Forward to my new book: Glorious Death: Glorious Life

Buddhists and Cathars jacket

author’s forward

Glorious Death? Human beings are curious of and frightened by their own death and the death of others they love. Death is taboo to most of us, and it is understandable that the complete unknown is terrifying so we evade it, clinging to what we know even more tightly.  But I will show you in this book that there is a way to understand and to embrace death, and that when we do our lives are transformed. 

Glorious Life?  Life is both predictable and unpredictable; both happy and sad; both satisfying and dissatisfying, but what is certain is that we do not have control of it.  Like setting sail on a stormy sea, we are at once battered by waves and wind, and the next becalmed or shrouded in dense fog. However, acceptance of our impermanence is the master key to dealing with such fluctuations; we need to have complete mastery of our sails and rudder and to learn to sail with the weather, into the weather, instead of against it. Realizing that all the challenges that the wild ocean throws up are spiritual tests and messages provided for us to overcome and interpret, allows us to strap in and actualize our human potential. 

Buddhists? Cathars? People of the Earth? There are so many spiritual pathways available to us in these days of diversity, but I have discovered that although they may have different appearances and structures, they are all reaching for the same lasting happiness and joy. They are all about mastering our restless fearful minds. The serenity and wisdom of the Buddhist way are well known.

The way of the Cathars (the Good), a medieval group of Christian mystics in Europe branded as heretics by the Church of Rome because of their spiritual beliefs, may not be so well-known because they were exterminated by the close of the 14th century. 

But now is the time of the revival they predicted 700 years later at a time when the Earth and its people are rapidly deteriorating.  The Cathar Creed is the perfect blueprint for us to fully realize that we special humans with our essence of pure love are not aliens here on Earth, but we are the good way for the Earth and its community to heal. 

People of the Earth? The surviving indigenous tribes of our world possess the wisdom to save the planet and to live in harmony. In fact, they are the only people who dedicate themselves entirely as custodians of the Earth, protecting species and living in awe and respect for what the Great Mother Nature has supplied to allow humans to evolve spiritually. The natural world which we moderns have made ourselves separate from provides the perfect conditions for us to excel in love and light, and to bring our intrinsic goodness to bear.

All three of these traditions have brought me personally to a breath-taking watershed.  I look down into the great oceans and I have no fear of death or life, and I have come to surrender to the truth that the world we think we know is just a tiny part of the vast invisible world, the ocean of spirits of love. This is our origin.  In other words, I have fully awoken to the reality of the supremacy of universal love, and that everything else is simply weather. 

I write this work, not from a place of dazzling qualifications or impeccable experience, exhaustive scholarly research or struggles for recognition or advancement. In fact, I have deliberately put aside such accolades and indicators of success, and instead offer a different kind of intelligence and a world of perceptions unique to their expresser. They are testimony above all to being a human spirit. My motivation is to share my view of the world as honestly as I can, striving to write from my true nature which I have consciously worked to uncover during my enchanted life.

I find my true nature to be akin not to heroes or celebrities, state leaders or explorers, but more to mystics and castaways, contemplatives and psychics. In my short human life, I have found the great truth in my own mind as I create it for myself, for it does not exist without my creation. By virtue of our dazzling consciousness, human beings are extraordinary creators.

Living and working in Japan, I have been given a unique opportunity not only to experience an ancient and bizarre culture first-hand but also to question or reappraise many aspects of life that ‘westerners’ take for granted. As a person of faith, one of those aspects is exactly that, faith.  It is well-known that most Japanese reject notions of religious affiliation and look both uncomfortable and incredulous when asked in public what they truly believe in or at any mention of spirituality.

It has been said that Japanese have little imagination which on the surface may be attributable to their passivity and conformity to the greater social conscience.  It is the social system and customs which expect them to be self-contained, restrained, and so they are often reluctant to exchange true feelings or experiences. They are however skilled readers of the air once they have trust.

Therefore, when a westerner, usually born, brought-up and educated in a Christian, Moslem or Hindu atmosphere, talks freely about faith feelings, it seems that it is almost impossible for them to grasp another life course outside superficially secular Japan.  In fact, many Japanese are rarely if ever exposed to foreigners: there are still strong traces of xenophobia from the 250-year period of the country’s closure.

Surely faith has to be recognized by those who realize its personal importance?  Faith?  Conviction?  Trust? These are not qualities that come easily to many Japanese because there are so many types of fear running through their veins. There is also a formidable sense of national pride and duty under the skin, a sense that everything Japanese is best, superior. Here religion and spirituality are very much a social pursuit.  This is part of the necessity of belonging so that the countless temples (Buddhist) and shrines (Shintoist) double as community, culture, and mental health centres.

It is from my stance as a person with a commitment to the intrinsic power of the human race and with indestructible confidence in my own true nature, that I write this book.  My life is unimaginable to most mono-cultural and mono-linguistic Japanese – packing up two suitcases and leaving my ‘homeland’ to live in this land of endemic shyness and nationalism, sampling many spiritual teachings and alternative disciplines along my route, and so on.

You Japan, though we are now one, cannot imagine my life.  So, I dedicate this work to you.  It is a bringing out of the roots of my faith, my origins, and the process of my life as a spiritual seeker.  I want you to experience my invisible Christian upbringing and education, the purity of my lineage; in fact, the whole purpose of my being; to experience my brushes with Islam and Taoism, Sufism and Hinduism, Judaism and Jesuits in the multicultural environment of my birth.

This is my mission: to share my blessed life with a nation which Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism created a form of Chinese Buddhism especially for. He is recognized as, one of the very few Japanese who have attained a universality far beyond the limitations of nation or race.

In 1950, after the Pacific War was resolved and Japan was occupied by the United States, there was a purging of religion and education.  In Buddhist terms, it was called the Dharma Crisis, and through my involvement for 11 years with a Shingon Buddhist teaching, I have encountered this first-hand, although it has mostly been buried under recorded Japanese history of the period so it is difficult to research. Indeed, as a result of the government inquisition, all religious organizations, no matter what denomination, were scrutinized and subjected to a vicious authenticity check. 

The founder of the teaching was in fact thrown into prison for his deep convictions and faith with murderers and other capital criminals, his Buddhist instruments confiscated, and his qualifications and motivations examined microscopically.  This truly tested the faith of his small sangha (community), most of whom disassociated themselves, but those remaining deepened their conviction leading to worldwide strength of the teaching today. This Dharma Crisis was an enormous test of faith for the whole nation, and it has clearly engendered the moral and religious cowardice or seeming indifference that exists today as a result.

It seems that people, in general, are divided into two groups: those who need to know, and those who just-know. Those driven by fear and doubt, and those who are fearless and accepting. Those who think and those who do not. Those who consider the physical sun to be the only source of light in the world shining down on them, and those who are their own sun shining on themselves and others. Those who have taken up permanent residence in their minds, and those who have stepped on to the bridge of their mind and walked out into the limitless field of their consciousness.

As I write, I find myself conflicted and separated by trying to cater for both of these groups, not wanting to leave anyone out. For example, when writing about sincerity and secrecy in relation to the Cathar creed, The Church of Love, I have to describe the Cathar-Catholic history and struggle in great detail so that permanent residents can understand the background; meanwhile, I am longing to get to the spiritual centre of things, and do not want to be pinned down by the time-space continuum.

It feels as if there is a dense web of doubt and proof-seeking, a kind of contagion emanating from the thinkers, the limited, which threatens to draw me in.  So, I want to kick free of it and unconditionally dart around the infinite field which has no horizons or divisions, or tenant agreements, without any appointments or duration. I, therefore, have inserted small articles into the text so that the received knowledge concerning Buddhism, Catharism and Creation Spiritualism is available to those who need it.

Thinkers habitually make questions and construct opinions, which can potentially tyrannize a writer, blocking him or her from writing anything at all. They are natural fighters with an obsession with analysis and understanding on their terms, but they have the power to sway others in this modern life dominated by the intellect. Surely it must be an affliction to always need to justify and debate in order to be accepted, or to gain approval from the intelligentsia fashion leaders, but that is the norm in developed nations.

As Buddha is reputed to have said, People with opinions just go around bothering people all the time. What I write in this book is not opinion but insight gleaned from my spiritual training and awakening mind. And yet, I am unable to exclude this majority group because my message concerns them most of all. I have no dispute with anyone. (Buddha)

In the end, readers will make up their own minds about my Glorious Death: Glorious Life based on so many conditional factors. Therefore, writing anything using abstract symbols capable of such beauty, such harm, such hypnosis, such confusion, is a leap of faith into an abyss. I leap willingly.

And as for my own Glorious Death, the title of this book? I die every night in my dreams. It is no stranger to me.

Evenings had always been our special time back in the city, each one a life in its own right. It was usually initiated with flames and candles, and the opening of corks. Each a make or break, visible or invisible, irresistible attraction or cold polarization. Now, in the mountains, evenings ended in small deaths in the full darkness and silence. We two isolated souls, which might sting or flee at any moment, were entirely invisible here. (Veil, a novel of Cathars and Troubadours by Linden Thorp)

To wake each morning is a blessing, a new start, a stand against the fear that the human mind throws up like the jackknife of a bully.  During all my moments, the Veil of my physical death flutters above me, giving me glimpses of the invisible world beyond the bridge.

My motivation in writing this book then is to share my journey and to drop seeds into fertile earth.  As a Buddhist practitioner, I have already written a great deal, but it was my discovery of the universal Cathar Creed combined with the realization that I was a member of the 20th-century Cathar revival behind the scenes, that made me sit down and determine to create it.  I believe this perfect Creed entitled The Church of Love, will suit all beings regardless of their supposed level, caste, status, thinking or no-thinking in the visible world. All beings are perfectly equal in the invisible world.

In order to familiarize the territory before revealing the Creed, I share my blueprints and the spiritual schemes which have brought me to this Glorious point, this watershed.  Some would say perhaps that Buddhists, Cathars, and Indigenous Australians have no fear or doubt because they are at liberty to embody their beliefs. But I would go a step further and suggest that beliefs are dead thoughts, museum pieces, plastic flowers compared with the energy stream that these three breeds of spiritual giants stand knee deep in.

The energy flow of all humans without exception consists of light and love and humanity is itself the Church of Love.

The Church of Love recognizes that the way we (humans) are may be the way of those around us because we (humans) are the way.

Embodying love, being the universal energy of love, cannot be limited to inert thoughts or beliefs, or added to a tomorrow to-do list. It happens right now and here inside us.

Once we have put our visual accessories time and space aside, then reality consists only of now – this moment, not the next or the one before, and here – without borders or differences, regardless of weather or religion. The conditioned mind may think this notion embodying love is an interesting concept, an intriguing theory even, but it will immediately disappear as thoughts and theories always do the moment it is made conscious. By thinking about it, it is immediately made indirect, a mere interpretation. So, it is useful to create a mindful gap around this seed that has been dropped into your being and stay quietly in that gap. In other words, resist thinking about it or even giving it a name. Mark it as that thingy, or your favourite song – music is concrete so cannot be erased as abstracts such as words can.

The thingy must be gently held back outside the gap, prevented from its usual destructive, interfering activities. Then the love can flow freely, indiscriminately, for all of the people around you: like a fresh mountain stream cascading across everything in its path.

In this gap, this opening, you can use your borrowed human muscles and limbs to flow or swim into your day ahead. Staying in this fluid state you enter a crowded space, a train carriage, a shopping centre, or a classroom. With every square inch of your body and your energy field, you can live the divine love that you have eternally embodied once the conditioned mind is quiet.

Then you make eye contact only to love. You spread your lips in a smile only to love. You extend your arms and stride forward with your legs only to love. It is absolutely the only agenda your spirit has. Next, staying for as long as you can in that identity-less gap, just radiate into now and here, and others around you will radiate in response. They will use their eyes only to acknowledge your light and being.  They will spread their lips in a smile only to radiate.  They will extend their physical form in a sincere gesture of appreciation only for the light you bring. And they will expect nothing in return.

Inside this gap is where we belong. It is our true nature. There are no labels or identities, no hierarchies or structure. It is the flow and flux of our energy origins, the wide river of our indestructible human love and light.

Those who are, know.

(Church of Love, Cathar Creed, circa 1244)

 

March 2016, Osaka.     

 

Gratitude to Mariko Kinoshita for her gorgeous artwork

Temple Chronicle: 18th February

attached

When someone you thought was so close to you dies, you will see it as a desertion because you are attached, in some way reliant, leaning on them. They have seemingly aborted their journey by your side, breaking their contract. Naturally, there are moments of aching loneliness and the glaring need to make changes, to adapt to a new style of life in their absence. There is also the profound shock that the object of your love, and perhaps your entire life, has vanished forever, perhaps suddenly.

We can easily project our feelings of need or possession on to others, contaminating them, forcing them to feel guilt if we do not get our own way, or if they do not feel or act the way we expect them to. And so, in the name of ‘love,’ we pressurize the people around us exactly so that we can get our own way, and use fixative from the mind to make love permanent. This manipulation is not ‘love.’ It leaves others with no choice but to wear masks, to be dishonest, to spare our feelings, and ultimately under the duress of these acts of violence and separation, they cannot bring out their true nature. This creates something unnatural, a museum piece, a stagnant pool, a plastic flower.

Divine love, the energy or force of our essence as humans, flows like light going wherever it can, indiscriminately. Its focus is as wide as the horizon, and it is not bound by likes or dislikes, by fads or fashions. When we embody love we know there is no choice and that the energy of our loved one is required to be combined with ours for a universal invisible purpose. The love embodiment of others will find us if we remain open, unprotected, standing always in the full flow.

Love is like the weather or the perpetual blue sky behind clouds. The conditioned mind has no power to change it because it is limitless, way beyond the visual aids of ‘time’ and ‘space.’

A beloved husband drowns while swimming in the ocean with his wife. She eventually finds his body along the beach. There are sparkling grains of sand on his lips, and that is what she remembers most of the last sight of him. She grieves, haunted by their significant moments together during a lifetime, but gradually she picks up her life and continues on with a strong sense that her love for him will never end. Then one day after she has healed, she visits his favourite local art gallery and there, walking towards her, she sees him. She wants to look more closely, but he is wearing a hat obscuring his face, and he quickly leaves, so she follows him, and presents herself in his art class.

Looking directly into his eyes, ravaged by his voice, she collapses with the shock of this appearance, and he is predictably bewildered by her reaction. She is certain he has come back to her exactly so that she can love him without fixing him in stone, without turning him into an object, and by letting his true nature run free.

Soon he dies, for a second time, and she receives a memorial card inviting her to his final exhibition consisting of all the paintings he did once they were together though briefly. And there, he has captured her swimming fearlessly full in the flow, and the painting sets her true nature free at once.

At last, they are both embodied in their love and breathe together as one eternally.

teachers

 

Temple Chronicle: 4th February

divine link 1

There is no escape from suffering for Japanese Buddhist lay practitioners. Daily life and stark reality are the anchor of life here: no time for dreams and personal ambitions. Endless conversations about how foreigners practise the teachings of Nirvana often lead to the subject of retreats. Only monastic practitioners here have that opportunity.

The wide temple halls are filled with neat kneelings, the corridors polished with slippers, and escalators well trodden by hordes of attendees who travel long distances. Mass purification is advocated by the founder, the cutting of negative karma achieved in countless ways of purification. Vigorous practice takes on many forms. There is so much to do here to let the clouds of Dharma float freely, the traces of so much massacre and ritual suicide vanish.

Today is the embarkation day for the Masters so it is marked every year at this time. They followed their hearts and their mission to act on their compassion for all beings, giving up their comfortable way of life and of fulfilling the expectations of society. They had no idea what each day would bring for themselves or their children, but they shared the journey totally, supporting each other no matter what.  This is what Buddha Shakyamuni did also, in the firm belief that he could overcome anything by walking away from creature comforts, from his family.  Cutting off his long hair and giving his princely robes to his servant, he set off into the unknown.  There was no belief system to support him, and there were no fellow-travellers.  He had only his compassion and his knowledge that suffering was a tool to reach true liberation from the stranglehold of the mind.

We can renounce every day.  In your mind, you can die a little death, the death or extinguishing of human craving, human fear.  Fear can die and wither away just like the body does, and with that, true nature reveals itself.  Fear narrows the spirit, roping it in, forcing the poison of greed and ignorance and hatred through the veins.  By letting go of everything we have ever known, standing naked, blind, deaf, decommissioned, in the great stillness and silence, our original goodness can fragrance everything. We become able to wear physical death like a veil, and human life a tunic.

Living with no system or framework to slip unconsciously into:  Living full-time in our individual temples of goodness and beauty: Here and Now, truly settled in the dead centre of each second of man’s time with no thought of being anywhere or anyone else, the mists and dust clouds clear so that we embody the divine light. It shines eternally thanks to the enveloping darkness.

Especially here in Japan, the land of the collective conscience, individual and diverse lights are badly needed, and the inner beauty of each soul is bursting to emerge.  The fear of not-conforming and being undutiful is a paralysis.  The fear of not wearing the masks of ‘following’ or ‘accepting’ are prohibitive to the true flourishing of Buddha Nature, to catching the lightning glimpses of enlightenment which persistently suffuse in the air.  The joy of actually overcoming the extreme difficulties of human birth and all hardships to follow is our contentment.

The master gently invites us to put aside duty and compulsion to conform so that our true nature can shine out. 

The lotus blooms only when its roots anchor  in mud.

reclining Buddha

A Tidal Wave of Monsters and Devils, Torture and War

interfering

If we are sucked into the media vacuum, infiltrated by disturbing images of violence and corruption which become natural to us, then little by little we will not notice anything good and filled with light. If we are only stimulated by death and demise, by materialistic mystery and gore, then how can we be aware of the real universe, the infinity and eternity we are each vital components of? The natural energy in the wild undisturbed places, flowing and pulsing, is the true nature of the planet, and it is our true nature too. These snapshots and effigies of terror we cram into our eyes, block our true nature as well as damaging the planet at many and various levels.

For the majority of us, in our relaxation time away from work and other responsibilities, we willingly fill ourselves with monsters and demons, with the filth and greed of urban life. Hungry human potentail 1ghosts are howling all around us, their suffering intense and, we say, unimaginable. But there is no question of using the imagination to stand in the shoes of others because we ourselves are deeply suffering beneath the veneer of respectability, the fragile semblance of convenience and fulfilment. We too are howling in the pits of our spirits – a million suicides, thousands of torture methods, starvation and sensory deprivation, hounded and hided. When we have had enough, we flick away the sordid pictures of evil as someone else’s business, the concern of the powers that be, then swallow and get on with creating our own brand of it.

In a string of movies, articles and books widely available, even popular, we can find torture, abuse, greed and ignorance on a grand scale; lust and betrayal, and the fertilising of more and more babies in the name of calming the irrepressible urges. At each channel change, the mutating of deadly diseases and aliens which target us and fix us as fugitives from our own souls, our true nature, abound. We run in terror, always in the dark depending on fickle torchlight instead of our own light, bewildered and manipulated by others. We are rats in a maze of fear entirely synthesised by the mind, so heavily drugged by our own picture shows, that we Japanese weather 4cannot climb a nearby tree to see the exit.

In just one session of viewing the flashing screen, I am both tortured and torture, the rack stretching me, my victim, until the tendons and ligaments snap. I hold hospital cardiologists at gunpoint because my son will die without a transplant, and I am too poor to buy him a heart. I am a politician involved in outsourcing the killing of Moslems in Iraq to mercenaries, paying them billions of dollars to take them out of my hands. I am a special squad policeman wading through the sewers every night, working through suicides and poisonous snakes, bag-snatchers who sell their merchandise for inflated prices so they can buy their cocaine fixes, the possessed who bite and speak in scrambled tongues, a dead baby found in the gutter and live Hell Realmsbaby in the womb of my wife. Human life seems irreversibly doomed. It is a living hell.

The oblivion of orgasms, inebriation and lap dancers are what most people pursue, either openly or in secret. Erotic videos flood the internet which most of us instantly judge and dismiss, and yet we are the egocentric handsome guy masturbating while not losing eye-contact with the camera lens for a second except to see how enormous he has become, and we wait too for his moment of sticky heaven. We are the circus acts of hard inflamed penises curling and thrusting into mouths and assorted orifices in tandem. We are the insatiable girl who writhes repeatedly on a rod-like penis for the camera, blatant, moaning, putting off the moment of explosion masterfully. We writhe, we are repeatedly renewed, we feel mistaken love, and flood with hormones we are told are healthy.wave

All this, not just the respectable parts, is us. Each horror is a bubble constituting the massive wave of in-balance and artificiality. How can we not long for the end of this onslaught, this hell realm? How can we not long to know that our awareness has expanded to blot it all out, the veil of death lifted, and that our physical bodies are no longer needed. That it is the state of the human race. Only our emptiness and detachment will make it stop. Only letting our positive and undistorted light shine out into the invisible world will balance this visible world. Our compassion and acceptance is the only subduing influence that we can bring to bear on this deluge which constantly batters the shores of our true nature.

higher mind

Trapped Angels

ellipse 1

There are so many varied stages to the spiritual experience, and it is for each of us to live through them on our own terms being sincere with ourselves every second. Hopefully we can share those transitions with others, but for the most part, we need to be silent, shifted away from such trivialities as thought, removed from the mind-field of making comparisons, and avoiding the white knuckles of attachment to the sacred teachings because they are merely a means whereby.

We can be inspired to elevate ourselves by words, ideas and by texts, but we must always remember that they are entirely abstract. They are indirect and so necessitate our correct interpretation, no matter how beautiful they may seem. We can allow them to touch us deeply, but they do not constitute our faith, our core, our true nature. They are risky accessories which if we lose our self-honesty for a split second could put us out of balance. So we have to learn to roll away the parchments, close the books, and live entirely according to ourselves, because only we humans are the way. It is for each of us to listen deeply to our mission directly. Such accessories can amplify or distort such messages.

Sacred chants and melodies built on ancient mantras in forgotten languages are more concrete, as their vibrations can amalgamate with our own and so set in motion desirable rhythms. They deep meditationare invisible, not interpretable, and so they prevent us from manufacturing concepts and then becoming attached to them. Our base human emotions are capable of rendering these sacred means into commodities, false realities or rafts, which convey us to a fixed location in the eternal, irrepressible surge of energy that is existence. We must leave the raft behind for others to use. We must close the book. We must listen to our own vibrational patterns.

Experience, it is said, is needed to bring us closer to true happiness and to have wisdom, but this can become fixed also, creating pride and narrowness. Unless we are mindful in our thoughts and words, carefully monitoring them to find a middle way, it is quite possible to create very damaging experience, which we then turn into stone out of the craving of the lower mind for permanence. For experience to be of value I have learned not to always leave it behind me like a snail trail in a linear model, but to meet it head on as the ellipse of our living moments is completed again and again. Experience has the potential to be as lifeless as thought if it always relegated to the past. Similarly, Dharmakayapredictions of elevation into the future according to prescribed systems and stages, can splinter the moment. Ever-lasting nowness is not subject to the shallow concepts of time and space. We must step beyond them into reality.

In true stillness and the great silence we can feel that the thin membrane of the skin is the only flimsy barrier between the inside and the outside. The skin pores are two-way valves so that the inside and outside become one. Similarly, the veil of death is the only other flimsy separation between the visible and the invisible. This unique feeling ‘nowness’ is reality, beyond all interpretation and comparison. It is our true nature.

Giving to others without conditions is our true nature. If we deem our human form truly Scan 4impermanent then there is no impediment to giving our lives for others for we are bestowing pure spirit or energy to one another. This is our mission. After all, the Universe and Nature gives us a chance at human life without a second thought. Due to our special qualities of divine and unconditional love, our human form then gives us the perfect opportunity to express them.

We can give of the material world because it is simply a means for us to express our divinity. But as the visible is the opposite of the invisible, and everything in the vast invisible world is reflected in the environment of matter in which we find ourselves manifest, we can succeed in our human endeavours if we notice those reflections in reality without interpreting them. We must find balance, the middle way, between our base human mind, which reflects the delusional nature of matter, and our higher mind or true nature, which reflects the invisible reality or truth of the Universe. We embody both the human and the invisible, constantly going between them to find a middle path. We must accept both equally, connecting them together to create a never-ending web of goodness and light.

We humans are indeed angels and can very easily get trapped in the world of matter because we struggle to make meaning and in so doing we may become oblivious to the subtle energies of our origins. The two-way valves in our skin pores can get blocked with such crude materials, so ellipsewe must strive to keep the divine tides ebbing and flowing despite the limitations of the mind of matter. If we do not stay awake during our visit to this dangerous material world, we may become blocked and it will become almost impossible to escape and go back to the source.

Extract from ‘Veil,’ showing how the Cathars viewed human life.

 

Veil book jacket

Fabrisse, a well-know trobiaritz (poet-minstrel) and Bons August (a Bonnes or Good, member of the Church of Love) discuss how humans are trapped angels.

………….And so it was………..What do lovers talk of in the Sacrarium at midnight? Each night the excitement of our loving in the valley of high candles was followed by much closeness. Naked, warmed by the flames of our little fire, we stretched out and intertwined a leg or an arm, and with sleepy eyes began to talk.

There was great calm and safety in the tiny room surrounded by holy instruments with the wind howling outside. And this particular night, I was ready to go beyond all temporal life, and to reach out into the vast spiritual world.

I looked hard at you, examining a flawless body, made pure by prayer and fasting, by putting aside your own needs and guiding others to your pathway. You worked as a simple weaver, keeping yourself to yourself, responding to the needs of your customers for whom you lovingly made tunics.

I asked softly as I finger-tipped the line of fine dark hairs running between your breasts up from your navel,

“When and why did the naked flesh, the armpits and crevices, the openings and extensions of the miracle of the body, become forbidden by the followers of Christ? How could something like this being that I survey be considered in any way evil?”

“Certainly Christ in human form was born naked. Born from the passion and procreation of his mother and father. Born from such passion as we have for each other.”

I was pleasantly surprised to learn yet another natural belief from my new teacher.

“You mean the virgin conception is a fancy?”

“His flesh was born of flesh. The spirit was made flesh, exactly as the Bible says. Our Lord was a child of such joy, such curiosity! That could only have come from the joy of his parents as they rolled around each other. As they coiled and uncoiled, tensed muscles steadily and relaxed them to create fluids in which to transfer the seed from here to here.”

He smiled as he lightly touched the place of exit of the seed of himself, and then touched me gently where I would receive such a seed.

“There is nothing here to hide or fear. But the lowland Friars and clergy mistakenly became unable to focus on their studies if there were thoughts or traces of women around. Then men and women became separate, which is something so unnatural. It is so tragic that women cannot become priests of God in the Roman faith. If they were permitted, then perhaps the wolves would not have become dominant.”

I understood how if natural things were hidden, they would become sought after. Humans always enjoyed the quest for something they were not able or not allowed to see.

He explained further.

“The devil will be allowed in if there are secrets. He thrives on them. He creeps into the fickle thoughts of humans, and has the skills to make them obsess. We must not allow these to ever get a hold.”

It was true. I craved his lovemaking in my mind when I was away from him. I asked, “Is it wrong to desire you when I am away from you?”

“No! No! That is the pleasure. And once we become used to each other, that phase of longing will be over, and we will go beyond. Such temporal pleasures are joyful, but we must be careful not to beget a child! There are already too many angels trapped inside bodies. And many evil spirits who will eagerly inhabit a body too full of the wrong kind of thoughts.”

I understood that I was still fertile and he virile, so we must make our pleasure secure by the use of herbs which would not allow this transfer to take place.

“My darling, am I such a trapped angel to you?”

“No, your songs keep you free, and your teaching of the art of making holy sounds, your precious Alexandra. But sometimes you are trapped by your fears or wrong thinking, by your human weakness. Sometimes you go back, and that will happen until you take the Consolamentum.”

This word was bandied around the village, associated with the Good and their ability to transcend those of lowland faith. But apart from the word and the notion of a final blessing before death, I knew little more.

“My Lord, tell me more about this. Am I ready to receive it yet?”

He became more serious, moving away a little so he could see my expressions clearly, and holding my hand firmly.

“Must I be clothed to receive it? ”I made to get up and cover myself.

“When the time is right, we will dress and kneel. But Fabrisse, you know there is no going back once you receive it. You can never go back to the way of your lowland faith.”

I understood, and already after only a short time I was so refreshed by the ways of the Good in the pure air of the mountains.

“I know. And I know that there is much to cleanse before I am ready. Please go on teaching me, and gradually I will take on your ways.”

He asked me if I had any doubts that through him I could connect to the original apostles. Could I accept that I would be connected through an unbroken line of ancestors, directly back to the true spirit of Christ himself?

“August, my Lord, it has not been my habit to have doubts through the whole of my life. Why should I start now, especially since my two freed angels have come to me. I am quite ready to be baptized by fire, having so long ago been baptized by water.”

“Then we must train more rigorously, for there is not much time. I heard that the Cardinals are holding inquisition courts all over Roussillon, and their holy soldiers are arresting all adults who do not pledge themselves wholeheartedly to the Romans, leaving only the children and animals untouched.”

“I am not afraid. Though many others are, I know. But the holy spirits of these high places will prevail I am sure. Perhaps they will come for me, for I must sing at the Vigil soon. I am a public figure in the midlands, and there are the spies even  around here.”

I was truly not afraid. But I feared that my beloved Alexandra would be taken, for some said that the lusty Cardinals were taking the beautiful virgins for themselves.

“…And what of my Alexandra? Is she worthy of receiving the Consolamentum also?” “What have you told her of us?”

“Nothing so far. She is so absorbed in her initiation into trouverie that she has not questioned I think.”

“Yes, one so pure with such a mission as hers is perfect. Let her training commence immediately. Bring her to me when you can.”

“August, I must warn you that her father locks her away when she is not with me. And before I took her on, he checked my credentials so thoroughly to make sure I was not a lusty man in disguise in search of a concubine.”

“There you have said it my lady! We must disguise her if she is to come to me. A young curate from the lowlands is due to come to reside at my brother’s house, but I know that he has the pox and is not able to make the journey. Can you find the garb to change her and send her to me in the afternoons after she has had her lessons with you?”

It was agreed then. I must work quickly to tell her, and to swear her to secrecy, for her father must never know. He would certainly be able to betray us. He trusts no one.

“And now, the Creed. There is little time to prepare something that must transcend time.”

He jumped down to floor level and reached under the bed lifting a rough silk-wrapped parcel onto our bed. Before he revealed it, he closed his eyes, kneeling tall, and once more I saw his veil and longed to die with him. Never had I witnessed a single potent energy such as his. It filled my senses, compelling me to do the same.

I knelt tall opposite him and closed my eyes behind me the sounds of the howling wind, the faint crackling of the candle flame. Nearby in the creaking of the chestnut tree and in the distant barking of the shepherd’s dogs, I felt my eyes open. It was no ordinary opening. It felt like waking up for the very first time. Later I learned that these were the eyes of my soul, the eyes of spirit. This would help me to focus like August did.

Bons August gently opened the fabric wrapping to reveal a parchment scroll, tied with a green cord like the one he generally wore at his waist. He sat cross-legged, still opposite me, begging me to listen while he explained the clauses of the Creed which had been agreed by all the other Bons and Bonus.

“It’s almost finished, but you are the one who must finally decide, for you must find a song to convey these truths like the wind into the hearts of the powerful landowners and policy makers who will attend the Vigil. There will be Bishops from Palmiers and Toulouse present, so these sentiments must be disguised so they cannot guess.”

“Yes, since the precipice at Serrabona, I have felt the glimmerings of this important song. It comes from my olive press without logic or reason, so I must work to weave these codices into its fabric. Please make it crystal clear to me my Lord, so that I can make no mistakes.”

He reached across to touch the side of my face with the back of his long hand, its fine hairs like silk creating a frisson which made me dizzy with ecstasy.

“My Lady, this is truly the work of all the gods and apostles. But it is dangerous and there is no return. Those who are ready to hear will hear in their hearts. Those who are not may be suspicious, may betray you.”

“I know my love precisely what I am doing. I know my fate, and perhaps always have. As you patiently answer my questions or instruct me, I recognize all the doubts, all the dissatisfactions clustered around this thing called faith throughout my life. I now understand the difference between theory and practice. We perhaps know in our heads, in our limited minds, but how to live those baubles of the mind called ‘beliefs?’”

“Yes, surely these faint discords, although most people bury them in the name of harmony, to meet the expectations of others, or because their courage is not strong enough, are faith itself. For how can we each accept the faith of others. We have to be a light unto ourselves. We can only depend on ourselves in human life, for if the human vessel is to fulfill its mission, to complete its voyage, it must listen to itself only.

The wolves herd the sheep into their jewel-encrusted houses built for them with the sweat and toil of pure angels in devotion to God, a physical God. They must repeat the same rituals, be regulated by confession and receiving the Body and the Blood of this imaginary Christ in communion. The former arouses the lusty Friars and stuffs their fantasies, and the latter ends up in the latrines. They are mistaken in not recognizing our true nature and encouraging us to embody it in everyday life through love.”

“Yes it is so clear to me now. But why could I not see it before. This perplexes me darling August.”

“You were not ready before my Lady. You were trapped, caught deep in the mire of mask wearing and appearances. The Friars and all their followers had filled your ears with doctrine and dogma so that you were deaf to yourself and the truth of nature.”

“Yes, but something was calling me to the high passes from the sweaty valleys. And although the children and loyal spinners protested, crying tears of insecurity at leaving what they knew so well. It was hard not to give into them, but I trusted my instincts. They led me to you my Lord.”

“The spirit moves us if we let it. It teems and cascades like the mightiest of waterfalls and if we resist damming the stream with petty logic and narrow reason, then it will flow through us and with us.”

We kissed tearfully. Such purity, such truth, was here.

“Now! How does this sound?”

Bons August read the clauses of each codex to check my understanding of them. We must try to anticipate how it would be received by other lowland sheep, for it was to include and one day to reach all the people of the Earth.

“The Church of Love.”

He began, and I must write my impressions to add to the embers of my song. I scratched on a slate as he spoke.

“First. The Church of Love has no fabric only understanding.”

Oh, how I agreed with this. Some found the darkness, the buried saints and relics, the stained glass stories of the Bible, the exotic resins of incense and presence of holy water, a haven, a shelter. But I had always felt enclosed, synthetic. No living things are present there, and not even light is allowed its freedom. Flowers are cut. They die as we watch them on the altar cloth. The darkness made by curtains always drawn, by doors and secrets, the priest always a filter between God and the sinner.

“This is so joyful. Never could I know the gods, the spirits, inside, locked away in the cold thick darkness. That first day in the threshing yard when you came to me, sitting among the winnowed barley, I found myself in a real church. I never wanted to set foot inside another false church ever again. Indeed, I hope we can move to a more natural bed than this one soon. In a cave in wintertime, or a tree in summer snuggling up to all the apples and fragrant leaves.

‘Understanding.’

Yes, the invisible and formless. Love is understanding. If we allow love to be in its original state, we understand everything. There are no doubts or dark corners because the great light shines on all beings equally.”

August smiled, loving me with such a glorious light of complete understanding. He promised me that we would move out of the chapel very soon much closer to the gods, set up high in the abandoned fortresses on the crags.

“Your song my Lady. Can this citadel of love and space be expressed with your voice?”

“Oh yes, and yes! It ‘comes’ unbidden. It is just as you said.”

He went on satisfied.

“Second. The Church of Love has no membership, save those who know that they belong.”

My heart began to sink, to fall down the precipice of regret when I thought of how many conditions there were to being a member of a parish and a communion. The covenants, the blessings, the offerings and taxes, the service and favours. But worst of all was the pride. Belonging to such and such a parish, led by such a priest, the favourite of this Bishop and that Cardinal.

“Titles. Status. Spiritual level. Record of purity, number of blemishes and indiscretions. All the counting and measuring! The badges and awards! Every single one is a separation, a drawn curtain. We position ourselves separately from others. Different. We attract attention this way. It is violence I no longer commit. When people ask me about my faith, my church, my priest, I tell them it is ‘humanity,’ it is ‘love.’”

Again August is pleased. He tells me he longs for my performance at the Vigil. And so, we must ensure together that the creed is acceptable universally, that there can be no possible confusion so simple is it. We must continue in haste in the  afternoon.

“There is much to do my beautiful lady. Before we leave this sacred bed where we are free to be our true selves and which is blessed by all the holy energies, allow me to bless you. Let me leave you with a thought to fill your time away from  me.”

I buried my face in his fragrant beard, smiling, filled with gratitude for having been treated to such unconditional love for the first time in my life.

“Please let my divine training begin and continue forever.”

I moved away and knelt in front of him.

 

On the way back to the ostal that dawn, I had much to arrange. First, before starting the practice of my songs for the Vigil, I must feed some more scraps to the spinners giving them more hope from Bons August. Finally, I must prepare my Alexandra for the training of her life and find her disguise.

I hurried along checking the surroundings for spies. It was not quite dawn and looking down the slope, I could see that no one stirred yet in the ostal.

Oh sacred rock, I cannot believe it! I cannot actually accept that the gods are walking amongst we sinners, and that they are touching my life. I have tried all my life to find such love, in each of my 6 husbands all of whom have died, and in my children, some of whom have also died. But it has escaped me until now. It seems that it was impossible down on the plains, and that it is only with the pure air that I am ready to see the true glories of the gods.

It has been intended I am sure that my lowlands Roman faith would bring me to this rarefied place. I am certain that there is good in it, and that I have benefitted so much from it. But that somehow, there has been a breakage in the ancestry leading back to the first teachings and the apostles. Somehow it is no longer pure, it has become corrupt.

But, the interrogators will ask me, how can I be so sure that the Good are actually ‘good?’

How did August put it? Yes, ‘the devil made the world and everything in it, but only God could make the souls of beings, and they remained pure and eternal. And through an agreement between the forces of good and evil it was that the bodies of men, fabricated by the devil, were deemed the only place where the goodness of the indestructible soul could be tested.’

And,‘It is the life that teaches us the lessons we must learn to get free from the devil, life that shows us how to see only good in everyone and  everything.’

These lessons are precious and we can find them everywhere we look. But up here in the mountains where the light is so clear, they are more evident to those who are ready to see them and to take them into their lives.

Ah, I was so ready in the threshing yard that day when not one but two gods walked into my ostal. Fabrisse de Caramany, the blessed! It was the moment when any  fears I had of human life, which I have to say were few and far between, completely vanished.

There is really no question to ask. Questions, August says, are the currency of devils and doubters. The Good and unconditional love is what our spirits are made flesh to seek out and find. And it is right that we must adore those Good that walk amongst us in male or female form. The Good is all we need to embrace and to live. Yes, we must train every minute to see nothing but the Good in everyone and everything. And if we fail or make mistakes, the Good God will forgive us if we repent.

‘Sin’ in the lowlands faith is something we should be in a state of constant debt and sorrow about. But this odious ‘sin’ is merely mistakes, which we are bound to make as we go about learning our lessons. And the devil and evil are all around us exactly in this life, not in a different realm awaiting us after death. The Roman church has indeed become confused, and now hounds the heretics out to cover it and to keep its evil power and wealth.

The ‘Church of Wolves.’ It is so. And the wolves will hunt and eat.

Oh Ram Rock, I am bursting with this joyous faith, with the gushing of love and honesty. August is willing to be naked with me, to show me his body, his tunic, inside which is the Good God. I cannot any longer harbour fantasies, or let my mind, controlled by the devil, create false motivation for the fulfillment of worldly desires. There will be no covering away, no partial veiling so that the devil can work my imagination.

There is only one remaining veil, and that is the veil of death. This is the only flimsy thing that keeps me away from the spiritual world. It is easy to remove if needed, but apart from that, life will be lived in the open of the threshing yard. The loving will be in everyone and everything. The naked will be naked. The flaps and puckers of skin which inflate and deflate, and arouse lust, will be brought out into the open, to be part of the loving, not hidden away to incite peeping and lust.

And now, my training must accelerate. My songs for the night Vigil will ooze with the Good and the unconditional. I am not afraid of the lusty posturing of the Cardinals, or if the lessons are learned or not, or the blessings of the spirit absorbed. Death is truly a veil, which I will pull away myself if I need to!

How can we be so blind as to be taken in by the devil’s way, and then live without noticing the gods who surround us. It is as if most of us are drunk, oblivious, out-witted by the negative.

Ohhh! I long to tell my beloved Alexandra that her training will be undertaken by both August and myself, the Good and the seeker. We must start immediately.

And my devoted Noses? I will teach them by and by, when I am made Good. Until then, I will show them unconditional love, and keep them hoping through my stories and my songs. For that is the way to keep alive the spirit. That is the way to keep the devil at bay.

Oh beloved Ram Rock, I will be back again tomorrow at 5.00 just before supper and my next lesson with my golden girl. My talking to you moves me on, keeps me level, for that I must remain if I am to train among the wolves.