The Empty Self

I gasped when I saw the horror of death. I held my breath in anticipation of what was to come. I’m going to suffer pain on an inconceivable amount of levels. I’m going to be taken advantage of by other people. They’re going to hurt me and take away my happiness. Everything is going to be privatized and sold for a profit. Everything is going to be harder and harder to enjoy. There will be stacks of traumatic memories that will shape me into a person I’m going to have to live with.

I await death. I see it. I hear it. I smell it. I taste it. I feel it. It’s coming for me. It’s closing in on me. I’m scared. I want to live. I want to feel at peace. I want to be restful. I want to live effortlessly, to decide freely. I want to enjoy all things. I want to experience all things. I want to be myself, whatever that means. I want to look no more, to build no more.

I see my purpose now: to die. I see what death calls me to. Death is what I want. I want to let go of this old breath. I can’t hold back anymore. Death is the emptying of myself. Death is the release. Death is the faith. Death is love. Death is life, finally.

I await life. I see it. I hear it. I smell it. I taste it. I feel it. It’s coming for me. It’s closing in on me. I’m scared. I want to die. I want to feel at peace. I want to be restful. I want to die effortlessly, to decide freely. I want to enjoy all things. I want to experience all things. I want to be myself, whatever that means. I want to look no more, to build no more.

Please, God, send help, that I might die for the good of the world, that I might pass through emptied and given up unto life.

What Am I?

Is it all the individual or is it all the group? The individual is a member of the group and the fundamental particle of the group is the individual. The individual has no knowledge of themselves apart from the group. Self-consciousness is group-consciousness. The group has no knowledge of itself apart from the individual. Group-consciousness is self-consciousness.

Love binds the individuals together. Without love the individual has no knowledge of themselves and so have no individuality. What am I apart from what I am to the other? Love creates, identifies, and classifies into parts by shedding light and making known what was once single, unified, dark nothing. The light which erupts from nothing makes nothing go into destruction.

Quit telling me to improve myself, to save myself, to awaken myself before the other. I am not without the other. Unless there is love, there is nothing and all is without substance. I’m not one with anything unless I die.

The union of unique individuals is freely willed. It is chosen. A perfect, unified society exists only by the permission of the people. Each individual chooses to love their neighbor and in so doing finds themselves and loves themselves. Where there is not love, light has not yet shown, and the individual has no knowledge of themselves.

There is oneness by force which is destruction. There is oneness by choice which is creative. To be united in love is to create and maintain identity. To be united without love is to lose oneself completely. The path forward is whichever way I go.

Life, Truth, Joy

I feel like I’m having a crisis. I can only imagine what my middle ages are going to be like. I have this craving for authentic humanity, for discovering who I am naturally without effort.

I don’t know. Everyday I take deep breaths. I try and listen to my heart beat and what my environment sounds like. I try and connect with this present moment because I believe in an answer that already exists or pre-exists. I believe that the solution to every problem is already right in front of me and that the only real problem is that I’m not looking in front of myself.

I hate this daily struggle to figure life out, and yet I love it. I love it because to me this is life. This search for reality in front of me is the most exciting thing I’ve ever pursued and it seems never-ending, ever-entertaining.

I want to be entertained by life. I want to enjoy the present moment. I want pleasure. I want to feel good and satisfied with every moment of existence.

I am running around in circles. Literally. I can feel that love, truth, and joy are synonymous with one another. I want to experience this unity of experience itself where there is only experience and nothing else.

My mother, I crave for her. I crave for her love, her protection, her beauty. I crave for her comfort, her passion for me. Her love is the deepest I know. Isn’t it the truth? She bore me and I bear her to the world.

On Being Perfect

Life is a series of transitions. It’s like a fire we’re walking through burning us up into what we are naturally. I’ve been single for nearly a year and I decided to try and get back into pursuing a relationship. It’s different though because I’m trying to fit in Orthodoxy with all that, because I thought that this was becoming a new passion for me. What really happened though when I tried to pursue girls was that I began pushing this all aside and getting back into my head again where I’m not experiencing the freedom I get from faith.

Dating for me has always been about trying to be likeable, so there’s a constant dialogue going on in my head of what I seem like. I lose myself trying to make myself. I want to seem confident, funny, independent and strong. Instead I get lost driving to the location, stutter a little, and sweat a lot. Something about it is really vulnerable, because I become keenly aware that I’m afraid of a lot of things. I don’t want to see myself as someone who doesn’t have it together, so old addictions come back up. It’s a really raw, unpleasant experience, especially when I keep telling myself to meditate on the pain and crucify the passions.

I thought I knew myself. I keep thinking I do. It pays off to sit with yourself through the bad feelings. I realized I don’t know myself. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know why my heart rate increases at certain times. I don’t know why I’m laid back at one moment and another moment I’m struck with fear over something I know to be completely petty. All that positive self-talk is pretty much useless when the adrenaline starts going. All I know really is that there’s this continuous stream of experience happening and then there’s this ever-changing identity gradually peeking its head up out of the flames.

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Virgin Mary. Virgin Church.

I thought this talk was so profound that I wanted to share it here. I’ve started reading Fr. John Behr’s The Mystery of Christ and it’s a sort of revolution in my theological understanding. He starts with Christ crucified as the first point and shows how the Apostles came to understand that Christ is the scriptures made flesh. The scriptures come to life in the person of Christ.

In this video, Fr. John Behr talks about the Church as the virgin mother which births and nurtures the believers into life, and how Christ’s Mother is the symbol of that.

Holy Regress

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10:39

After a frantic, rushed night at work I drove home still moving at that same quick pace. It was like the principle of inertia was occurring in my thoughts and I couldn’t seem to slow them down. I hit a red light. I was the only car stopped at the intersection. My heart was tight. It felt like I was forcing myself out of my body to continue down the road with my hand reaching back into my chest to drag my poor, slow body along. I sat there though at the red light, eager to move yet unable to move.

I had a revelation at that traffic light. Sitting still while moving internally became an observational experience.

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My Prayer

I want to go. I want to walk out of here and be only what I am, set apart from the world, bound by only the limits of myself. I want a new name. I want to be made of Earth, fashioned from dust and the breath of life. I want to become like Christ in the most literal sense. I want to die to the passions. I want to go where the wind goes.

I don’t believe in society to make me into a natural man. The world killed the natural man. The natural man is standing in the conscience and the world is putting him to death over and over again. The world has condemned itself, murdered itself. The world keeps trying to save itself with constitutions. The world believes it can vote itself into perfection. There is no hope for civilization, and I find no motivation in me to uphold the artificial institutions that govern the land I reside in, only to passively observe and give thanks for the gifts I am given by God.

I don’t want to escape. I want to take in the fullness of the Earth, to accept the whole gift. I want the Garden of Pleasure to reside inside of me. I want to shamelessly use all the parts of my body, every organ. I want to be what I am, a human being, made in the image of God.

God’s Forgiveness

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Revelation 12:7-11

From the Evergetinos:

A certain brother, overcome by the passion of fornication, sinned every day. However, each time, with tears and prayers, he would fall before the Master and Lord and receive forgiveness from Him. And as soon as he had repented, the next day, being misled again by shameful habit, he would fall into sin.

Afterwards, having sinned, he would go to the Church, where he would prostrate himself before the honorable and revered Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ and tearfully confess to Jesus: “Lord, have mercy upon me and take away from me this fearful temptation, for it troubles me fiercely and wounds me with the bitter taste of the pleasures. O my Master, cleanse my person once more, that I may gaze upon Thine Icon and see Thy holy form and the sight of Thy face, brighter than the sun, that my heart might be sweetened and thankful.”

And though his lips had just whispered these words, no sooner would he leave the Church then he would fall once again into sin.

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My name is Philip. I’m 23 years old. When I was 14 I became a Christian, I guess you could say, after a mystical experience in my bedroom. From then on I became a theology nerd, devoting lots of energy to studying the Bible. I grew intellectually into a Reformed perspective, most likely because of the type of teachers I was listening to and reading. I planned on attending Bible college and becoming a preacher or traveling and being a missionary. I was a moral Christian kid, probably awkward. I think I’m still awkward.

My senior year of high school I became infatuated with a girl. She didn’t feel the same, so I spiraled into a pathetic, teenage depression. I thought my world was crushed, and I suppose it was if you consider the size of my world at the time. That initial emotional tumble eventually expanded and grew into an overall pessimism about life over a period of months, and this is when my religious beliefs started to get shaky.

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