The Lord’s Bedchamber

The improbable tale of my writer’s journey in search of the Peace Story.

The Road to Bacchus Town: In Nine Movements
High Ground
: The Bizarre Story of my Awakening (1997)
The Uncertainty Principle: Western Alchemy (1999)

Who is Christopher Sly: My Writer’s Journey
Hero Nation: Alchemical Fiction (2004)
New Atlantis: Video to Governor Schwarzenegger (2009)
Bring on the Hero Show! Petition to Governor Brown (2012)
Hero Engine Diagram (2013)

Letters to Pope Francis (2014)
Why Letters to Pope Francis?
Author’s Forward

Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty
Re: The Threshold of Uncertainty
Re: The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax

Posted in The Lord's Bedchamber

Atlas Didn’t Shrug, Ayn Rand Did

Clinical psychologist explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US into a selfish and greedy nation

My mother wouldn’t let me read Atlas Shrugged until I was fourteen. When I did read it, she must have thought all of her greatest fears were realized. I loved it. Rand was able to put into words everything that mattered to me. I very much wanted to be self-sufficient, not to depend on anyone, to earn my own way, to be that hero that could support his own life, to be the producer, the provider, the hero that saved the day. I loved the idea of a “secret hero” character. I loved how the secret heroes were able to connect, to recognize each other. From the Fountainhead I took the concept that wealth was not static, that it was created, and that me having more did not mean that you had to have less. Her “hero” was an engineer, like I wanted to be. He designed engines, like my father did. His name was John, as is mine.

But her heart was cold, cold, cold, which my mother felt, as did I, and that bothered me for many years. I was in my twenties before I finally caught on. Ayn Rand did not believe that the philosophy of self-sufficiency she preached applied to herself, the obvious and inescapable “virtue of selfishness”. Her philosophy was her excuse to claim she deserved everything she got, and you deserved nothing, and to do so without any contradiction in any application, and congratulate herself for selfish virtue. In her psychotic, delusional, egotistical reality, She was the shoulders upon which civilization rested, and thus deserving of worship and wealth, and if denied, she became the Monster Punisher, as she apparently demonstrated frequently in her personal life.

Meet John Galt…

The plot of Atlas Shrugged is about a delusional self-worshiping egotist that believes the world owes him for “making it turn”, and is not paying up, so he sets out to punish it, to “stop the engine of the world”, thus causing catastrophic devastation on the poor, who deserve what they get for forcing his hand to “strike” them. Wow. How did I miss THAT? For a long time I assumed Rand was a Pirate Predator (Selfish Seeker), because I bought into the story that she could reason, but with time came clarity. Rand was no “seeker of the truth”. She believed everything she said. She was a Monster Punisher (Selfish Knower). Her selfish heart and knowing mind are clear in everything she wrote and did. She basked in the worship of her mutton, and punished those that displeased  or challenged her divinity.

It is easy to see why the Pirate Predators love Ayn Rand. They use her philosophy to justify their crimes against humanity as heroic. It is tragic so many young lives fall under her spell. They become trapped for a lifetime in the blinding perceptual limitations of the selfish heart, and spend their lives stumbling around believing that they are God. I expect I will be punished for this post, but it will be worth it to warn you of the cumulative and compounding consequences of believing that you are God  (See examples below).

There is nothing heroic or brilliant about selfishness. Do not spend your life trying to defend this lie, forced to shut out or shut off anything that challenges it. You will waste your turn trapped upon the field of war, retreating deeper and deeper into the fantasy of the ego character, and die bitter and angry at a reality that did not give you what you believe you deserve.

Just like Ayn Rand.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog

Hero Nation: Alchemical Fiction by Christopher Sly

Author’s Forward (2014)

*Note – This novel contains adult language and concepts.

Hero Nation was written in 2004 during the Presidential election cycle, two years after my vision in The Lord’s Bedchamber that I try, with literary license, to reenact in Chapter Three. At the time I wrote Hero Nation, my third novel, I had moved home to take care of my elderly parents, and was sleeping on the floor of their mobile home in a senior citizen mobile home park. I was single, and horny, so I hope that you will forgive me for the male fantasy aspects of this plot, in which I try to create a “Path” based on sexual alchemy. Now I am married, and my life is in a very different place, and I play a very different role.

Even though it was two years after the vision, it was still very early in my attempts to understand what it meant, and in particular, the difference between the Pirate Predator, and the Monster Punisher. The ruthlessness of the Pirate Predator in the pursuit of his selfish hungers, and the brutality of the Monster Punisher in his rage against Reality, frequently produced what appeared to be identical behavior.

One of the most powerful epiphanies from this vision was the sexual nature of the Characters, and how this made reason largely impotent as a tool for transforming them. From the title, Hero Nation, and the timing, 2004, you might guess the political inspiration for the conflict between Bacchus, in the role of Christopher Sly, and Shakespeare, in the role of The Pirate Lord.

I cried the day we bombed Baghdad. When did the Hero start shooting first?  I would never have imaged that a United States President would wake up one day and decide to start a “preemptive” war. Don’t worry, he assured us, this will be quick and easy, and the war will pay for itself from the oil we will plunder. I saw Pirates and Monsters everywhere.

After 9/11 (The Threshold of Uncertainty), this new world became too scary a place for moral courage, so they burned our Hero Flag and hoisted the Jolly Roger. The moral compass of our new Pirate Nation became “anything goes”, and the People “awoke” trapped inside of the Patriot Act.

The Pirate Bank Shot…

The central part of Hero Nation that occurs at Witch’s Rock , a sexual alchemy school disguised as a porn studio, was my first attempt to design an educational process for teaching alchemy. I am afraid this section is short on action, and long winded, and there is much about this plotting style I will not repeat in Bacchus Town.

I now place Hero Nation in the context where it belongs, at the heart of The Lord’s Bedchamber. Please also forgive me my literary limitations; I can afford neither an editor nor a proofreader. There is much in this novel that is likely the best writing I will ever do, and if you read it for what it is, my reaction to the U.S. reaction to 9/11, and my attempt to share what I had learned on the Mountain, I believe it will make more sense.

Posted in The Lord's Bedchamber

Character Movement Concepts

A few months ago when I was still on the Mountain I started some threads on Character Movement Concepts at the writer’s community site – Scribophile. I will re-post here the opening of these three threads and link to them if you wish to read the conversations, but you will have to register with Scribophile.

Most of what I am saying in these threads I have already said on this site in other places. The conversations are not long but they are notable for the single fact that this is the first time I have approached writers for feedback on the usefulness of these concepts for crafting “character movement”. What I was attempting to do is lay out the basic mechanisms that enables character movement to occur, and discover if I was talking gibberish. For whatever reason (I suspect politeness), feedback on my writing is rare, so I value it greatly when I get it. A long time ago I crafted what I call –

The Three Laws of Profitable Communication

  1. Have something to say that the person you are saying it to NEEDS to hear.
  2. Say it in a way that THEY understand.

 

Character Movement Concepts


Character Movement Concept #1: Welcome to the Game

I have been investigating “the laws of motion” for many years, by playing a game I call Jump Point, the heaving of my life across the “threshold of uncertainty” in an attempt to produce the phenomena of a paradigm shift/epiphany.

When I became a writer 27 years ago, writing became the critical missing step in my scientific method, the mechanism by which I could share what I had learned. I began consciously producing works like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs and mark my trail by describing my view from HERE.

The reason that the characters (fictional people) in our stories need to be moved by their experiences is because WE are moved by our experiences.

Before I begin, I want to make the Lao Tzu disclaimer – The word that can be spoken is not the true word.” Models are not Reality by definition, and thier value is measured by thier usefulness. I have never presented these concepts before to a community of writers for discussion, and I have no idea if they will be of use to you. It is my hope they will be, and that they will be improved by their discussion.

Character Movement Concept #1: The Peoples’ Meta-Story –

(From “Letters to Pope Francis” 2014)

In my version of The Peoples’ Story we are all born into God’s Guessing Game (Reality’s Guessing Game), and every moment of our lives we must answer God’s Question (Reality’s Question) –

“What should I do?”

(From “High Ground” 1997)

The nature of the problem manifests very quickly, when an incorrect answer produces an unexpectedly painful result. We are only quessing, and it really does hurt. Worse, there are a progression of questions and answers, we must guess again and again, and result are cummulative (compounding even). Guess wrong once too often and you turn us over. YOU CANNOT REFUSE TO PLAY.

Welcome to The Game.

——-

What I am suggesting is that every story is a solution story to “The Problem”. My concepts for character movement all grow from this definition of the Peoples’ Meta-Story. Character movement is a change in how we answer “The Question”.

I will propose models for how this occurs in future threads if this is of interest, but everything builds upon this version of The Peoples’ Story. I would love to hear your opinions about where this fits in with YOUR version of the Peoples’ Story.

Are you buying this?


Character Movement Concept #2: The Santa Claus Shift

(From “New Atlantis 2009)

When I was six years old my brother told me that there was no Santa Claus. So I ran to my mother, who would never lie to me, and she admitted that, yes, she had lied to me.

In ONE moment – I moved from inside of a reality that was absolutely true, out into a reality where it was all a vast conspiracy of lies designed to control how I answered “The Question”.

In the flash of epiphany I caught the pattern –

Where (story) I was standing was controlling what I was seeing.

What I was seeing was controlling how I was answering.

How I was answering was controlling my consequences.

In that same flash of epiphany I caught the geometry of motion; from inside of mis-perception, out into a larger reality.

What I am proposing is that our perceptions are trapped inside our story, and that an experience that reveals a mis-perception can trigger an epiphany, the escape from that mis-perception, resulting in a “story movement”. New location, new perceptions, new actions, new consequences.

Is this concept clear? Useful?


Character Movement Concept #3: The Threshold of Uncertainty

“Danger at the beginning” – The Book of Changes

In “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Campbell lays out a three act stucture for The Hero’s Journey. THJ is a solution story that begins with the Hero departing on his problem solving mission, and ends when he returns with the solution. Campbell opens the journey with stages 1 & 2.

The Call to Adventure

The Refusal of the Call?

From our first moments we are thrust into uncertainty, and Cambell is illuminating the first “story-fork”, our decision to move forward or retrete when facing the “theshold of uncertainty. You must leave a place to arrive at a new place, and every journey is a passage through uncertainty that must overcome the “threshold guardian”, our fears of the unknown.

What I am proposing is that Campbell’s “hero theshold” has two dimensions: the threshold of the heart (selfishness/gratitude), and the threshold of the mind (knower/seeker)(knowers are guessing that they are not guessing)

It is the grateful heart that motivates the hero to go in search of a solution to the peoples’ problems, and it is his/her seeking mind that enables them to work the solution process. Selfish hearts will never undertake the hero journey, and knowing minds cannot perform the solution process.

Off the hero sets on their hero mission, leaving the other three “natural characters” to their own natural stories. It is here at the beginning that the peoples’ story fractures into these four Character Stories, and the downstream consequences of that fracturing produce the world that we live in today.

Hero Problem Solver (grateful seeker)(my father)

Saintly Preacher (grateful knower)(my mother)

Pirate Predator (selfish seeker)

Monster Punisher (selfish knower)

When we pass through these thresholds of heart and mind, our perceptions change, our answers change, and thus, our actions and their consequences.

Same questions – Is this confusing? Do you think it will be useful?


III. Make sure that they are listening.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog

Tao & Zen: Opening of the Hand, Closing of the Fist

Posted on by Christopher Sly

I have a comment discussion about Taoism and Zen going on –

Joshu Sasaki and the Challenge of Sex Scandals in the Zen Community

I haven’t taken any vows, and yet, have resisted any temptation of similar action. I think the comparison with the abusive priests stands, and to a much lesser degree, the reaction of the church and the reaction of the Zen community aware of his behavior that did not challenge it. The big difference for me is that with the abuse by the priests, and especially the cover-up by the church, I was not surprised. From a Zen Master, I was very surprised. A few students reluctant to bust their teacher is in no way equivalent to either the motive or the tactics employed by the church concealing the crimes of their priests. This is a deep wound for the Zen community because it challenges the veracity of the Zen school. I expect they will eventually deal with it in a way that makes them stronger. The church, on the other hand… (and then came Pope Francis – March 13, 2013)


“My surprise was born from ignorance. I am a lot more familiar with the church, and my background is in Taoism, not Zen. Sometimes my “moral self-discipline” is also loosely enforced, at least in regards to how I treat myself.

My surprise wasn’t that sex occurred, but that it apparently occurred in the same context as the predatory priests using their position of trust to rape children reluctant to expose their crimes. I held a belief that a Zen Master would have moved beyond predatory sexuality and have no desire for such action. A consensual romp in the hay, even with an adult student, I have no issue with. If he had surrounded himself with prostitutes, or founded a school of Zen for teaching young women through sexual practice, I might suddenly find Zen a lot more interesting.

Maybe this is all about my misunderstanding of what Zen is. Or maybe it is not the philosophy, but the mechanisms in place by which the student becomes the teacher. It was my understanding that Zen was born from the parents of Taoism and Buddhism. Your comments about “Vows” and “Perfections” would seem to suggest that the Zen apple fell a very long way from the Taoist tree.

Thank you for this conversation.”


“I read parts of a book called “Transmission of the Lamp” that contained quotes by Zen Masters . One story was about a student who asked his teacher the difference between Taoism and Buddhism. The teacher replied – “Taoism is like the opening of a hand. Buddhism is like the closing of a fist.”

I used to have a theory that if you continued to move from a smaller place to a larger place, that no matter what path you followed, as you approached “largest place, viewpoints would begin to converge.

I wrote a story once about two friends, one who followed a well marked path to “the winner’s circle”, and the other who did not believe in a winner’s circle, and set off into the wilderness to find his own way. One day he walked out of the wilderness to discover his friend sitting in the winner’s circle – “I’ll be darned. There really is a winner’s circle. What is up ahead?”

“Up ahead?” his friend replied in consternation. “This is the winner’s circle.”

“Tell you what. I’ll have a look, and if I find someplace interesting, I’ll draw you a map so you can find it if you wish to.”

One thing I do for fun is build models and draw maps. This article and this conversation has given me much to think about.”


“When I was young, I realized that I was guessing, and that it really did hurt. When I discovered Santa Claus was a lie, I had an epiphany, and realized that where I was standing (my story), controlled what I saw, which controlled how I acted, which controlled the consequences of those actions. In the same epiphany I caught the geometry of motion, from inside of misperception, out into a larger reality.

In my story, God (reality) asks me the question – “What should you do?” My answer became – “Move out to a larger place with a better view from which to answer the question.” This was the birth of my game, my answer to God’s Question.

When I was 18, I had an epiphany, and turned my focus away from the search for largest place, and toward the direction of “mastering motion”. It seemed to me that the further I moved in the direction of mastering motion, the more easily I could move. This began my new game “Jump Point”, in which I leapt again and again into uncertainty to trigger expanding conceptual motion. Years later, on one of these leaps, I landed in a “winner’s circle” which I was neither seeking nor believed in. I was just [out in the woods] trying not to step on a snake using the advice of some new Taoist friends – “stop thought”.

Nice spot, [great view], and what a rush, but my [Taoist] hand continues to open. The Buddhist fist is clenched tight.”


I agree that moral self-discipline will greatly effect your life. To quote myself from a discussion on nihilism – “I would not agree that nothing is true, but rather, that uncertainty is true, and you can choose to believe that reality is anything you wish, but you cannot escape the consequences of your actions.”

In my previous comment to you I discuss the concept of “God’s Question” – “What should you do?” Again, quoting myself from an earlier work, here discussing “the nature of the problem”.

“The nature of the problem manifests very quickly, when an incorrect answer produced expectantly painful results. You are only guessing, and it really does hurt. Worse, there are a progression of questions and answers, you must guess again and again, moment by moment, and results are cumulative. Guess wrong once to often and your turn is over. YOU CANNOT REFUSE TO PLAY. Welcome to the Game.”

It would seem we must both question our desires, and the potential consequences of reaching for them, or failing to reach for them. I think you are right to how central our behavior is to our outcome. I was initially surprised by your comments that not all “paths” focus here. Where else is there to focus? Maybe this is why I have always been suspicious of those who claim to sell Enlightenment. It seems not too different than claiming to sell Heaven.


When I said “where else is there to focus?” I was trying to say that answering the question “What should you do?” is, to my understanding, the definition of existing. We HAVE to answer, again and again. It seems to me that at every moment we are making the moral decision of how we should act, which I try to do without forgetting that I am guessing. Vows might work out well in some cases, and not so well in others, but with or without them we must answer the question and deal with the consequences.

I don’t really know what they mean by Enlightenment. I’m not sure if it matters that Buddha and I have the same understanding of the “winner’s circle” if we both agree such a place exists. My practice involves trying to master the process of motion in the direction of expansion, and because of that practice I have been many places, and one of them I would call the winner’s circle. But my practice is the study of motion, I have no goal except continuing expansion to study motion. If the goal is the winner’s circle, when you arrive, there you are, the fist is closed, at least that is what I think the Zen Master meant.”

I ran long on my last comment. I wanted to qualify my opinion on what the Zen Master might have meant by Buddhist fist. I do see a difference between “mastering a process” and accomplishing an “outcome” because I have taken both approaches. In mastering a process, outcomes are produced, but the process does not end with the arrival at an outcome.

This may not be even close to what he was talking about, and the more I thought about it after my post, the more likely it seemed he was referring to something else. I spoke only from my personal experience with first searching for largest place, and then altering my path in the direction of mastering motion.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog

Selling Heaven: The Pirate Bank Shot

Posted on by Christopher Sly

I asked a question in the comment section of this article –

6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

I have a question concerning the hunger for “eternal life” as Christian doctrine, and I would very much like your opinion. It seems to me that fear of something creates a hunger for its opposite, such as a fear of death creating a hunger for eternal life. It also seems to me that the selfish hunger for eternal life blocks you from being grateful for what you have been given. When religious leaders hold up eternal life as their reward, they are trapping their followers in greedy selfish hearts, rather than grateful loving hearts that provide the heroic courage to free them from their fears.

It concerns me that so many Christian Leaders trap people inside of their selfish hearts by playing on their natural fear of death, rather than free them from their fears to embrace the gift they have been given.

My question is – Is a desire to get to heaven really necessary to be a Christian, or is it possible for a Christian to be grateful for what they have been given, embrace the loving heart, live a life of kindness and compassion, and die without expectations or regrets?

Is the message of Jesus –

1) Be grateful for what you have been given and the loving heart will set you free.
2) Obey me and I will let you into heaven, otherwise, I’ll pitch you into hell.

——End of comment —-

I am not trying to be tricky or play gotcha! This is an extremely huge concern for me and I wish I had done this question more justice. The preaching of Hell and Damnation to escalate the natural fear of death, then turning to sell them Eternal Life in Heaven, is not what Jesus would appear to have been about. It is not randomly ironic, it is Orwellian in its intent to draw the people into the church with the power of his loving heart, and then trap them inside of the fears of their selfish hearts to command their obedience with promises of Heaven, and threats of Burning Hell.

My question was – Can you be a still be a Christian if you renounce you selfish hunger for eternal life, be grateful for the gift you have been given, embrace the Loving Heart of Jesus, live with kindness and compassion, and die without expectations or regrets?

There is at least one interpretation of the Jesus story in which he died for trying to free us from our selfish fears and hungers, that the powers that be were using to command the obedience of the population. In this story, after he died, when the power of his loving heart continued to draw the people to his teaching, those same characters (Pirate Lords) used him as bait, drew the people into his church, then slammed the door shut and hung the sign “Gates of Hell” across the only exit, the threshold of uncertainty.

Welcome to the Lord’s Bedchamber. I call this play “the pirate bank shot”, bouncing people off of uncertainty to strip them of the role that the pirate DOES NOT control, into a role that the pirate DOES control. I discuss this further in the post – The Nature of the Solution.

In this implementation of the pirate bank shot, they are using the power of Jesus’s loving heart to trap people inside of their selfish heart so they can control them with their selfish fears and hungers. This is the exact place that Jesus was executed for trying to free the people from.

Thus it would appear that Christianity can be classified into two paths.

The path to satisfy your selfish hunger for Heaven. (through obedience)
The path to freedom from your selfish fear. (through gratitude)

When I spoke against the “selling of enlightenment” in the Tao and Zen post, it was because I have concerns that the same pirate bank shot can be played using Buddha as the bait.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog

Hero Nation (2014): Afterward


Afterward
Freedom to Live?

“The hero is the champion of things becoming, not of things become, because he is. ‘Before Abraham was, I AM.’ He does not mistake apparent changelessness in time for the permanence of Being, nor is he fearful of the next moment (or of the ‘other thing’), as destroying the permanent with its change. ‘Nothing retains its own form; but Nature, the greater renewer, ever makes up forms from forms. Be sure that nothing perishes in the whole universe; it does but vary and renew its form.’ Thus the next moment is permitted to come to pass.”

The Hero with a Thousand Faces


It has been 10 years since I completed Hero Nation, and the Party of God now controls the House, the Senate, and the Court. They battle for control over our Schools to stupefy our students and extinguish the process of solution that produces answers that they cannot abide. Soon they may control the White House.

As I write these words, riots grow in our city streets and the Police arm themselves with military hardware. The Peoples’ minds have been so broken by the Pirate lies that many of them have no understanding of the difference between a scientific theory based on verifiable evidence, and a fabricated fantasy based on imagination and Pirate lies. The unfortunate reality is that they prefer the fantasy.

The Pirates poison us, and impoverish us, and enslave us, and warehouse us in their private prisons, while their Monsters beat, and murder, and suppress all those who challenge them. My country is swelling with a selfishness and arrogance and cowardice, that, with an Orwellian double-speak, names itself “Christianity”, a mockery of Jesus and everything he lived and died for, while they vilify Pope Francis for his loving heart and humble mind, for the dedication of his life to the rescue of the poor.

A few days ago I read an article titled – One-Third of U.S. Children Live in Poverty. I wish I could tell them that help is on the way, but if it is, it is certainly not going to be coming from the Party of God. Two years from now when the people elect their “Savior”, it will not be to rescue the children. They wish only a Captain for the U.S.S. Jonestown, and have no concern for the earthly consequences of their actions. While the rest of the world watches with mixed emotions, the POG will hit the throttle, and with the decks overflowing with cheering revelers, steam full-speed-ahead into extinction.

I am not so delusional as to believe that I can in any way hault the suicide in progress. With the completion of this second edition, I now take on the role of “Hari Seldon”, and turn my writer’s attention not toward the prevention of this inevitable social, economic, and spiritual collapse, but its survival, and the hastening of its eventual recovery.

In my next novel, Bacchus Town, the story of a post-apocalyptic New America, I will try to use the models and concepts I present in The Lord’s Bedchamber to describe society during the dark ages following the election of 2016, in which the Party of God completed its takeover of New America, and the Monster Kingdom cometh.

It will be a country where you don’t want to get caught being Black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or Catholic, or Muslim, or Female, or LGBT, or Hero. It will be a country where those who drove the people into poverty then declared poverty a crime, a country where the children are born into Original Sin, and must spend their lives indentured to the POG paying for it.

I can easily imagine the rounding up and public execution of the heretics. I can easily imagine the return of the plantations of the Pirate Lords, the death sentence for teaching slaves to read unholy books, the torture chambers, the chain gangs, the desperate refugee and reeducation camps, the mass graves, their “puppy tests”. I can easily imagine the use of data mining to reveal and exterminate the Hero Class. I can easily image how they will treat writers like me. I can easily imagine all of this because much of it is already happening in many countries of this world.

I can not easily imagine a way out of this mess, but with my whole soul, and my whole heart, and my whole mind, I will try. My life is not my own, and there are promises to keep. Once again, it would seem, Fate is giving me the finger.

Everybody gets knocked down.

The Hero gets back up.

Posted in The Lord's Bedchamber

Letters to Pope Francis: Author’s Forward

Letters to Pope Francis: Author’s Forward

My mother’s name was Frances, and she had the purest heart that I have ever known. She was a devout Catholic that loved the Church with her whole soul, and her whole heart, and her whole mind. I think that the most surprising thing that she did in her entire life was to marry my father, who was not a Catholic, and she only did so after he converted to Catholicism.

After she died, and shortly before he did, my father told me what was probably the first criticism of my mother that ever left his lips, or even crossed his mind.

“The one thing that always bothered me about your mother was that nothing I had to say meant more to her than anything that the Pope had to say.”

When the new Pope chose the name Francis, and turned the Church away from the teaching of dogma, and toward the helping of the poor, it took my breath away. I can only imagine how much my mother would have loved this guy. As he settled into his responsibilities, I was watching, and with every move, I liked him more. One day I read an article on a speech he gave on economics, and I was moved to share it on Facebook, where my oldest friends are from Catholic grade school, with the message

“I like this new Pope.”

In the first letter to Pope Francis that follows, I mention how a good friend of mine made the decision at the age of 14 to enter the seminary in preparation for becoming a priest. He did not become a priest, and his wife, also a devout Catholic and an old friend of mine, sent me a private message –

“Why don’t you write him a letter. I hear he sometimes answers them.”

In the Spring of 2014, I wrote Pope Francis a letter, posted a version online and sent my friend a link. I know that it is not the kind of letter she probably meant, but we go back a long way, and she knows my heart, and my sincerity. I mailed the letter, and for a few days I wondered if he would actually read it, and what he would think, and if he would respond.

Then my life moved on, and once again I found myself back upon the Mountain, living one stone throw to the north of the tent site from High Ground twenty years ago, and one stone throw to the south of where once stood a small shack that was the scene of my vision in The Lord’s Bedchamber twelve years before.

I now have a wife, and a large family of young children that are very poor, and without my support, will suffer greatly. Unfortunately, one thing my writing life has not provided is a payday, and so I struggle to meet my responsibilities as best I can for a family on the other side of the world desperately in need. Sometime about mid-summer, a paycheck I had worked for, and counted on, did not arrive. Failure to support my family is not an option.

My only asset was satellite internet and the Bacchus Town website. In desperation, I forged my play. I would try to feed my hungry children by trying to feed ALL hungry children, and hope that my effort would be rewarded through donation, since, for more than a decade, I had been giving my novels away for free. Once again, I reached out to Pope Francis, to pitch a Catholic Hero Engine, and prayed that my secret hero story would gain some kind of attention that might save my family. When I finished the third letter, I was satisfied, but something was still bothering me. A “crack” had appeared between what I was seeing, and what I had expected to see.

I think it was about three days later that I reopened the file to search for the “right” ending, When I finished, I looked down at what I had written, and in a flash I knew the truth of it. With gathering force the ramifications came roaring over me, and I was filled with that same brilliant golden light and euphoric heavenly bliss that had occurred only twice before – when I “awoke” on High Ground and realized that I had discovered the mechanism that made world peace possible, and my vision in The Lord’s Bedchamber, when the forces preventing world peace became visible.

It was several more days, while I was trying to add the “Letters to Pope Francis” to my Library, that I saw the larger story clear, and realized I had finally written The Lord’s Bedchamber.

I never saw it coming, and it is still hard to believe that it all actually happened, and how it happened. There are so many ways it would have NEVER happened, that once again I find myself standing on a Mountain of luck piled improbably high, and every effort I make to repay my incalculable debt only makes it greater.

If this keeps up, paying God back is going to take forever.

Posted in Letters to Pope Francis

Why Letters to Pope Francis?

  1. This is a very sensitive issue. I am saying that Jesus was human, that God does not write books, and how the heck are we going to solve the problems created by uncertainty if we can’t find the moral and intellectual courage to admit that we are guessing?
  2. Typically this kind of effort gets you nailed to a tree or lands your head on a plate. I figure I am better off dealing directly with Pope Francis. I will tell him my story brother to brother, and trust he will take to heart my sincere concerns.
  3. I have very warm feelings toward this Pope. I respect the choices and the efforts he is making and there is very much a feeling of brotherhood in peace. I care that I speak clearly and honestly to him.
  4. I know it sounds like crap, but without my mother’s prayers for peace, this story never happens. Now that she is gone, the Pope is not only her natural surrogate to receive the report, but he is also the player in best position to advance the solution.
  5. Underline the point above. Pope Francis has vast influence over the largest private educational network on earth. Public letters are a common tool to advocate a powerful individual undertake a heroic action. When I try to explain my educational solution, it will be directly to a man capable of implementing it.
Posted in Letters to Pope Francis

Eddie would go

Threshold Dìary (8/13/14)

I can tell you what a hero fears most – failure and its consequences for those not rescued. This is what gives them their super-human strength, but many times even that is not enough. Heroes go down.

Robin Williams was hero who devouted his life to rescuing people from a saddness that in the end claimed him. Rest in peace, Brother. The world is a better place because of what you chose to do with the life that God gave you.

In Dominical, Costa Rica, I made a friend named Jason who worked in Hollywood behind the scenes. He pushed me into my first wave, and that is a ride I will never forget. We traveled around the country in a rented car with his girlfriend, Allison, and we ended up in Playa Hermosa where he helped me pick out my first surfboard. Before we split up, he gave me some advice that a short time later saved my life. (I tell the story in The Uncertainty Principle 1999)

“If you panic, you die.” (Thanks Bro. Say hello to Allison)

Jason is the guy who told me the story behind “Eddie would go.” This became my mantra when I was living in Jaco Beach at El Bohio trying to learn how to surf .

It is many years later, and I stand here looking into the approaching storm, wondering what to do next. I can hear the children crying out for rescue, feel their fear, their suffering, the completeness of their sadness. If only Robin Williams had met Eddie Aikau, we would be standing here together upon the hero shore thinking one thought –

Eddie would go.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog

The Crossing of the Return Threshold: The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax (Letter #3)

Letter to a Friend

To; Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Crossing of the Return Threshold – The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax

Hello again, Brother Francis. I hope you are well, and that you are not upset with me for what I am doing here. This is the last of my planned letters to you and I hope that you read them someday if you can find the time. But I see in the news that you are very busy building bridges between Grateful Hearts. I am smiling, because I know that there are secret heroes everywhere. Put them in, coach, they’re ready to play.

There is something I must tell you that may be difficult to hear. I believe Jesus was a Grateful Seeker. I believe he was a Hero, who fed the hungry, and healed the sick; and who went searching in the wilderness for an answer to God’s Question, and who  Returned to set the people free. And the Pirates, and the Monsters, and the Saints, murdered him for it, because setting people free is not what Pirates and Monsters and Saints do.

Many years ago I was trapped inside a Monster, and because I would not let the Monster punish his enemy, he punished me. This place is living Hell. He wore me down. My insides became more and more toxic. Desperate to escape before it killed me, I took the only way out I could find – I used the Jesus Escape. I forgave my enemy. In one moment I stepped from Hell into Heaven, and from my higher position, I could see how the Monster had confused and blinded my perceptions to keep me from escaping. A person without a character may feel a little naked, Brother, but a character whose person leaves is a death sentence for the character.

I later wrote about this experience, and described how it felt as though the God of War, had plucked me from my happy life and pitched me down into the poisonous waters of the River Styx that flow through the Gates of Hell. There stood a lonely fisherman with bloody hands casting his line into the water flowing through the Gates. I grabbed on, and Jesus pulled me free, and I was more grateful than words can say.

The first time I put Jesus on was while I was writing Hero Nation. I wanted to understand the experience of crucifixion, and what Jesus might have learned had he survived it. Somewhere in that scene, characters I had created in my novel Boiling Point ripped a hole in time and space and crossed out-frame to rescue me from the Cross. It’s the kind of thing that gives you ideas, Brother.

The second time I put Jesus on I was living in a tent in the Costa Rica jungle. I spent my days swinging in my Mayan hammock watching monkeys and macaws and poison arrow frogs –

The rooster up the canyon sings cock-a-doodle-do,
And the monkeys in the mangoes tress are staring down at you,
While the leaf-cutter ants are marching on through –
Chew, chew! Leaf-cutters coming through.
Chew, chew, chew! We have our job to do.

I had come to Costa Rica to write The Lord’s Bedchamber, but I just couldn’t break the story open. I had people occupying my Character positions (Hero, Pirate, Monster, Saint) and I was trying to talk them into moving to the Grateful Seeker, but every time I tried, it became confrontational, because Bacchus is not Jesus. So I put Jesus on, and the confrontations became rescues, and the script  became “New Atlantis”, which I memorized, and then filmed and performed on the pad in front of my tent.

The Hero Mission is a rescue mission.

The first time I took on the role of the second coming I was living in my Bronco in the Mojave desert during an El Nino winter that was cold and windy and wet. I was working on a story called The Hero Returns, trying to describe how the Characters of the Peace Story had murdered Jesus to keep him from freeing their people. Then the  Pirates used the power of his loving heart to draw people into the very trap Jesus died trying to free them from. I could not bare the sight of the tortured body of the Hero who had pulled me from living Hell, dangling as bait upon their bloody Pirate hooks.

I cannot leave him there, Brother.

Brother Francis, I doubt that when you entered the priesthood as a young man you expected that one day you would become Pope. Imagine my surprise to find myself in the role of the second coming. I know that I am not the guy that the church was expecting, but I am the guy that is going to keep showing up. As long as the people are slaughtered and starved and enslaved, a Hero will be called to track the problem to its source, and Return with a solution. Same problem, Brother. Same solution.

Same ending?

If you had not chosen the name Francis, I doubt these letters would have ever been written. I leave you with this thought –

Your churches, your universities, your high schools, your elementary schools, are filled with Secret Heroes, Father.

Call them to adventure.

Sincerely yours in Peace,
Christopher Sly

Added 8/8/14
You probably have guessed by now that I was trying to move you, Brother. But upon further reflection…

If you do not believe the Bible is the literal word of  God, and you are not particularly moved by either promises of heavenly reward, or threats of burning Hell, and you spend most of your time trying to help the poor because you have nothing better to do, you might take another look at where you are already standing, Brother. I think that makes YOU the Second Coming, and I get to go back to being John.

Surprise.

Secret Heroes everywhere…

Posted in Letters to Pope Francis Tagged with: , ,

The Threshold of Uncertainty (Letter #2)

Letter to a Friend

To: Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Threshold of Uncertainty – Escaping Anger and the Hero’s Journey back to Peace

Hello again Brother Francis. I hope you received my last letter, and that you don’t mind the informality of this contact, but because I was raised in the Catholic Community, I feel like we are already old friends. I was an alter boy. I attended four Catholic schools and I love the Hero Jesus story. One of my favorite moments is when he says Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Like Jesus must have, I have found myself standing with stone in hand boiling with righteous wrath, and escaped by doing the One thing that righteous wrath was there to prevent: to turn and question myself. When we understand how rage overtakes reason, and how righteous wrath is a recoil, an imagined place to hide from a terrifying uncertainty, then we can forgive those who have become trapped in a place that is living hell. This is the Selfish Heart and Knowing Mind of the Monster Punisher. This place  frequently kills you, when the pain drives you insane and death seems the only way out. And there you are, standing in a schoolyard, or on a crowed bus, with a gun, or wearing an exploding vest. Many people end their game when they get trapped inside the Monster, and to shake him, they are driven into a suicide run.

If you are reading this right now and you are trapped inside the Monster, please, set down your stones, Bro, and follow me through the Pass (story, exercise). I am going to try to get you out of here alive.

People Play Characters Playing Roles

The Characters of The Peace Story
Grateful Heart / Seeking Mind (The Hero Problem Solver)
Grateful Heart / Knowing Mind (The Saintly Preacher)
Selfish Heart / Seeking Mind (The Pirate Predator)
Selfish Heart / Knowing Mind (The Monster Punisher)

It is the crippling weakness of the Selfish Heart, that it will perpetrate any atrocity upon any innocent when they become frightened, that is the primary driving force of war and poverty . And though their actions are terrible, we should have compassion for the people who are trapped inside of this mental illlness, and its suffocating perceptual limitations necessary to prevent you from doing the One thing that allows you escape – to turn and question yourself. Selfishness typically has no interest in questioning itself. Anger is a “rush” we can become addicted to, and reason ceases to matter.

Righteous Wrath becomes the certainty inside which we hide from our fears of uncertainty, for which we suffer all of anger’s terrible consequences. Anger has a dirty little secret – anger is a choice we make because it feels much better than the fear which triggered it. Anger is hard to give up, it holds us tight in the fire of its embrace. I see a lot of this in the news. The Monster packs are propagating quickly now as the Peoples’ Fears are manipulated by the lies of the Pirate Lords, and the Pirates are getting richer and more powerful.

It is easy to understand why so many parents use selfish motivation to to gain obedience from their children. To inspire with promises of selfish reward and painful punishment seems the only way to protect them from the real and serious dangers of not obeying rules created to protect them. It is easy to see how nice it would be if you could gain their obedience by promising them heaven and threatening them with hell, but to do that, you need GOD to promise heaven and threaten hell. And here Brother Francis, we come to a place that is very much at the heart of the problem.

To gain their children’s obedience, parents willfully trap their children inside the selfish heart and knowing mind, because that is the only way to motivate their obedience by making promises in the name of God. As you might expect, this produces a child who can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality –

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

and who will now spend a lifetime defending their Programmed Truth by turning their backs to reality, turning their backs to God, their Creator. I think we both know that you have not suddenly become divinely infallible, Brother. The Fruit does not make us divinely infallible, it only makes us believe we have become divinely infallible, and this is the original sin that is destroying us. It is this enduring dishonesty that is at the heart of so many of our enduring problems. You are seducing young hearts and minds into into your True Story with selfish promises of reward, and trapping them in roles obedient to you for their entire life by sealing the only exit, The Threshold of Uncertainty. If they doubt your True Story, they will burn in Hell for all eternity, and they must die within your True Story to receive their reward. The unintended consequences of this educational philosophy are the suppression of the Grateful Seeker, and the spread of war and poverty.

I just want to point out that both the Monster and the Pirate characters are in your church, because the Monster is a true believer, and the Pirate has no problem pretending. Pirates and Monsters frequently clothe themselves in either Hero or Saintly costume. But not you and I,  Brother Francis, we chose a character of the Grateful Heart, we play the Hero and the Saint. Like my parents, though our minds are a universe apart, our Grateful Hearts beat as one. All that stands between us is the Threshold of Uncertainty. If the Hero and the Saint can bridge this threshold, we can unify our mission, the ending of war and poverty. Together, the Hero and the Saint could build a Solution Engine that will accelerate the People into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity. Grateful does not mean selfless, Brother, it means fairness. The Hero Story also ends happily ever after…

What I believe, Brother, is that if the Hero and the Saint can form a partnership around the mission of ending war and poverty, we are going to pull a lot of Players from the ranks of the Selfish Hearts. If the church were to orient its educational pedagogy around the exercise of team problem solving applied to the problems of our most desperate, then you will graduate students with raised awareness of the the problems and mastery of the mechanisms for working together to solve them. You do THAT, and I won’t be the only Grateful Seeker trying to send my kids to Catholic school. You do THAT, and I would be having so much fun I can’t believe I would ever want to leave that community.

I think it was the purity of my mother’s loving heart that most attracted my father.

I want to assure you that my mother was wrong about me being an atheist, but she was right about Ayn Rand –

Atlas did not shrug, Ayn Rand did, and there is nothing heroic about selfishness.

Sincerely yours in Peace,
Christopher Sly

Posted in Letters to Pope Francis

The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty (Letter #1)

*Note: a hardcopy of this letter has been mailed to Pope Francis

Letter to a Friend

To: Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty

When my mother was a little girl her favorite uncle was a Catholic priest named Father John that she believed could heal the sick with his hands. Her given name was Clara, but she chose to go by her middle name, Frances, in honor of her favorite saint. At the age of 18, as she stood in that threshold separating her childhood past from her adult future, she had narrowed down the course she would take with her life to one of two choices: Catholic nun, or Catholic nurse.

Her mother said – “You are going to be a secretary.” So my mother borrowed a $100 from her uncle the farmer, and a $100 from her aunt the family witch, and entered nurses training at Sacred Heart Hospital in Johnstown Pennsylvania. On that night when my parent’s stories first touch she was a 24 year old Registered Nurse who had won a scholarship to a degree program at Duquesne University. She wanted to go rollerskating. Her friends said no, so she went alone.

When my father was a little boy he would spin back and forth for hours upon a twisting rope. He said he thought that if he could figure out the laws of physics that controlled what appeared to be perpetual motion that he could design an engine that would change the world. At the age of 18 he became a mechanical engineering major at Pennsylvania State University, and he told me that when he graduated he took the lowest paying job of anyone in his graduating class, because they gave him exactly what he asked for.

It was the Westinghouse Research Laboratories, and they were going to allow him to rotate through their various laboratories and work with some of the worlds great scientists until he chose his field of research. It was the beginning of a “cold war era” defense industry career during which he would pile up more college credits than if he had received three doctoral degrees, and that would end at Hughes Aircraft, where he became Head of the Missile Propulsion Section, Head of the Secret Analysis Section, and Senior Staff for the Top Secret Analysis of Russian Missile Systems.

But on THAT night, he was a twenty-something, 6 foot tall, blonde haired blue eyed lean roller skater who had a thing for nurses. He said – “I knew that first night.” She said – “I wasn’t so sure.”

“You will convert to Catholicism, be baptized, and attend mass with me.”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“Our 8 children will be baptized and raised Catholic”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“They will attend Catholic schools”, she said. He said – “OK.”

During my mother’s sixth pregnancy she had a miscarriage, a boy child she was going to name John after her favorite uncle, the priest. There were complications, and the doctor warned her it would be dangerous to have any more. Then she bore my sister, and at the age of 43, she bore me. And her heart pumped 30 pints of blood out on to my delivery room floor, as fast as they could pour it into her. And then it stopped, and with it, stopped this story.

Four minutes later God sent her back. She named me John, and she prayed that she had bore the church a priest. I did not become a priest, but when I was a little boy, God was not the only one listening when my mother prayed for peace.

In my version of the Peoples’ Story we are all born into God’s Guessing Game, and every moment of our lives we must answer God’s Question –

What should you do?

When I was six years old my brother told me that there is no Santa Claus. I ran to my mother, who would never lie to me, and she admitted that yes, she had lied to me. In one moment I moved from inside of a story where Santa Clause was absolutely true, out into a story where it was all a vast conspiracy of lies designed to control how I answered God’s Question.

In the flash of epiphany I caught the pattern –

Where I was standing was controlling what I was seeing.
What I was seeing was controlling how I was answering.
How I was answering was controlling my consequences.

In the same flash of epiphany I caught the geometry of motion, from inside of mis-perception, out into a larger reality.

I was baptized. I attended Catholic schools. I was an alter boy. When I was 14, the age of confirmation, a good friend of mine announced that he would be going to seminary school in preparation for entering the priesthood. One day my mother came to me and asked me how old I was when I decided not to believe in God, because she wondered at the wisdom of such a young child. I did not have the words then to tell her that it was not God that I did not believe in.

My God is my Creator, that gifted me this turn upon the field of play, for which I am grateful. My religion is the Grateful Heart and the Seeking Mind of my hero character. I try to remember and give thanks for my great fortune, particularly at those times when I feel least fortunate. I try to remember the wisdom of humility, that I am human, that I am guessing, particularly at those times when I am most certain I am right. How old were YOU, mother, I might ask, when you decided to refuse to play God’s Guessing Game, when you chose to become a “Knower of the Truth”? Is this not the sin of arrogance that separates us from God? Which of us is the Prodigal?

In my version of the Peoples’ Story, God does not speak from man’s mouth or write books with man’s hand. God did not promise me ANYTHING, and I will not kneel in obedience before some false God crafted from some gilded words out of a selfish hunger for heaven, or a selfish fear of burning hell.

All those years ago, when I confirmed myself in the role of secret hero, and set out on my secret hero mission to answer my mother’s prayers for peace, I did not know how much the answer would hurt her. There can be no world peace, or end to poverty, as long as we allow the pretense that God speaks from man’s mouth, or writes words with man’s hand, in order to command obedience by cultivating selfish hungers with promises of heaven, and selfish fears of burning hell.

Mother, I am am not the Antichrist. I am John, your grateful son. Puke up the fruit from the Tree of Arrogance. Submerge yourself in the waters of humility. And return to God’s Guessing Game. Return to God’s Garden where we can join together to help feed the hungry, heal the sick, and shelter the homeless,

My question, Pope Francis – Is it possible for a Grateful Seeker to be a Catholic? Must I believe that God sent his only son to be tortured to death so I can go to heaven? Is it not enough that I choose to be grateful for what I have been given rather than resentful of my limitations; to remember that I am not God, that I am guessing; to try to live a life of courage and compassion in the footsteps of Jesus, and to die without expectations or regrets?

There can never be world peace or an end to poverty as long as our educational systems trap children in their selfish heart and their knowing mind to command their obedience with the words of God promising heaven and threatening hell. If they stand in the grateful seeker they will see nothing worth fighting about, and they will be able to play together solving the problems that are creating poverty.

Pope Francis, I watched my saintly mother dance across death’s threshold, and would not be surprised if it were her that whispered Francis in your ear. I watched my hero father purge his body, clear his mind and charge across death’s threshold into his next adventure. I cannot bring to them the solution I set out so long ago to find. Therefore, I bring it to you –

You are at the head of the largest private educational system in the world. With a wave of your hand you could create a Catholic Hero Engine that could bring world peace, end poverty, and accelerate the people into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity. But to do this the Catholic church must accept the Grateful Seeker, must propagate the Grateful Seeker. If you propagate selfish hearts filled with a selfish hunger for heaven, and certain minds that claim to know the thoughts of God, you can never end war or poverty. Only the Grateful Seeker can and will solve these problems. Thus I must ask you –

Can I be a Catholic?

 

Posted in Letters to Pope Francis Tagged with: , , ,

Hear me, oh muse…

A Hand Full of Sand

“Rocket” guards my first novel, A Hand Full of Sand (1987) Written when I was 27, and living in my car parked on the beach in the Redwood National Park in northern California.

 

The Lord’s Bedchamber

I am in the mountains in northern Mendocino a long way from a paved road. As I write this post, I am in a place that is one stone’s throw to the north from the tent site I refer to in High Ground (1995), the bizarre story of my “enlightenment”, and one stone’s throw to the south of where once stood an old shack that was the site of my vision in The Lord’s Bedchamber (2002) that revealed the cast of characters of the Peace Story, and the solution to the problem of man’s inhumanity to man…

The Crossing of the Return Threshold
Hero Nation (2004),

New Atlantis My video to Governor Schwarzenegger (2009)
Bring on the Hero Show! My change.org petition to Governor Brown (2012)
The Bacchus Town Kickstarter Proposal (2013)
The Hero Engine Diagram, (2013)

Letters to Pope Francis (2014)
Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty
Re: The Threshold of Uncertainty – Escaping Anger and the Hero’s Journey back to Peace
Re: Crossing the Return Threshold – The Hero Jesus Story and the Crucifixion Climax

Posted in The Lord's Bedchamber Tagged with:

The Jesus Escape: Opening the Christian Way

Many years ago, before I discovered Lao Tzu and the Chinese Taoists, I was was trapped inside of my Monster, and because I would not punish my enemy, my Monster was punishing me. My blood ran like burning acid poured from the River Styx, pumping through my heart and mind. Out of a clear blue sky I would flash into rage, and spin downward into fantasies in which my enemies got what they deserved.

For one long year I lived in this living Hell that is the Monster Punisher, and like all of those driven insane by the pain this place inflicts upon those who are trapped there, my feverish solutions became more violent, more terminal. I was boiling in hatred, both for myself and those enemies so deserving of my wrath who walked free, laughing and joking and doing onto others what they had done onto me. There was a growing certainty that they must be punished, no matter the cost.

I was dying to get out, and knew the cost if I failed. I gave notice at the golf course where I was the mechanic, and set out in my 69′ Chevy Van, The Mystery Machine, to research a novel I was going to call The Uncertainty Principle, about a philosopher who sets out in a van to research a hypothesis that we cannot be wise enough to know where to seek that knowledge we most need to find. While on this journey to save my life, I seized upon the only exit from my Monster that I could find. I used the Jesus escape.

I forgave my enemy, and turned the other cheek. Unless you have been racked within your raging Monster, and survived to tell the tale, you cannot understand the relief that freedom brings. I wrote how I was drowning in the raging currents of the River Styx, screaming in pain with a voice that no one could hear, when I came upon a lonely fisherman with bloody hands casting his line into the waters sweeping through the Gates Of Hell. I grabbed on, and Jesus pulled me free. And I was grateful.

When Jesus freed me from living Hell, my mind cleared, and I could see how I was not blameless, and how my rage had concealed that from me. My body was stiff and bloated from my long inner battle with myself. I had a book with me called “The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity.” I began practicing the breathing and stretching exercises, trying to get my body, my heart, my mind back to center. I landed on “The Mountain”, living in a tent hidden deep in the woods with some more books by my new Taoist friends. I try to describe what happened next in a text called High Ground that I wrote two years after this experience.

Years later, in the text Dropping In, I try to explain what happened, and why. I believe it was the embracing of my grateful heart and the surrender of my selfish life into the service of giving something back that freed me from the raging hungers and trembling fears of my selfish ego. It was the surrender of my knowledge, the exercise of stopping thought and submerging myself in the experience of touching God, of breathing God in and out, that freed me from the delusions of the “holodeck”.

I place the opening of this Christian Way inside the living Hell that is the Monster’s raging heart, and to all of those trapped there I would say – seize the rope that Jesus has cast out to you. Forgive your enemies, for they, like you, are human, and none of us are blameless on God’s field of play. Set down your stones, Bro, and follow me through the Pass. I am going to try to get you out of here alive.

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog Tagged with:

Loving Christian, Angry Christian

You can love and trust God, be grateful for what you have been given, live with kindness and compassion, and die without expectations or regrets. You can fear God, resent your mortality, hunger for eternal life, and spend your turn seeking it or obeying those who promise it. You cannot do both.

It is not without trepidation that I set myself upon this path to challenge the Christianity of the Selfish Heart, and claim that the selling of Heaven as reward for earthly obedience, even when done with “good intention”, has as its primary effect the trapping of the people inside of the selfish heart. The selfish heart is the very place that Jesus was murdered by the selfish for trying to free us from. It is the trapping of the people inside of the selfish heart that is the barrier that separates the people from world peace. This would seem to be a poor way to honor the sacrifice made by the Prince of Peace, and no service to either God or the people, to so trap them on the field of war, whether for selfish intent, or mistaken belief.

Was it the loving grateful heart of Jesus that drew you to him, or was it promises of heavenly reward? Are your fears of your mortality stronger than your trust in God? Is the “rush” of righteous certainty more virtuous than the humble mind that questions itself? Have you forgotten how Jesus spent his turn upon God’s field of play?

The grateful heart is fearless and lives to give something back. The selfish heart is terrified and wants more and more to drown that fear. The grateful heart is filled with love. The selfish heart is never satisfied.

How did Jesus live?

How will you live?

Grateful for the gift? Or resentful of its limitation?

Posted in Bacchus Town Blog Tagged with: