Category Archives: Philosophy

Karma

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Gertrude Abercrombie’s “The Stroll” (1943). Credit Credit Oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust

“Karma is not properly understood.
All of us have karma to work out. Karma is what we earn during our living. It is often thought of as some sort of equalizing force between good and evil. For example, it is wrongly believed that if one does a good thing a good thing will happen to them. Likewise, if one were to do an evil thing. It is often confused as an overbearing mother that spanks a badly-behaved child, and the things which lead to “bad karma” are often confused by the concept of sins.
About sins, I just have one thing to say about them in the Christian sense of the word. You are not punished for your sins: You are punished BY them. If you engage in activities which are alien to your own True Will and purpose, expect some blow-back. It is no more difficult to understand than that.
A person’s karma is equal to a person’s work in the world. In fact, Karma Yoga is the yoga of action. Nothing more. But Karma Yoga will only provide partial fulfillment. It is a means to an end, but not the end itself. In the Order of Thelemic Knights, we perform three yogas simultaneously. We have had to Westernize these in order to make them possible to reap benefits from them in our every day lives. They are, what we consider to be, the Grand Trifecta: Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga.
The first, Karma Yoga has already been explained. This is the yoga that we perform in order to make ripples in the universe in accordance to our individual Wills.
Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, or if you prefer, self-realization. Not to be confused with Raja Yoga which IS an end unto itself, and the purpose of all the other yogas.
Bhakti Yoga is the path of service and devotion, usually to a God or deity. In the Thelemic sense this translates into devotion toward ones Holy Guardian Angel.
The goal of these yogas is to achieve a method by which to practice Raja Yoga, which is considered “The Royal Yoga,” since it leads to the Ultimate Union. In modern days it has been defined rather profanely. For more on Raja Yoga and how it can be achieved, we recommend the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
So, what does this have to do with mountains? They are our karma. These are mountains we must climb. Things that must be achieved to restore balance. In Christianity, the term in “we all have our cross to bear” is used to convey their paradigm. For Thelemic Knights we refer to these obstacles as campaigns, but it is really all the same thing. I am using the term mountains today because it has no religious connotation.
Here is what I have learned about climbing mountains. Sometimes, when climbing a mountain that seems insurmountable it may be easier to climb in the dark. This is a way to trick oneself into making the journey less difficult, since we cannot see the plateau in the dark, we are unable to see how far we must go. It is frightening and uncomfortable, but I promise you that if you are indeed doing the Work, you will not be alone in that darkness.
Also, there will be others climbing those mountains at the same time as you, for varying reasons specific to their own karma. Help one another. No one says you must climb these mountains alone, and perhaps helping some one might help you both reach that mountain top, especially if it is part of your karma to do so.

If things get unbearably difficult remember this: every journey has an end. You will eventually reach your goal, but there will always be another mountain.”

By Gerald del Campo
May 6, 2019

Stay soft

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Quan Yin by ZENG HAO DUN HUANG

“When people are born, they are soft and gentle.
When they die they are stiff and callous.
When myriad things, grasses, and trees, are born, they are soft and tender.
When they die, they are withered.
So stiffness and callousness are the company of death.
Softness and Suppleness are the company of Life.
The powerful army will not win.
A stiff tree will break.
So stiffness and power stay below.
Softness and suppleness stay above.”
~ Tao te Ching 道德經

Alchemy

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A red-faced sun rises above a city; stunted trees stand in the foreground; representing either the culmination of the alchemical Great Work or the star of hope that inspires the alchemist through his tribulation.

 

Release any thought, behavior or idea that you’ve picked up on your journey, so you can uncover the pure gold of the spirit within you.

“THE FOUR ALCHEMICAL RULES.
1. Follow (your) Nature.
It is useless to seek for the sun by the light of a candle.
2. First know; then act.
Real knowledge exists in the triangle composed of seeing, feeling, and understanding.
3. Use no vulgar processes.
Use only one vessel, one fire, one instrument.
The door to success lies in the unity of will and purpose and the proper adaptation of the means to the end. There are many roads leading to the celestial center. He who follows the chosen path may succeed, while he who attempts to walk on many paths will be delayed.
4. Keep the fire constantly burning.
If the molten metals are allowed to cool off before they are transformed into higher ones, they will become hard again, and the whole process will have to be recommenced from the beginning. Use the inextinguishable lamp. Its light will not go out unless it is driven away by force.

THE FIVE THINGS NECESSARY TO OBSERVE IN THE PRACTICE OF ALCHEMY.
1. To recognize the true PRIMA MATERIA.
It is to be found everywhere; but if you do not find it in your own house, you will find it nowhere. It is a living substance that can be discovered only in places inhabited by man. It is the only substance from which the Philosopher’s Stone can be prepared, and without that substance no genuine silver or gold can be made. In thirty pounds of ordinary mercury, there is usually not more than one pound of the true substance; and a hundred pounds of ordinary sulphur usually contain not more than one pound of that which is useful. It can only be found above the earth, but not below it. It is before everybody’s eyes; no one can live without it; everybody uses it; the poor usually possess more of it than the rich; the ignorant esteem it highly, but the learned ones often throw it away. The children play with it in the street, and yet it is invisible. It can be perceived by the sense of feeling, but it cannot be seen with the material eye.
2. Use for the preparation of the PRIMA MATERIA only the rose-colored blood of the Red Lion and the pure white gluten of the Eagle.
Let your Will be strong, but without anger, and your Thoughts be pure from that which infects the lower strata of the earth’s atmosphere. Let the fire of the divine Will penetrate deeply within your soul, and elevate your mind to the highest regions of thought.
3. Obtain the sacred Fire.
It is not of man’s making; it cannot be bought, but it is given for nothing to those who deserve it.
4. Then follow Multiplication and Increase, for which purpose weight and measure are necessary. Weigh all things with the scales of justice, and measure them by the rule of reason.
5. The fifth is the Application, that is to say the Projection upon the metals.
This will be accomplished by nature without artificial aid.”

In the “Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom” by Franz Hartmann

one consciousness

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“Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we’re the imagination of ourselves…”

– Bill Hicks

Mountain of Truth

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Monte Verita, Ascona Switzerland

I came across the most amazing piece of history the other day: the free spirits of the art community at Monte Verita in 1915. These people created an open society of artists and philosophers; people that wanted to explore the potential of the human spirit.

What strikes me are the huge similarities between this story and our current society in 2018. These people that escaped to the mountains of Switzerland were rebelling against mass consumerism, war, intolerance, and celebrity culture. They created the first alternative community, assimilating all groups of people under the banner of pacifism and free thought. Many accomplished philosophers and radicals joined them – including Hermann Hesse.

This movement is one of the catalysts for the original hippie movement in 1967. It’s not about obliterating your mind with drugs, or trying to escape reality, it’s about creating a free, human, utopian society on earth. Article below.

There’s a movie about it that came out in 2014 called “FREAK OUT!” if you’re interested in learning more about it!

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Article:  “Monte Verità: “The place where our minds can reach up to the heavens…
In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, the Ticino republic became a gateway to the south, and favourite destination of a group of unconventional loners who found in the region, with its southern atmosphere, fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of the utopia they were unable to cultivate in the north.
The Ticino came to represent the antithesis of the urbanised, industrialized north, a sanctuary for all kinds of idealist. From 1900 onwards Mount Monescia above Ascona, Switzerand, became a pole of attraction for those seeking an “alternative” life. These reformers who sought a third way between the capitalist and communist blocks, eventually found a home in the region of the north Italian lakes.

The founders came from all directions :
Henry Oedenkoven from Antwerp
the pianist Ida Hofmann from Montenegro
the artist Gusto
and the ex-officer Karl Gräser from Transylvania.

United by a common ideal they settled on the “Mount of Truth” as they renamed Monte Monescia. Draped in loose flowing garments and long hair, they worked in the gardens and fields, built spartan timber cabins and found relaxation in dancing and naked bathing, exposing their bodies to light, air, sun and water. Their diet excluded all animal foods and was based entirely on plants, vegetables and fruit. They worshipped nature, preaching its purity and interpreting it symbolically as the ultimate work of art: “Parsifal’s meadow”, “The rock of Valkyrie” and the “Harrassprung” were symbolic names which with time were adopted even by the local population of Ascona who had initially regarded the community with suspicion.
Their social organization was based on cooperation, and through it they strove to achieve the emancipation of women, self-criticism, and new ways of cultivating mind and spirit with the unity of body and soul.

The intensity of the single ideals fused in this community were such that word of it soon spread across the whole of Europe and overseas. Gradually over the years the community itself became a sanatorium frequented by theosophists, reformers, anarchists, communists, social democrats, psyco-analysts; followed by literary personalities, writers, poets, artists and finally emigrants of both world wars: Raphael Friedeberg, Prince Peter Kropotkin, Erich Mühsam. They declared Ascona “the Republic of the Homeless”: Otto Gross who planned a “School for the liberation of humanity”, August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, Otto Braun, even perhaps Lenin and Trotzki, Hermann Hesse, Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow, Else Lasker-Schüler, D.H Lawrence, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, Isadora Duncan, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Hans Richter, Marianne von Werefkin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Arthur Segal, El Lissitzky and many others.
After the departure of the founder for Brazil in 1920 there followed a brief bohemian period at the Monte Verità which lasted until the complex was purchased as a residence by the Baron von der Heydt, banker to the ex-Kaiser Willhelm II and one of the most important collectors of contemporary and non European art. The bohemian life continued in the village and in the Locarnese valleys from then on.

The Mount, now used as a Hotel and park, still maintains its almost magic power of attraction. Along with the proven magnetic anomalies of geological formations underlying Ascona, it is as if the mount preserves, hidden away out of sight, the sum of all the successful and unsuccessful attempts to breach the gap between the “I” and “we”, and the striving towards an ideal creative society, thus making the Monte Verità a special scenic and climatic micro-paradise.

Monte-Verità

The Monte Verità is also however a well preserved testimony for the history of architecture. From Adam’s hut to the Bauhaus. The ideology of the first settlers demanded spartan chalet-like timber dwellings with plenty of light and air and few comforts. Shortly after 1900 the following buildings began to spring up: Casa Selma (now museum), […]1, Casa Andrea with its geometrical façade, the sunniest of the buildings (now converted), Casa Elena and the Casa del Tè – Tea House (now demolished) and the Casa dei Russi (hideout for Russian students after the 1905 revolution and now undergoing renovation). The Casa Centrale was built for the community and allowed for maximum natural light. Ying-Yang symbols were worked into windows and balconies. (In 1948 this building was demolished to make way for a restaurant and only the curving flight of steps remains).
Henry Oedenkoven built Casa Anatta as living quarters and reception rooms in the theosophist style with rounded corners everywhere, double timber walls, sliding doors, domed ceilings and huge windows with views of the landscape as supreme works of art, a large flat roof and sun-terrace.

The importance of integrity

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Make an effort to be a person of character.  From my experience, I’ve found it’s the best thing you can do for yourself in your life.

Taking firm responsibility for yourself and your choices will set you apart from the crowd, and along with hard work, will bring you anything you want.

I was at a conference of female musicians once, and had the good fortune to hear Patti Smith reviewing her life and career. The most important thing in life, she said, is your credibility. If you lack credibility with people, or lose it, it’s hard to get it back. It’s the foundation of moving forward in life and finding true fulfillment and lasting friendships.

A friend posted this article today and I have to share it with you! These are traits I aspire to in my own life.

13 Traits of People With True Integrity

Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, they share the following 13 traits.

1. They value other people’s time.
They value their own time so they also value the time of other people. They know you have plenty of other places you need to be and won’t hold you up. If you spend time with them, it is likely they will thank you for that as well.

2. They give credit where it is due.
They do not take credit for things they did not do. They will always credit those who deserve it. If you help this person with a project he or she will likely mention your name so you can take credit for your work.

3. They are authentic.
They are their truest forms. You won’t catch them in a lie or being fake.

4. They are always honest.
They are honest people that feel no need to lie as it is important for them to get to where they need to get in life honestly.

5. They never take advantage of others.
They are not the kind of people who will take advantage of someone else. They love to build people up and help them get where they need to be. Taking too much from someone else will never be an issue with someone who has a lot of integrity.

6. They do not argue over disagreements.
They will talk through things in a civil manner or not talk at all. You cannot and will not force this person into arguing over something completely ridiculous. I find this to be a very respectable trait.

7. They give most people the benefit of the doubt.
They try to see the good in everyone. I think this is because they feel like maybe there are more people in this world that also have integrity. That being said, if you take advantage of them too much they will get rid of you.

8. They know when something is bothering someone.
They have a great intuition that lets them know when something is going on. If someone is down in the dumps they will notice. Chances are they will actually do what they can to cheer you up.

9. They believe others.
They accept your word as truth until it is disproven. That being said, they do not take lying well. And once you lie to them, it is unlikely that they will ever take your word again.

10. They apologize first.
If they have done something wrong they will come to you and apologize. This is just how they are. They own up to their mistake and try to make things right.

11. They are humble.
They do not quite know their own worth. While they are very important and do so much good they don’t quite see it. You should remind them of it.

12. They do good when they can.
They are always helping other people. They love to know that they have improved someone’s life. It gives their lives meaning.

13. They are always kind to those who need it.
Giving kindness can go a long way. When someone looks like they need a little pick me up these people deliver. They can brighten up almost anyone’s day.

If you are someone who has true integrity, thank you for being who you are and thank you for all that you do. You really do actually make a difference in society, please keep up the good work. If you feel no one else is proud of you, know that I am.