christianity, of course, has taught a sexless version of love as the goal of human life for nearly two thousand years. Had I, in fact, discovered something far different from Christian agape?

To answer that question fully I had to look elsewhere. Remember that the Apocalypse is not an instruction book. It is a comprehensive treatise, to be sure, but descriptive rather than instructional. In its present form it has been thoroughly influenced by gnostic dualism and metaphysical escapism. The specifics of the method of the metaphysic of ecstasy are nowhere elaborated upon in the Apocalypse. They have either been totally expunged by the author or were not there in the original in the first place.

If, indeed, the Apocalypse is based on fundamental source material of the earlier metaphysic of ecstasy, surely it must have contained a description of method. But this is not necessarily so. You may easily imagine that in an era during which the love relation of woman and man was viewed as sublime, any description of it would be seen as superfluous. So it may well have been in the case of the original source from which the text of the Apocalypse was drawn.

But in the orient, the literature of tantra is rich with details on just this topic. With the help of a lengthy study and detailed understanding of tantra I ultimately identified nikon fully. Specifically, nikon is the capacity we have to love another human being both sexually and personally. This is what I call passionate love, to distinguish it from its sexless counterpart.

By finally identifying nikon as the capacity for experiencing sexual love, I had discovered the method, not of the esoteric Apocalypse that had been described by Pryse. I had first intended to do just that. But, instead, I had discovered the method of a better doctrine, far more sublime and whole.

For in one respect Pryse had been correct. At the intermediate level of understanding, the Apocalypse does not explain its method. Whatever the mental and physio-psychic gymnastics it may involve you will have to look elsewhere to find the method.

Instead of what I had set out to find, I had uncovered the method of love. I had fortuitously unearthed the metaphysic of ecstasy. I could not have discovered a more valuable treasure anywhere! And although it did not describe its method in instruction book fashion, it did describe in full detail the process of realization, and is so doing its method.

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