Spiritual Form

The spiritual life is concerned with form. Pleasure and pain are concerns of the body. The body when guided not by spiritual form, but by pleasure or pain, is the secular. The secular is a place of demonry and deceit. A false place where spirit dies.

To pray unceasingly is the call of the Orthodox. To at all moments be in prayer. To at every moment be spirited. There is no secular. There is only the spiritual form of life. The pleasure and pain of the body is subservient to the form. The form must not break down. Ignore the pleasure or pain. They arrive as challenges to the form. Perhaps they arrive as enemies. But when properly approached they increase the spirit, they grow the spirit by antagonizing the form. Each day invite these enemies of form, for when encountered properly they will strengthen the form and expand it.

The pushup form must not waiver. Neither the pullup. To neglect the form is to encourage injury. Should pain cause one’s form to waiver one must stop the exercise to rest. One has reached his limit. To push past is to push for numbers and not for form. To push past with bad form is an act of the ego. To claim numbers of reps and records. But it is the form, in its complete range of motion, its strictness always, not the number of sets and repetitions, that is the goal. Perfect form. Each rep. The pushup and pullup have become ascetical exercises.

So goes each day for the man of spirit. In all things the spiritual form repeated unceasingly. Discovering the spirit in new ways, extending and growing it. Never allowing discomfort, whether it be soreness or sickness or fatigue, to affect the form. Never allowing pleasure to distract from the form. Never thinking about tomorrow.

The Narrow Way

The difficulty is one of will and attitude. One cannot understand the meaning of Christian practices unless one has submitted and made himself obedient. Philosophy and science each attempt to make religious life submit to their attitude, to answer their questions. Neither are capable of the humility in submission necessary to understanding. The spiritual life exists in its practice. There is no secular (non-spiritual) place to observe it, and accurately account for it.

You will recognize a holy man only if you yourself have attempted to become holy.



 The conscious mind is your own. The unconscious mind is not.



Rationality is founded on the ego. 

Where the ego cannot go Reason too is unable. 

The highly rational man lives in fear of death, the loss of his ego. He lives in order not to die. 

They will say of him that his arguments are good and sound, yet life eludes him.



 Science is an instrument of magic.

The nurse ran the instrument across my wife's abdomen. Back and forth we listened to the crackly whooshing electronic sound. It sounded like a cold wind across empty pampas. There wasn't any heartbeat. There was only the wind. 

The nurse of greater importance arrived and looked inside my wife and quickly turned away. She looked towards the wall and did not say anything. She stood and did not look at us and told the nurse standing at the door to bring another doctor. 

It was a tiny pink-red corpse. The skin was translucent. I did not look at it long. The nurse wrapped it up and put a little white hat on it and a little teddy bear on its chest. It had never breathed my air or seen me. I was not yet its father. The prematurely dead do not have fathers. It was mine I knew but it was not where it was supposed to be. What the nurses had done to it by dressing it up was obscene. It was not supposed to be mine until May of next year and here it was dead in November. We came to the hospital as three and left as two.


Taking Things Away

Taking things away. To recognize you no longer need certain things eases life. Self-denial also often grows power, forces you onto other more self-sufficient paths. Take exercise. You do not require a gym. You do not require weights at home. The body itself can be lifted and pressed and stretched and pulled. A man once trained for the marathon at the Olympics by running in place in his room while outside a war raged in the streets.

The discipline of taking things away begins with objects and physical things. Prison life teaches this discipline in a profound way. But this extends next to ideas. One realizes he cannot attain the Good. One realizes he cannot define the Good. He cannot see its border with the Non Good. So many borders seem to exist which must be taken away. When the borders have been taken away so our the things. The things did not exist. The things were unnecessary. Though the things are very necessary to those who would exercise control over a man. The things as objects of desire, cars and toys and homes, as well as those things of fame and being Good (or seen by others as good?) are taken away.
The Tao is then the man. The man is Heaven. The man is no longer a branch but the trunk. He is no longer a man, the individual branch. The individual is no more.


The border between a man as individual and others is the last border. The individual is the last thing to be taken away.

So much seeks to make a man an individual, to set his borders: HE feels pain and pleasure. HE has desires and that which repulses him. HE is looked at and given a number by the State and by his bank; a password only he knows for his Gmail account; HE is made out to be uniquely that combination of characteristics. A special snowflake to appear once and never again, for his lifetime is just his and no other's.

But there is much that crosses these borders of a man. He shares his life with others who came before him and who may come after him and he thinks of these others; He is visited in dreams; he can remember and forget and he cannot control what he remembers and forgets. Even his pleasure and pain is not his own for when he is in pain his mother may hurt to see him. His pleasure may inspire another. See how the smiling man makes the others smile. See how the yawning man makes others sleepy. Where would be the border between men if one's pain and pleasure, one's fatigue and joy can be shared so easily? Our these feelings really one's own then?

You say man has a birth and a death. That a life has a span. But what do we say of a man remembered by other men? Has he not lived on in memory? No that is not the man you say. But what of my memories of myself? Am I not that man if even I am the man doing the remembering? If I am not that man, than why cannot another man remember me in the same way? What is being remembered? What then is memory if memory is separate from a man? Where is the border?

A man is a contested place; a contested dream. A place pulling and receding. His borders are never clear and only through his words can he say there are borders--can he say he is a man, an individual.
Self-awareness is the highest forgetfulness. In recognizing a self man forgets the Way.
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