“2012” by Ryuho Okawa

The end of the world? Not if Ryuho Okawa has anything to say about it! And he has quite a bit to say, as usual. Although this time most of the talking is done by the spirits of Montezuma and Quetzalcoatl. That’s how they appear in this book, at least.

The book 2012 is one of two I recently discovered on Smashwords. I tend to buy any books from Happy Science, although I have had a couple disappointments, even they have been interesting at least.  Happy Science is a Japanese new religion. Technically it is a cult, in the same way as Christianity, a religion centered on one man who is believed to be divine. Unlike Jesus Christ, Japanese author Ryuho Okawa is neither dead nor resurrected, but he obviously has some other qualities to inspire his followers. Like having written over 800 books in less than 30 years. This is one of them.

The book is a bit overpriced compared to its length. This seems to be a trend now that IRH press has taken over publishing the English versions themselves rather than licensing them to overseas spiritual publishers. Perhaps they feel that people should be expected to pay this much for books by a god? Or perhaps they just are unfamiliar with the price level in the English-speaking market. This is quite possible. I know from my own homeland, Norway, that book prices here are several times higher than in America, so much so that I prefer buying Norwegian books in English translations. Perhaps the same is true for Japan? Japanese anime certainly is expensive compared to American cartoons, so that may explain it. Anyway, prepare your wallets, I paid around 15 bucks for some 25000 words. Of course, being Norwegian, I don’t have a problem paying 15 dollars for a book, but your economy may vary.

Now for the book itself. It is sold as non-fiction, but I think some will disagree.


There is a prophecy that the world will end in 2012, more exactly on December 22. This is because the end of the Mayan calendar happens at this time. That seems a pretty flimsy excuse for ending the world. The world of the Mayans has already ended, so to speak, when their kingdom dissolved shortly after the year 900, even though their descendants still live in the area. The Aztec empire was to some extent inspired by the Mayans who preceded them. The Aztecs lived further north, in today’s Mexico.

Earlier this year, a calendar was found that included the next cycle, showing that Mayans did not actually expect the world to end this year after all. But the book I review was written in 2011, so this information is lacking.

Ryuho Okawa may be considered the greatest god on Earth, but even gods can’t know everything when they are incarnate. So he used his powers as the world’s greatest spiritual medium to place a general call to the spirit world, asking for whichever spirit was most involved with the 2012 prophecy. He then acted as host for the spirit, while his assistants interviewed it. They got quite a surprise. The spirit was that of the last Aztec king, Montezuma. But more worrying, he claimed to now be the guardian spirit of Barack Obama, and planned to use him to fulfill the Mayan curse in December 2012.

The book includes the full interview with the spirit of Montezuma. He does not seem all that impressive to me, and probably not to the Japanese either. He insisted that he did not want revenge on the Caucasians or the Christians, he just wanted to get the karma back to the middle by ending their dominance. He spent a good deal of his time talking about aliens and an expected alien invasion, but the connection between this and what he said before about ending the Christian calendar was pretty vague. All in all, for a great statesman he did not seem all that enlightened.

The more the contrast to the second interview in the book, where Okawa summons Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god, whom Montezuma had mentioned a couple times. Montezuma believed that Quetzalcoatl was actually Jesus Christ. Now, a while after the previous interview, Quetzalcoatl had contacted Okawa saying that he wanted to give a message. This happens from time to time. So Okawa let the spirit of Quetzalcoatl enter his body and let his assistants interview him.

This was a very different and somewhat hair-raising read. The spirit of Quetzalcoatl appears far more intelligent, coherent and spiritual. First, he confirmed that he was Jesus, but did not make an issue of it. In fact, he seemed surprised that he had lived a long life without being killed this time.

(In the lore of Happy Science, there are ten 9-dimensional spirits or Saviors, of which Amor (Jesus Christ) is one and El Cantare (Ryuho Okawa) another, but due to the vast spiritual power of these beings they can only pack up to 1/5 of their consciousness into one mortal body at a time. They can however send less, and there is also a difference of how “core” the personality is that they incarnate. Okawa is the very core of El Cantare, the most exact representation of his being and the most powerful. Jesus Christ was supposedly something similar for Amor. Still, it seems to have baffled everyone that Jesus would send even a fringe incarnation to Meso-America without telling his good friend Ryuho Okawa. There is no mention of this in The Golden Laws, which details the appearance of the Great Spirits in human history. Then again, Japanese generally don’t consider Latin America and Africa “human history”, more like pre-history I guess. Actually Quetzalcoatl took them to task for that.)

Quetzalcoatl does not consider the aliens much of a problem. His worry is something else entirely: Japan is about to get destroyed by a human army, and Okawa’s life is in danger. It is of the utmost importance that Okawa completes his message to the world before he dies and gets it to Latin America, where it will survive after the fall of Japan. Quetzalcoatl scolds Okawa’s disciples for their lack of devotion, saying that they treat Happy Science as a business and don’t see the importance of saving souls. He also takes the religion to task for its focus on material progress. God does not particularly care about material progress, says Quetzalcoatl: People are often more likely to seek salvation in hard times. Civilizations rise and fall because that is the way they were designed to work. To the gods, this is comparable to a washing machine, that shakes things up and down to get rid of the dirt. So there are good times and hard times, you cannot escape that. You need to save the souls, that is the purpose of religion, not to run a successful business.

Quetzalcoatl also states that the failure of the Happiness Realization Party to win political influence in Japan was due to the poor quality of Okawa’s disciples, they are 20 years behind the curve and it may be too late to save the country now. Thus his invitation to bring Happy Science to Latin America, where he will watch over it after Okawa is gone. You are only thinking about Japan, he scolds the Happy Science staff: We are trying to save souls in countries you don’t even know the name of!

Okawa seems taken aback after the end of the interview. Still, the afterword of the book states once again that the future will be bright if you believe in him and improve your mind. As humans, we have the divine ability to create, and together we can create a better future.

But it does not escape my notice that he has just this summer released a movie in Japan detailing the invasion by a superior Asian military power, and how in that case the nation can only be saved by spiritual means. I look forward to seeing it. Is this the legacy of Quetzalcoatl?

Happy time-twisting

The universe is full of life!

“The infinite space is full of various forms of life.” So there is nothing strange about me writing about a reincarnated Pleiadean. It is a work of fiction, after all. At least I hope so!

The independent thought streams in my head, even the guest writers, can be pretty impressive. Take the muse I wrote about two entries ago, which was telling his story as a TSI (fictive name for Happy Science) member who discovered that he actually came from the Pleiades.

So I just bought a new book that has quietly become available from Happy Science, Secrets of the Everlasting Truths. The book goes in some detail about how Ryuho Okawa has found a way to explore outer space through interviewing humans who are reincarnated aliens. Most of them, he notes, are from the Pleiades and Vega.

Given that I just bought this book, it is not particularly surprising that I write a fanfic in which the main character is a reincarnated Pleiadean. Well, except for the small detail that I wrote that first and discovered the book afterwards.


In all fairness, this is not the first time Okawa mentions Pleiadeans and soul migration between planets. I (or my muse) did not simply make this up, there have been mentions in passing in two of his earlier books, although I can’t remember if he actually combined them back then. Now he declares that there is a number of these around already, as it also is in my story, and he spends a whole lecture on this phenomenon. He also mentions that time is not a straight line, but we already knew that.

It is one of those coincidences again. I have those from time to time, and they are usually not religious in nature (if one can call soul interviews of reincarnated aliens “religion” – it is kind of … not what most religions do.) Like one day I was taking a walk and thinking about how the world would have been if the tricycle had take off instead of the bicycle (still not sure why it didn’t, trikes are a lot more stable). While I was still elaborating on this scenario in my mind, the first adult tricycle I had seen in the area came into view. I had lived there for years and never seen an adult tricycle, nor had I thought about them for all those years. But as soon as I think about it… !

Several times I have dreamed about things that would make perfect sense to dream about, if they had only happened the day before instead of the day after the dream. I am not sure this is even supernatural: If we accept that time really is a dimension, then the sequence of past, present and future are necessarily continuous. Each part is “glued” to the parts before and after it. I have used the image of magnetism in the past: A magnet will easily attract a needle, but a needle also attracts the magnet. Usually the magnet does not move toward the needle, because the magnet is heavy and the needle is light. But if the magnet is placed precariously and the needle is stuck to something, once in a blue moon the magnet might move toward the needle instead of the other way around.

Let me take another example, which happened at the workplace where I was making my famous debt collection software suite. It is so long ago that we used cassettes for music. (They were self-enclosed audio tapes, popular before the age of the CD and some way into it, although they quickly disappeared when MP3 players arrived.) I had a combined cassette player and radio, and was playing one of my favorite songs back then, “Why Worry” by Dire Straits. After I finished playing that, I switched to radio. The radio was playing “Why Worry” – the same song I had been playing. I have heard that song only two or three times on radio, to the best of my knowledge. (I think I would have noticed, for it was special to me for many years. I actually bought my first CD player because I wore out the tapes by playing that one song repeatedly, then spooling back to play it again. This is much easier on a CD. ^_^)

So the time-switch between reading the book and writing the fanfiction is not in any way proof that Ryuho Okawa really is what he claims to be, the god of this world, chief of the powers of the invisible realm that surrounds our planet. But it kind of underscores his point that science still has a ways to go, I think.

I may be back with a full review of the book later, perhaps.

More imaginary books

My elderly self-sim again, visiting the library.

Thinking back, my TSI (Happy Science) fanfic are not the only places that my love for books (lots and lots of books) make up a core of my story. I have several magic stories in various states of production where books are central. My Lightwielder stories tend to feature libraries, although they are only instrumental in one of them.

In my Castle KeepersLiving Stones universe, there is a tangent to the Lightwielder universe by the presence of the Songs of the Light, a small easy-to-read book featuring a collection of poems. There is the Commentary on Songs of the Light, which is in 20 heavy tomes, drawing out all kinds of theological and philosophical meanings of the book- Each of these have a commentary in 20 heavy tomes as well, named Commentaries IX on Commentaries VII on Songs of the Light (for an example). These are so heavy in theology and philosophy that they are pretty much unreadable for the untrained reader, and you need to study them all before you can participate in writing commentaries on one of them, which the intellectual and spiritual elite of the land is currently in the process of doing. No obvious allusions to real-world writing, of course!

The most “bibliolatry” of my stories may however be the original 1001st book. In it, those who have voluntarily read 1000 books are offered the 1001st book, which enables them to spend their dreams at night fully conscious in an alternate world where magic is real. The magic is not controlled by emotion or willpower, but by understanding the Sigils. These are very similar to Japanese and Chinese complex characters, with numerous strokes that need to be made in the right place in the right order. But drawing them is the least of the challenge in this imaginary world: The extent to which you can use a magic sigil depends on how deeply you understand it. Thoth, god-king of Attalan (Atlantis), wrote one book for each of the 4000 sigils. Only by reading and deeply understanding such a book can you truly unleash its magic. If you understand it poorly, the magic will be weak, unreliable and may even backfire.

Luckily for all involved in my imaginary lifelong learning of magic, the time spent studying the Lore does not contribute to your aging. So many of the sages reach an age of 175 or even 200 years, having spent over half their lives in the reading and practice of the Art. If only it worked like that in real life! (Actually, there may be a trace of it – sages tend to live to a ripe old age if nothing unfortunate interferes. The reason could be that they are more resistant to Alzheimer’s and other brain damage, due to a better trained brain – or perhaps they started with more brains to begin with. Once your mind goes, it becomes much harder to preserve the body without constant help.)


As you can see from all this, my approach to books is mystical and magical. Books are holy, powerful, transformative: They are not tools pointing outward toward the outside world, but are more like medicine or even implements of surgery, pointing inward to alter the very nature of those who read them.

This view of books is based on my own young days and my experience with the Bible and the books of “Smith’s Friends”, the Christian Church I was a part of for many years. Rediscovering to varying degrees the same effect now in my mid-life transformation (which I suppose is in some ways a second puberty), the longing for the Ultimate Bookshelf expresses itself in my fiction as well as in my non-fiction.

Jesus Christ chided (at the very least) the scribes of his time, who pored over books thinking that in them they had eternal life. Jewish Rabbis still tend to do this, and I can certainly sympathize with them. It is a beautiful dream, the more powerful because it is partially true: Books really can change a person. But there are limits, and eternal life is one of those, I guess. There are almost certainly other limitations as well. Except in dreams.

But even with limitations, I suspect I will love books as long as I live.

More Happy Science fanfic

My Sims 3 self-sim during his late years, going on about his bookshelf. I would not be surprised if I do the same, if I live to be white-haired (or nearly so).

Whatever else you may say about the Japanese new religion “Happy Science”, it works wonders for my creativity. A year and a half ago I wrote a fanfic very loosely based on their movie “The Rebirth of Buddha”, or rather the world in which that movie took place. None of the characters from the movie appeared in person in my 50 000 words story. As I wrote back then, the story more or less wrote itself, to the point where even my wrists did not hurt the way they usually do when I write a lot. Not quite a miracle, I guess, but certainly unusual.

I’ve tried this two times later, the last being now. It really is baffling. I start with basically nothing – no plot, not even a character – and just invite this imaginary person to tell his story in first person limited view, the way a friend would tell a story to another friend. And there they go. The first one was pretty unstructured in that he would come with hints of things that happened later, and suddenly would get distracted by some point of doctrine that he would eagerly expound on. That was actually rather charming, I thought, and fun to write.

The one this summer is more systematic, more restrained, telling things in chronological order, sticking to what is relevant to the story. So it is a bit less exciting but more polished. Well, less exciting at the start. Things definitely take a turn for the exotic when he discovers that he is a reincarnated alien from the Pleiades, where he lived and died. After going to Heaven he and several others volunteered to incarnate as humans on Earth. He still has some trouble getting used to it.

This is a work of fiction and has nothing to do with my habit of referring to people as “humans” and “earthlings” and not understanding their obsession with romance and amassing property. Just thought you’d want to know. ^_^

There seems to be a  new personality each time I start one of these stories. Even the way they speak, although they do have certain common traits that they may have picked up from their common source material, the books of Master Taiyou Sorano, containing his Teachings of the Mind.

Am I the only one who finds this a bit… spooky? That I seem to have a bunch of voices from an imaginary parallel world in my subconscious?


I do consider that the reason for this effect is that there is a great deal of this type of personality in myself. It is not autobiographical as such, but I think I have the tendency. If I had been a little different, and Happy Science had been a little different (in particular not referring to the founder as God), I might have become a Happy Scientist in fact if not in name. It comes down to the books, you see.

There is in me a deep wish for there to be books so filled with light and life and power that they change the understanding and even the very personality of those who read them. There is the Bible, of course, but the Christian Church also had some books written by a few holy men, explaining the teachings in more detail and exhorting the faithful. I tried to read them all. And they worked, too! I was changed greatly. At first it was a confusing process, taking a few shortcuts through the wilderness outside of sanity as we know it, but I soon got into the light which grew brighter and brighter. I became the genius you all know and love.

It really worked – up to a point. There were changes that were never effected. There were limits never overcome. And a part of me has secretly hoped that somewhere I would find The Books, the ones that would unlock more doors and let the sunshine in. The Books that would change me without me having to go through strict discipline, without having to make great sacrifices. Simply by learning the Truth I would be set free – a rather optimistic interpretation of the Lord’s words perhaps, but why not? The words of Jesus were spirit and were life, as he himself attested. And he said to his disciples: “You are already clean [or pure] because of the words I have spoken to you.”

If Jesus had written hundreds of books, certainly that alone would suffice? By reading them, I could have become transformed into a being of immeasurable light, right? But for some reason he never did so. Neither did his disciples; one of them admitted that the world would not have space for all the books that would have to be written. Still, I would have appreciated a few hundred…

From time to time I come across another book that is so luminous, it changes the way I think, either temporarily or even permanently. (Well, so far.) Mainly books of timeless esoteric wisdom, these days, or hagiology (the lore of saints). So the dream remains alive.

So the TSI members who have a library of hundreds of luminous books, they are each in their own way an expression of my own dream.  Indeed, most of the few books of Ryuho Okawa that are in public sale in English have to some degree this effect on me, to increase my inner brightness, or so it feels. Am I wrong? Or are these exceptions? Am I the exception? There are supposedly sold millions of some of these books. Why has not Japan become transfixed with the glory of the Buddha or something? Of course, there have been sold millions of Bibles, and one may wonder how that worked out. Then again, we don’t know what society would have been without them. If something like the Viking Age, which was my direct ancestors before they got Bibles, I think we should keep the Bibles coming.

But in part I banish my relentless optimism to the realm of fiction, in which the whole libraries of miraculous books really exist and those who read them repeatedly become filled with unquenchable light that surpasses the normal limitations of the human condition. Even more than I have seen in this life, I mean. Of course, I sincerely encourage anyone who actually has become filled with celestial brightness through the reading of books to comment with their recommendations.

Lifetome worldbuilding

"Oh gosh. My imagination ran wild there."

Isn’t a library the best place for your imagination to run wild? ^_^

I have yet another idea for a story I’ll probably never write, although if I live, I may give it a shot either in JulNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo.

The basic premise is related to “The 1001st Book”, but this is closer to my own reality, although it is still highly symbolic, vertical projected onto horizontal and with a tinge of urban fantasy. That would be the closest genre, I guess: Urban fantasy. Although that genre seems overrun with vampires and werewolves these days. This is not like that. Very unconventional.

The main character is a rather solitary adult man (unlike the late teens I usually have, but somewhat similar to my Eternal Road in this regard, which makes sense from the intended audience).  His favorite place to hang out is the library, and one day an unfamiliar librarian tells him that he has read a thousand books. As a reward, she lends him a book that is not in the shelves: The Chance of a Lifetome.

Yes, the mythspelling is intentional. For the book tells the story of the mysterious and legendary book called “the Lifetome”, which enables the reader to travel to worlds outside of our timestream. While in these worlds, one will hardly age at all, even should one stay there for many years. One is also virtually immortal while there, as even if one should seem to lose one’s life, one would just return to the timestream. There are supposedly a myriad of these worlds. While they may seem to be outside of time, they have their own time, although it flows differently from ours: While there, one will see not only the seasons come and go, but people are born, live and die; only the visitor, returning home after decades, will find that hardly any time has passed. In this way, one may live for centuries or even millennia, just not in one’s homeworld.

The Chance is not itself the Lifetome, but contains clues to the next book. Each book must be read and understood in order to correctly predict which is the next, until the last in the series is the Lifetome itself.

I have picked up the word “lifetome” (as in “the work of a lifetome”) from the One Cosmos blog, but there is no relation between its use there and my worldbuilding here. Well, apart from the obvious, that the blog has sent me down the path of chasing numerous books, some of which have sent me to other books and so on. But then again, that is what happens when you read a thousand books, don’t you think? ^_^

(In case it isn’t obvious, the books are themselves “lifetomes”, allowing us to sit in on the lives of many others. Through the magic of books we can travel in time, we can see empires rise and fall, even the stars are within our grasp. We can visit worlds filled with magic, or worlds sparse and harsh and gray, or worlds so mundane that they might be our own. It is an amazing thing in its own right, and I am glad to see that neither the gramophone nor the cinema have managed to eradicate reading, contrary to predictions…)

Mouravieff is interesting

"Space is amazing, isn't it?"

Remember the time when books were amazing?

Generally I don’t read much at home. After all, I have my computer at home, and it tends to take priority. My sims need to live too! Besides, there is the writing, and Google+. OK, I have Google+ on the smartphone too, but responding is easier with a physical keyboard. (Sorry, SwiftKey.)

So for me to actually read a book at home, the book had better be good. These days, most of what I read is non-fiction, or at least it is supposed to be. This is also the case with Boris Mouravieff’s Gnosis, part 1: The Exoteric Cycle. I have written about it once before, when I started reading it. I am still reading it, off and on.

Mouravieff keeps kind of close to the edge of craziness, in a manner of speaking. If you get him wrong, you are likely to go very wrong indeed. To me he makes sense, as long as I read him with good will. But I can see how someone unfamiliar with esoteric teachings, someone with a tendency to take things literally and assign the same meaning to words regardless of context, might tumble into the abyss; for the book is like a house built on the edge of a precipice, itself not falling in but posing a danger to the unwary. Or that is how I see it at this time.

Perhaps providentially, I read his explanation about the “ray of creation” not many days after I read Schuon discuss the Christian concept of the Trinity. Mouravieff adheres to Orthodox Christianity, but he interprets it esoterically, or more exactly as a vehicle of esoteric knowledge that has been hidden for most even among the religious, but hidden in plain sight. It is this esoteric science he tries to restore to view. I wonder how well he succeeds, given that his greatest fans seems to be a UFO cult, at least if one judges from publicity on Google.

To Mouravieff, God is the center of creation, as well as being beyond it. God beyond being comes up with the idea, then God as the Trinity manifests and begins to radiate the universe, more or less, according to Mouravieff. He also seems to think that eternity is limited and perpendicular to time.

But one of the most interesting concepts is that there is a law of nature – “the law of seven” – that is placed in creation to make sure time becomes circular, or as close to this as possible. (The cycles of time will eventually run out, says Mouravieff.) As this law operates on all levels below the Divine, it will cause any straight line of action to deviate eventually, and at some point go in the opposite direction of what it did originally. For instance, Christianity persecuting and killing pagans, when some time had passed after it used to be the other way around. After a while, the deviation will eventually bring you back on the original track for a while, but then you deviate again, running in circles. This is a result of the cyclical nature of time itself.

If you want to make progress, you have to add an impulse at the right time and angle to counteract the deviation and get back on the original track. This is not easy to arrange. Remember, you cannot see yourself deviate. To your own eyes, your road seems to go straight ahead. It is the circular nature of the universe itself that fools you.

So how do you get around this trap? How do you actually accomplish anything? I don’t know yet, because in the meantime Mouravieff has gone on to talk about the Cosmic Octave and the galaxies and star systems as the cosmic body of Christ, or was it the body of the cosmic Christ? And the sun as a representation of the Divine. I am sure at some point the answer is revealed, either in this book or the next. I think it may be time to order that one soon. After all, the first seems to be one of the books I may actually finish … some day.

Mouravieff, first impressions


A few days ago I got a packet from Amazon.com: Boris Mouravieff’s Gnosis: Exoteric Cycle, the first of three volumes in his life work Gnosis. The next two, which I have not ordered (yet at least) are named Mesoteric Cycle and Esoteric Cycle. Exoteric refers to the outward form of religion, Esoteric to its inward and hidden meaning. I have not seen the word Mesoteric anywhere else, but it would presumably lie in between the two, as its name implies, as well as its number in the trilogy.

Even the 5 start reviews freely admit that Mouravieff is a bit apart from consensus reality, if you know what I mean – it can be hard for the casual observer to say whether the man was out and out crazy. So I expected a challenging read. To my pleasant surprise, the beginning was quite sane, or at least quite similar to my own understanding. Here’s from the start of the actual book (after several levels of introduction):

Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that that he has neither time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances. The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed. Today like yesterday, and tomorrow like today, he quickly exhausts himself in the frantic race, impelled in a direction which in the end leads nowhere. Life passes away from him almost unseen, swift as a ray of light, and man falls engulfed and still absent from himself.”

Isn’t that the sad truth? It certainly fits my observations. Even people who are smarter than me are easily pulled along by this “machine”, or the maelstrom of physical life. By experience we know that various physical goods (like food and shelter) makes life a lot more comfortable very quickly. So it is oh so easy to assume that accumulating worldly goods is the fast lane to happiness. But the faster we run this race, the less time we have to check whether it really works. It doesn’t.

There is an article going the rounds over on Google+ from time to time, “Top five regrets of the dying” as recorded by a nurse doing palliative care. There is nothing new and surprising in this article, it is exactly what you would expect. Not more sex and bungee jumping, but less time in the office, more time with friends, and more honesty, courage and simple happiness.

Instead of getting terminal cancer, I recommend reading the article. Also, at least the first chapters of Gnosis. The effect is somewhat similar. In one word: Sobering.

“Probiotics for the soul”

“A disciple of God is always a disciple of God!” St Teresa would have agreed with this, I am sure. So would I, but it is harder to live it. The way of perfection is pretty narrow! Or I may be too big.

Finished St Teresa’s book The Way of Perfection. There is a certain irony in this, that I would read a book with that title. When I was a teenager, a main reason why I chose the particular Church I did was its references to the Bible verses about perfection. I argued that no one could be perfect, but the Bible argued otherwise. And yet, here I am. I’d like this to not be the home stretch of my life, but at the very least decades are gone, and I am still far from perfect.

Reading this book has not made me perfect either. But I think it has helped me a little, or at least preserved me a little from going in the other direction. Throughout the spring (from February) I have been reading a little bit most days on the commute bus to work. I currently think of it as “probiotic for the soul”. (Obviously probiotics have been on my mind the last few days!) Just like you supposedly can keep your body’s inner life healthy through regular intake of certain friendly lifeforms, so I think a regular intake of wholesome words can help the soul maintain its inner working. These words must be living, so that they have the ability to grow and work inside us.

The Bible, which I read a lot more when I was young, is well known among Christians to be “God’s living Word”. Jesus compares the Word with seeds that were sown, and there is also mention of the Christians (well, disciples as they were known at the time) being conceived through this seed. When Jesus is called the Word of God, this is an extreme honor: The Jews honor the Torah, as God’s Word, above all the prophets, even Moses who brought it to them.

In one of my unfinished pieces of fiction, the protagonist arrives in an alternate world where his hosts have a library where most books are of the form “Commentaries Vol 20 on the Commentaries Vol 19 on the Book of Light.” Trying to read one of them, it is way too deep for him, and he says so. His host asks him to first read the Book of Light. He opens it and finds that it is a collection of fairly simple-looking songs, a very easy read. His host says: “Where is a river deepest, at its wellspring or as it approaches the sea?”

Much of the Way of Perfection is dedicated to teaching the reader how to pray the Paternoster, the Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father, who art in Heaven”) the way it was meant to be prayed. The saint draws out deep spiritual meanings and their implications for our life, over the course of many chapters. In the end, the short and simple prayer becomes such an awe-inspiring commitment that I have to reflect on myself before even starting to pray it. I don’t think this is a heresy, either. I think this depth, this awesome commitment, lies implicit in the original. The details may be colored by Roman Catholicism to some degree, but overall it is a universal truth. (Ironically perhaps, “Catholic” originally means nearly the same as “universal”.)

The divine Light differs from electromagnetic light just in this, that it is alive, able to grow and able to produce fruit. Ordinary light passes only in through our eyes, but the heavenly Light should shine out from our eyes, if all goes well, and indeed make us glow all over. But it is not visible to all, even in a figurative sense. (And to very few, in a literal sense. I am normally not one of them, and am quite happy with that.)

The Book of Revelation (“apocalypse”) is not at all my favorite in the Bible, but it has a great mental image: “The city wall’s foundations were decorated with every kind of jewel. The first foundation was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was chalcedony, and the fourth was emerald. The fifth was sardonyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, and the eighth was beryl. The ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst.” (Revelation 21, verses 19-20.) The stones have different color and in some cases different transparency. The city was said to be illuminated by the Light of the Lamb, so I imagine this light shining out in different directions taking on different hues depending on the gemstone.

So this revelation that shines through St Teresa, it might have had a different color if it shone through someone else, and it may be colored by the particular nature of the Roman Catholic Church; but it is a living Light, I believe. If I tried to explain it again to someone else who had not read the book, it would take on some of my color, and it would no doubt be less luminous because I am less transparent. But because it is living, this light might once again grow and multiply in the person who received it, and shine more brightly from them (in time) than it did from me. This is what I mean by saying that the Light is alive and can grow. It is the nature of the Light itself to be like this; the souls in which it grows are not the source of the Light, but carriers of it, and it is the Light itself that grows in them.

This is what I believe. But because I am such an opaque stone, with shadows and fault lines within, you would be wise to also check elsewhere, and listen to your heart. People who are filled with love for others are particularly worth listening to, but even those will have a color, so they may be more or less visible to different people depending on the color of the recipient.

Anyway, I recommend the book warmly, whether you are a Catholic or not. The first part of the book talks about how to live as a nun, and obviously some of us are not nuns. ^_^ But it is still inspiring. And its lengthy exposition of the Lord’s Prayer should be of interest to all Christians, and may even be inspiring to others who seek the Heavenly things.

But if you have no interest in what is eternal and closer to Heaven / God / the Light, then you should not read this book. It is written in a familiar tone as if from a loving older sister. To bare one’s heart like this is a matter of trust, and it would be indecent to take such a trust and misuse it. I fear that the harm that comes from this would outweigh any hope that her seriousness might help you. This is not a book of evangelism, but one that speaks to those who are within God’s family, who are hoping to dare call upon the Eternal One as “our Father”.

It may be too early to read it again yet, for when it is so recent, I tend to just skim. I kind of miss it, though. There are many good books, but to me there was something so very safe about this book. It was indeed as if I had found a collection of letters from an older sister I had never known, who had gone through much of this life before me and left me advice. When I read St Teresa, I lament that I did not know of her when I was young. But the truth is probably that I would not have been ready for it then, and might instead have become immunized, thinking ever after that “I know this” while not truly knowing it. Hopefully there will be at least less of this now!


Chaotic reading

Today is for those who have wanted to peep in on my reading. I have to disappoint you though, these books are mostly about religion and not about sex. Not sure which is the most controversial these days though…

You have seen my “chaotic” writing, in the sense that I may write about tentacles one day and saints the next. But you have not seen the books I read, unless you follow my Goodreads page, and even that is pretty terse and doesn’t include rereads. It will perhaps not surprise you that this is pretty chaotic too: Both in the subject matter, but even more in the haphazard way I keep grazing the books.

I am in the habit of reading a large number of books at the same time, some of which I finish and others not. With e-books it has become much easier to get back to where I left, so now there is no limit to the fragmentation. Still, entirely random it is not.

For instance, I have read 83% of The Way of Perfection by St Teresa of Avila (also called Teresa of Jesus, although I like to think all Christian saints could be called “of Jesus”. ^_^) This book is one I read on the commute bus most workdays, in the morning. The books is quite intense in its brightness, and I willingly choose to go through it slowly, so that I can be reminded of it regularly for a long time. Still, we approach the home stretch. This is a book I will probably read again if I live long enough, but not immediately. With my fairly good memory, I need some time before I can actually see the text a second time, rather than simply remember it while skimming.

The last book I completed was The Nine Dimensions: Revealing the Laws of Eternity, by Ryuho Okawa. Despite the name which implies it is a follow-up or companion books to the original Laws of Eternity, it is simply a new translation with some marginal added material. One of the earliest books by Okawa, it is also one of my favorites. In this book there is some mention toward the end of his “new” deity El Cantare (of which he says the historical Buddha was one incarnation), but there is none of the “I am God and your Savior, the greatest of the great” until the more recently added afterword, which has a certain taste of that.

The book teaches that the Spirit World is not a geographical place you travel to, as much as a state of mind. Heaven or Hell are within us, and we in them, already in this life. Various levels of enlightenment correspond to various spiritual planes or dimensions, and we are there now. What happens at death is that we can no longer hide who we are. Our thoughts will manifest instantly, clearly visible. For some, this will be Hell. For others, it will be Heaven. This seems like a wonderful teaching to me, as it will get people involved with what really mattes, rather than rituals and appearances. So if Happy Science remained like that, it would be a worthy contender as a religion, although in my view there is no reason why the same principle could not be applied to Christianity, for example.

The Fullness of God is the book by Frithjof Schuon on Christianity. I wrote about Schuon in late January, when I started on this book. I have come pretty exactly halfway through it. The problem with Schuon is that he is so high, high above me that I cannot really screen him for heresies or even factual mistakes. It would be like a high school student trying to figure out whether Albert Einstein made a mistake in his general theory of relativity. I suppose there may be high schoolers like that, but I am not one of them. Nor am I one of the people who can evaluate Frithjof Schuon. I can admire him, but I am not sure whether I can believe him. Some of what he says I can understand, but some I cannot follow. Since he uses a method of direct intellection rather than logic much of the time, one either sees what he sees, or not. If not, then one either recognizes it with the heart, or not. If not that, one either believes it, or not. It is this latter situation I would rather avoid. If I cannot see it for myself or understand it, I am more inclined to just pass it by without judgment.

In dramatic contrast to the above, we have Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. In case it was not obvious from the title, this is a parody of a biography of Jesus Christ. That said, while it is horribly irreverent and not family-friendly at all, about a quarter through the book it is quite likable. While the child and teenage Jesus is portrayed as more human than most pious fantasies about this part of his life, he is definitely a good guy. As a teen, the chaste and responsible Joshua (Jesus) is contrasted by his pal Biff who is not exactly evil but is definitely an example of fallen human nature. Not really a religious book and I have no idea whether I am going to complete reading it. It is not impossible though.

Valhalla by Jennifer S Willis is a book I started on, but which failed to pull me along. It is a fiction based on Norse Mythology, reinterpreted into contemporary America. Not a bad concept, but somehow it slid down on my list after only 9%. I think the problem is that I see it only as entertainment, and The Sims 3 is more entertaining than books. A book needs to have something more to compete these days. If I find time for entertainment (and most days I do) it will probably not be a book, unless it is awesome. Books are for learning. (Not that I can’t learn from games too, but I mean more theoretical learning.)

Speaking of non-fiction books again, there’s The world in 2050 published by The Economist magazine. I have referred to that magazine repeatedly over the years. It may sound like some sort of accounting magazine, but actually this British weekly has a wider approach that also includes technology, politics and even culture. Its intelligence and integrity makes me happy to be a subscriber, even when I sometimes don’t agree with them. So also here. The book is respectably sane and humble when faced with the impossible task of charting out the next 38 years of a world where change has become the constant, and where the speed of change itself is speeding up faster and faster. This is a book I will not be ashamed to read at work if there is a slow day. Still, I have only read 14% so far. I guess there are other fun things to do at work most days. ^_^




The quest for Schuon

An artist’s impression of the six-dimensional Realm of Light. The balls of light probably represents Higher spirits, who receive beams of spiritual Light from above and send their own beams of light down to those below, in an intricate pattern of Light.

It must be over 5 years now that I have been religiously following the weird and wonderful blog One Cosmos, which alternates between neotraditionalist metaphysics and mocking socialism and materialism in all their forms. These are really two modes of the same thing, since materialism is incompatible with metaphysics of any kind: If you are simply the electrical fluctuations in your brain, you can never know it. Or anything, really.

There is much one could say about this, but my point today is that this is where I first heard of the mysterious Frithjof Schuon. The blog will occasionally brandish quotes by Schuon, and they are generally held to be the final and perfect crystallization of metaphysical truth. Whenever something is true, Mr Schuon will have summed it up in such clarity that it cannot be said better for the duration of languages as we know them. Or that is the impression I get. Not that the author agrees with Schuon on everything (Schuon evidently believed that modernity was an unredeemable descent into barbarism, and that ancient cultures were superior in all the ways that count.) But for the vast stretch that they do agree, Schuon says it best.

Now if this was just one lone tax-cutting blasphemer on the Net, it would be unremarkable. The quotes themselves are remarkable, but they are dug out from a huge number of articles published over many years, so it could be just the occasional lucky strike. But then I read Huston Smith, the famous hands-on teacher of comparative religion. And he too had this fawning respect for Schuon. More than once when he was about to teach about some specific religion, he discovered that Schuon had already written about it with great clarity. Schuon himself, however, was aloof and barely approachable. He certainly had no interest in building any kind of relationship with famous people who looked up to him. I find this a very endearing trait.

My own attempt at reading Schuon, however, failed spectacularly. His writing is simply too hard. His words are used so precisely that you need not only a good grasp of the English language with its many nuances, but you also need to know what he is talking about before you read it. Metaphysics is necessarily far removed from the concrete world as observed by the senses, since fundamental metaphysics lies above even the world of archetypes, of which our daily objects and actions are instances. So it’s never going to be “beach reading”, as you say in English.

At the time, I was widely read in science, religion and mythology; but my knowledge of philosophy was limited to early college level. This must by necessity be so simple-yet-fuzzy that it can be understood even by socialists. Unsurprisingly, Schuon proved too hard for me. I understood some of it, but not enough to put the pieces together.

A couple more years have passed. I have continued to read One Cosmos religiously, but also Ryuho Okawa (cautiously), Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, A. G. Sertillanges, James V. Schall, Pope Benedict and saints Athanasius and Teresa, to name but those that may be relevant for the topic. (I tried Sri Aurobindo as well, but he is harder to read than Schuon; I suspect he is doing it on purpose, as only superhumans are likely to benefit from his thinking anyway. I may return to it later.)

Finally I am prepared to assail the diamond towers of Frithjof Schuon again. This time I know what I am up against, and have prepared. I have also found a book about a topic I am already familiar with, namely Christianity. The Fullness of God by Schuon has providentially become available for the Kindle. Wish me luck.


Two chapters later:

I see now why Schuon must write in an inaccessible manner! Whether by his own choice or by divine providence, it is necessary that these teachings be hidden for the unlearned and inexperienced. For such words could cast the unprepared into fear and confusion, even into perdition. I believe those who may benefit from this are few, compared to those who may take harm from it. Most would shrink back, I believe, and this for their own good.

That is not to say that this book should not have been written, for “one man’s medicine is another man’s poison”. But I have more understanding now for gurus who retreat to the Himalayas. Sometimes it is required that you have gone far.