Stations Of The Prodigal

As early as the 5th century, Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem sought out places with connections to the crucifixion of Christ. There was a route known to pilgrims as the Via Sacra, which later became better known as the Via Dolorosa. The accustomed places of stopping for reflection were referred to as “stations” sometime in the 15th century. For better or for worse, the term “stations” caught on. Franciscans got the idea of making shrines in Europe referring to these stations. Eventually artwork representing the stations became a part of many Catholic and Protestant churches. The stations and the prayers associated with them became known as the Stations of the Cross.

The practice of contemplating the events of the death of Christ has found a place in the hearts of many Catholics. This practice has found a place in the heart of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis presided over the formal rite, The Way of the Cross, on Good Friday of 2014.

Stations of the Prodigal

I realize that this sounds rather presumptuous, but I wish to introduce a set of stations of my own. These stations will be called the Stations of the Prodigal. These stations are inspired by a series of paintings by 19th-century French painter James Tissot (1836-1902). Tissot spent the last 15 years of his life illustrating the Bible. He painted a series of paintings during the 1880’s called “The Prodigal Son in Modern Life.” There are four paintings in this series: “The Departure” (shown above), “In Foreign Climes,” “The Return” and “The Fatted Calf.” I have used two of these paintings in posts on other topics, but the idea of a series of Stations of the Prodigal has been percolating in me for a while.

I have shared the following scenario with a number of Christians. They have generally been willing to consider this as a possible interpretation. I believe there was a time when the younger son (who was not yet prodigal) was unaware of there even being such a place as the far country. In the normal course of events, someone (either the father or the older brother) told the younger son that it would be a good thing if he were to go into town and procure certain necessary supplies. These supplies would be available because it was known that a merchant caravan had just arrived from the east. The younger brother cheerfully went to town and accomplished his tasks. As he did this, he overheard a conversation in the tavern between a local merchant and one of the caravan’s camel drivers. The camel driver was boastfully describing the splendor of the festivities in the far country, the abundance and quality of the food, wine, women, song, etc. The local merchant sighed and said “Oh, Ahmad, what a life you live. I would do what you’re doing if only I could get out of this God-forsaken place.”

And in that moment, the younger son moved in the Stations of the Prodigal, from the Station of Innocence, to the Station of Uncertainty.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Страх на пути к истине

Страх на пути к истине

Touch drawing by Deborah Koff-Chapin

For English version click here.

Есть суфийская притча, которая называется «Страх на пути к истине».

— Почтенный, я хотел бы, подобно тебе, стать искателем истины, — сказал юноша суфийскому шейху. — Как мне достичь этого? Каким путём?

— Путь к истине нелёгок, сын мой, — ответил шейх. — Поэтому будет лучше, если ты присоединишься к сообществу странников. Этот путь — не простая дорога. Он опасен. Там встречаются свои разбойники, препятствия и неприятности. Если боишься, то сиди дома. Ведь когда веют зерно, то отделяют шелуху от зерна. На пути шелуха — это страх.

Сегодня я занимаюсь Шагом 51 из Шагов к Знанию: “Позволь мне узнавать свои страхи, чтобы увидеть истину вне них” во второй раз.

Когда я сделала этот Шаг в первый раз, я написала в своем журнале:

“Я чувствую, что я понимаю страх, его механизм и как он влияет на людей. Страх подрезает крылья и препятствует тому, чтобы люди рискнули и достигли своего полного потенциала. Страх не защищает меня от перипетий жизни, что будет, то будет, что бы ни было. Просто надо смело стоять перед страхом и шагать через него, полагая, что результат будет ещё лучше, чем я могла предположить. Есть воображаемые страхи и есть реальные страхи. Страх изнуряет и поражает, внушая убеждение в том, что мы не способны справиться с жизнью».

После этих смелых слов, я всё-таки добавила:

“Однако, я допускаю, что я не понимаю ничего о страхе вообще, потому что страх редко меня преследует. Я прошу о ясности по поводу страха”.

Страх на пути к истине

Страх на пути к истине

Во второе прохождение этого Шага, могу ли я сказать, что я получила больше ясности о страхе? Я не знаю, но одно могу сказать точно, я получила указание в правильное направление. Мое внимание было обращено на одно из учений Нового Послания от Бога под названием «Разлука». Оно ещё не было переведено на русский язык, но начало можно слушать на английском на этом видео и читать здесь.

Я думаю, что страх только существует в пределах моей текущей ситуации, то есть, в той ограниченном физическом измерении, в котором я сейчас существую. Я живу в разлуке от своего Источника, от своей более глубокой сущности, поэтому я живу в иллюзии страха. Страхи рождаются из того меняющего, непостоянного, хаотичного состояния, в котором я сейчас живу, а значит, они являются не существенными. Когда я понимаю, что мое естественное состояние – это соединение с Источником, а не в разлуки от него, то места для страхов в моей жизни нет.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Beyond Fear Lies The Truth

beyond fear lies the truth

Touch drawing by Deborah Koff-Chapin

I am happy to accept that beyond fear lies the truth. However, I have this presumptuous notion that I know what fear is all about. I am currently on Step 51 of Steps to Knowledge: “Let me recognize my fears so that I may see the truth beyond them” for the second time.

When I did this Step the first time, I wrote in my journal:

“I feel as though I understand fear, its mechanism and how it influences people – it prevents people from being who they really are since it restricts them, it prevents people from thinking in expansive ways, it keeps them boxed in. Fear clips the wings and prevents people from taking risks and reaching their full potential. I have worked with my fears and feel the reality beyond them. Fear will not stop what is going to happen to me, it will happen anyway. The thing is to boldly face fear and step through it, believing that the outcome will be much greater than I ever imagined. It is the same as following a path I had no intention of taking and finding myself right where I need to be, stepping out of my comfort zone and being prepared to face whatever awaits me. There are imaginary fears and real fears. Fear is defeating and debilitating, it freezes your ability to respond adequately, thus reducing your chances of success. Metaphorically speaking, in order to walk a tightrope, you have to lose your fear of falling.”

After these bold words, I did have the foresight to add:

“All in all, however, this is a difficult Step to grasp. Perhaps I don’t understand fear at all because I have not been in situations that bring up fear. I am asking for clarity about fear.”

Beyond fear lies the truth

Can I say I have more clarity about fear the second time around? I still accept that beyond fear lies the truth and I receive confirmation of this.

The New Message from God revelation called “The Separation” speaks perfectly to this dilemma. There I read:

“To understand the reality of God and God’s work in the world and in the universe around you, you must understand your own situation clearly, for you are living in a state of separation, in a physical reality, in time and space.

“You are living in separation from your Source and from Creation itself, which exists beyond the physical reality entirely. You are living in a temporary reality. It is impermanent. It is changing. It is expanding. It is chaotic. It is governed by its own laws and dynamics.

“You are a spiritual being living in a physical reality.

“To become really true to yourself and right with yourself, you must gain access to your deeper nature, which is still connected to Creation, still connected to that Greater Reality from which you have come and to which you will return.”

I think that coming to understand this separation, realizing the limits of my current situation, i.e. that I am living in a state of separation, is the key to recognizing my fears and seeing the truth beyond them. I recognize that my fears are born of this changing, chaotic state that I currently live in, so they are as impermanent and temporary as it is. But I have a deeper nature, a nature still connected to Creation, to my Source, to a Greater Reality, and in this state of consciousness fear has no place.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Only The True Favorites Receive This Longing

alone-with-god Only the true favorites receive this longing.Rainer Maria Rilke is by no means the only poet who writes of the longing for one’s true life. The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi (1207-1273) wrote of this as well. Rumi’s great work, the Masnavi-I Ma’navi (Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning), has taken a while to arrive in the Western world, but I consider it worth the wait. Masnavi was originally a poetic form, but after Rumi, the word became more associated with Rumi’s writings than the poetic form. It is also spelled Mathnavi or Mathnawi. A portion of Book 3 of the Mathnawi (lines 189-197) has been rendered by American poet Coleman Barks as the poem “Love Dogs”

Only the true favorites receive this longing

One night a man was crying,
Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.

He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.

“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing
you express is the return message.

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.”

This poem appears in many places, including the book “The Essential Rumi.”

Only the true favorites receive this longing.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

An Unseen Inner Work

Bono and The Edge. An unseen inner workWhy don’t some people see what you see? Why don’t you see what other people see? There must be more to it than just someone telling someone something. It is as if there is an unseen inner work going on as well. The New Message from God speaks of this unseen inner work in the revelation “The Rays of Initiation,” received by Marshall Vian Summers in July of 2012.

An unseen inner work

The Angelic Assembly is looking for a particular kind of person. A kind of person who has undergone a certain ripening. Not everyone has undergone, or even desired, this ripening. It seems like a good idea to take Rainer Maria Rilke, and some other poets, as companions on this journey. Rilke draws a distinction:

They wanted to bloom
and to bloom is to be beautiful.
But we want to ripen,
and for that we open ourselves to darkness and travail.

How do the Angelic Orders find such a person? By the response to the spirit of the quest, and the readiness to respond to a greater purpose and a greater calling in life.

How does a person develop the readiness to respond to a greater purpose and a greater calling in life? They recognize there is more to life than satisfying the cravings of the animal soul. They are calling for something more permanent and essential to their true nature. As Rachel of old cried out to her husband Jacob “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1, New International Version), these people cry out “Give me the truth of my life, give me my real life, or I’ll die!”

What do the Angelic Hierarchies do when they find such a ripened person? They shine Great Rays. Great Rays of light and power. Great Rays which start reckoning and evaluation, many stages of initiation, a great turning point. Great Rays which are shined on the changeless part of a person, bypassing the intellect.

And what happens after that? It’s a long and winding road. Many changes, many reevaluations of things. I imagine that Jacob had an experience such as this during his night of wrestling. Rilke wrote of that night:

What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

There is more that could be said about “The Rays of Initiation,” but I believe I have made a proper introduction of an unseen inner work.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Who If I Cried Out Would Hear Me?

crying-out1 Who if I cried out would hear me?In the opening line of the Duino Elegies, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) cried out “Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic Orders?” In the next few lines, he confessed that the terror of his cry being heard outweighed the longing of his cry, saying “And so I hold myself back, and swallow the cry of a darkened sobbing.”

Who if I cried out would hear me?

But the very fact that Rilke was even able to contemplate such a thing showed that he had some of the frame of heart spoken of by the New Message from God revelation “The Rays of Initiation.

Perhaps some introductions are in order. “The Rays of Initiation” is one of roughly 900 revelations received by Marshall Vian Summers from 1982 to the present. These revelations were recorded on audio, and transcribed shortly after they were received. This particular revelation was received in July of 2012. The audio for this revelation is available at the link.

While I have been actively engaged with the New Message from God since 2010, I freely admit that words like “rays” and “initiation” are not part of my native spiritual vocabulary. The references to the Great Rays in A Course in Miracles made a lovely whooshing sound as they went over my head in 1987. The parts I understood were challenging enough.

The spring of 2010 was a difficult time for me. About a year and a half before that, I was approved for Social Security disability due to Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. I received this designation relatively late in life, at the age of 51. I considered it the refutation of my life. I could see in my mind’s eye the word “LOSER” in large, black letters on my forehead and my right hand. I could see in my mind’s eye the U.S. Government designating me as the human equivalent of filler meat, pink slime. Who if I cried out would hear me? I didn’t cry out to anyone in particular. I cried out to whom it may concern, “What am I good for?” A voice in my mind’s ear answered “You’re good for finding Knowledge.” I knew what this meant because I had studied Steps to Knowledge shortly after it was received in 1989.

My original plan was to write a post unpacking the contents of “The Rays of Initiation.” Between December of 2013 and now, I have written three such posts unpacking the contents of an individual revelation. I will still do this, just not in this post.

Who, if I cried out, would hear me? I realize this may sound a bit presumptuous, but I dare to claim my cry was heard.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Behold I Tell You A Mystery

The Star Gate from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Behold I tell you a mystery.Since there are multiple connotations for the word “mystery,” it seems like a good idea to say what we (and by “we” I mean “Alisa and I”) mean by mystery in our new blog title of Mystery of Ascension.

Behold I tell you a mystery

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, played by Jeremy Brett and David Burke. Behold I tell you a mystery.

We do not mean mystery in the sense of something you don’t know, but might be able to discover by means of careful observation and inductive logic. Don’t get us wrong, careful observation and inductive logic proved to be remarkably successful for the fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but they worked on something simpler than what we’re talking about.

We do not mean mystery in the sense of something you don’t know, but might be able to discover by participation. You might be able to explore the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Mexico once you knew where it was, but it might be trickier if you didn’t know where it was, or if it even existed.

It turns out the Greek word μυστήριον (mystērion) is a word which succinctly captures what we mean by the word mystery. This word appears 28 times in 10 of the 27 books of the New Testament. It is rendered as “mystery” in many English translations, and “secret” in some translations. It means something you don’t know, and are likely to go on not knowing without receiving initiation or receiving revelation.

I feel better for having shared this. Behold I tell you a mystery.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Я ищу свое место на Земле

ищу свое место

Родовое поместье

For English version click here.

Я ищу свое место на Земле. И давно. Половину пути я прошла, переехав в Россию. Знаю, что мой дом здесь. Но жить в Москве с каждым годом становится всё тягостнее, давно мечтаю жить в лоно природы. Давно хочу иметь свой дом в укромном местечке у речки или озера, собирать грибы и ягоды в лесу, выращивать овощи, ловить рыбу, жить далеко от шума и гама большого города и заниматься духовным изысканием.

ищу свое местоОднажды описывала свою мечту следующим образом: Визуально представляю тот край, где хочу жить в своем домике. Душистая тонкая весна, изумруднее лето, золотая осень, и белая дымчатая зима. Где туман витает над рекой и таинственные извилистые тропинки ведут в лес. Дом весь дышит запахом дерева, пчельного воска, сушенных цветов. Утренние лучи солнца играют на стене, а вечером бархатный свет заката. Печка топится и дает тепло, в ней чугунной горшок с рассыпчатой кашей. На чердаке много подушек и пуховое одеяло фиолетового цвета. И музыка, от которой душа поет.

Пять лет назад попала в мои руки английский перевод первой книги Владимира Мегре «Анастасия». Я начала читать с интересом, а в итоге прочла меньше, чем половины, и остановилась. Дальше не читала и до остальных книг в серии «Звенящие кедры России» не дошла.

Тем не менее, идея жить на природе, ближе к земли, не покидает меня. Особенно на фоне книги Маршала Виан Саммерса «Большие Волны Перемен», которая советует, помимо прочих полезных вещей, жить экологически рациональным образом жизни.

И получилось так, что во время отдыха на берегу озера Селигера, я как-то завела разговор со женщиной, отдыхающей со семьёй рядом. Она почти с первого слова начала рассказывать про родовое поместье, где она недавно покупала участок, ссылаясь на Мегре и Анастасию. Я решила, что стоит изучать.

Я ищу свое место на Земле

На следующий год, мы с мужем поехали на разведку по нескольким таким поместьям, но то ли не нашли, не могли дозвониться, то ли не доехали. И между тем поняли, что этот вариант не для нас.

Тем не менее, пишу об этом, выкладываю видео. Может, кому-то пригодится, заинтересует, вдохновляет.

Это движение «Анастасия» не для меня, я пока дальше ищу свое место на Земле.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Dancing With Change

Mambo Scene from West Side Story. Dancing with changeThis blog has experienced changes from time to time. For example, the addition of Alisa as a blogger in July of 2013 has enriched and deepened the flow.

Dancing with change

A change, or rather, a collection of changes have been taking place since late July, including, but not limited to…

  1. The blog title is now “Mystery of Ascension” instead of “Ascending Knowledge”
  2. The URL is now mysteryofascension.com, but if anyone has bookmarked ascending-knowledge.com, it should be transparent, as ascending-knowledge.com forwards to mysteryofascension.com
  3. Instead of focusing on the study of Steps to Knowledge, we are expanding the scope to include more of the New Message from God. We’re still the only English-Russian New Message from God blog I know.

From December of 2012 to July of 2014, I have blogged about Steps 1 through 95 of Steps to Knowledge. As I have gone further, it has become more difficult for me to express my experience in a blog format. The reason each step in Steps to Knowledge has such potency, is because of the steps I have taken before. For example, if someone just looks at Step 95 by itself, it may not seem like such a big deal. But if someone who has taken Steps 1 through 94 looks at Step 95, it will be a big deal. But the readers don’t read that way. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I feel I have made a good faith effort in describing the experience of studying Steps to Knowledge. But we’re going to do some other things as well now. I’d like to think we’re dancing with change.

Star Trek TNG: Q Who? Enterprise and Borg. Dancing with change

In my mind’s ear, I’m hearing the words of the godlike character Q in the American television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, as he arranges an encounter between the starship Enterprise and the cybernetic Borg. Q says “Con permiso, Capitan. The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. It’s now time to see if you can dance.” How are we at dancing with change? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Preparing For A New Future

If I am to prepare for a new future, what will I do? And what new future am I talking about? Is there a new future to prepare for? Indeed there is. Just look around, be alert and aware, and you will see that things need to change if we are to survive.

Marshall Vian Summer’s book The Great Waves of Change provides a lot of sound advice on how to navigate the difficult times ahead.

In Chapter 9. The Great Waves Prophecy, I read:

People will live locally, work locally and will have to survive locally. Local food production and local manufacturing will become ever more important. Everything will have to function on a smaller scale.

Preparing for a new future

This brought to mind a movement that has been going on in Russia for quite some time now. This movement is prompting people to sell their apartments in the cities and move out into the countryside to lead a more economically sustainable way of life on a smaller scale.

The movement was inspired by a series of books called The Ringing Cedars of Russia by Vladimir Megre. A few years ago, the first book in this series in its English translation came my way and I began reading it. I don’t remember finishing it, but its underlying idea struck a chord with me and stayed. It calls for getting back to basics, back to the garden, living a simpler way of life in the bosom of nature, living a life that does not depend on the system, living a life with strong spiritual roots.

This review puts it in a pretty concise nutshell.

Another video provides a very eloquent picture of what a new future for our planet might look like.

As I see it, preparing for a new future requires serious thought and making the right choices. In Chapter 1 of The Great Waves of Change, I read:

Each person must choose whether they will fight and compete, whether they will resist the Great Waves of change, whether they will struggle with themselves and with others to maintain whatever lifestyle they are holding onto. Or will they recognize the great danger, and will they unite to begin to prepare for its impact and to build a new and different kind of future for humanity?

 

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