This was a series of posts — just quotes and ideas that I liked and wanted to share. What came from this process was a solidification of ideas and beliefs, helping to shape me into the person I am today.

Here are those works:
Nietzsche tells a story about a camel, a lion, and a child — the three transformations of the spirit.

It was put like this: "When you are a child, when you are growing up in life, you are a camel. The camel gets down on its knees and says, "Put a load on me." This is obedience. This is receiving the instruction, information that your society knows you must have in order to live a competent life. When the camel is loaded, [it] gets up on his feet, struggles a bit, and runs out into the desert, where [it] becomes transformed into a lion. The heavier the load the more powerful the lion.

The function of the lion is to kill a dragon, and the name of the dragon is "Thou Shalt." And on every scale of his body there is a "Thou Shalt" imprinted. Some of it comes from 2,000 years, 4,000 years ago. Some of it comes from yesterday morning's newspaper headline. When the dragon is killed, the lion is transformed into a child, an innocent child living out of its own dynamic. And Nietzche uses the term, "ein aus sich rollendes Rad," a wheel rolling out of its own center. That's what you become. That is the mature individual.

The "Thou Shalt" is the civilizing force, it turns a human animal into a civilized human being. But the one who has throw off the "Thou Shalts" is a civilized human being. Do you see? [They have] been humanized, you might say, by the "Thou Shalt" system, so [their] performance now as a child is not simply childlike at all. [They have] assimilated the culture and thrown it off as a "Thou Shalt."

This is the way in any art work. You go to work and study and art. You study the techniques, you study all the rules, and the rules are put upon you by a teacher. Then there comes a time of using the rules, not being used by them. Do you understand what I'm saying? And one way is to follow — and I always tell my students — follow your bliss." — Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth, 1988).
Truth & Programming
The human body alters the internal material landscape in relation to the cognitive reality framework. Mind literally creates matter. Neuroplasticity is a small sign of this, and that's also why people with multiple personality disorders will have bodily disorders in some personalities and not in others. Be careful with your word, for it may be more powerful than you think.
That's why it is so important to tell the truth. We Humans are always fallible, but if you're truthful to the degree that you can be truthful, then reality is on your side. I think about it like this: if life flows down stream like a river, then to lie is to attempt to bend the river in your own direction — and that's a tough fight to fight— there's a lot of it and there isn't much of you. You might be able to dam it up and shift the flow for a time, but eventually a storm will come and wash your dam away. Will it have been worth it?
Ask yourself this: "do I want to have reality be opposed to me, or do I want reality to be backing me up?" It's a pretty straightforward question. No one gets away with deceit, and that's not so surprising because you can't imagine that you can mess with the fabric of reality and it's not going to suck you back down stream.
Painting: The Last Supper, Jacopo Tintoretto. Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.
The Gravity of Life's Questions
For Those, like Me, who sometimes Struggle with the Gravity of Their Life's questions, a quote from an old Poet:
"You are so young, all still lies ahead of you, and I should like to ask you, as best I can, dear Sir, to be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not strive to uncover answers: they can not be given to you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way to an answer." —Rilke (1904)
Open-Hearted and Humble
"Everybody has within their being a barometer of Truth, and this manifests in different ways and within different people. If you have felt the breath of Truth in your life, then you are one who is ready to dive deeply into your own shadows and own them fully. Freedom comes at a price, and that price is transparency. You must own every negative feeling and tendency within you and take full responsibility for it. You must draw back the subtle arrows of blame, and you must locate every hidden Vestige of fear within your being and embrace it without falter.
Once you are transparent and truthful with yourself and others, the seed of the future awareness can take its root in you. You can resonate strongly to the energy field behind Life. Furthermore, if you are open-hearted and humble enough, this awareness will inevitably awaken within you, and it will use your life as a launching pad to soar into the skies of freedom and prepare the ground for the True world of high romance that is to come."
Gene Key 55, p. 450
"In the beginner's mind there are infinite possibilities. In the experts there are few." Suzuki
"There are three classic paths that lead towards higher Consciousness; they are meditation, concentration and contemplation. Even though each path is markedly different, they all lead to the same final goal - absorption, then embodiment.
Meditation is the great passive art in which all forms, thoughts and feelings are simply witnessed exactly as they are. Overtime, this continued awareness gives way to the natural arising of great inner clarity which culminates in an enlightened view of nature and of reality. Meditation is rooted in the holistic right hemisphere of the brain.
Concentration, on the other hand, is the path of effort. Through concentration, you strive with your heart, mind and soul to reunite your inner being with your true higher nature. Most mystical systems and all types of yoga are based on the path of concentration. Concentration is rooted in the left hemisphere of the brain. Through a gradual process of continual refinement, this path to arrives at an enlightened view of the nature of reality.
Right in the middle of these two paths is contemplation. Contemplation utilizes aspects of both meditation and concentration. It is rooted in the corpus callosum, that part of the brain that unites both left and right hemispheres. Contemplation involves a kind of cellular digestion. You take the object of your contemplation and you concentrate your whole being on it but without any effort or tension. In a certain sense you play with it with your mind, your feelings and your intuition. It is as though you are holding the velvet case of a diamond ring in your hands and continuously running your fingers gently over it, enjoying the sensation and the mystery of not knowing what lies inside. Then, at some unknown moment, your fingers suddenly and unexpectedly discover the tiny hidden catch embedded in the deep folds of velvet. All of a sudden this case opens and the treasure is revealed.
This is the path of our age, The Age of Synthesis. It is "true intelligence [...] activated through patience and softness of the heart, and only later confirmed by the mind. Here you need to be a lover of mystery with a beginner's mind, rather than arriving as an expert determined to solve a riddle." GK XVVII
What is the Role of Play?
We have an amazing ability to learn from observation. When a child watches their mother, it isn't exactly like they are imitating their mom because imitation would be mirroring — mimicking. You know how annoying it is when someone copies you — I move my arm when you move your arm, I mimic your voice when you speak; 10 seconds and you're ready to sock me in the nose.
Children are way more sophisticated than that.
In the child's observation, the mother becomes the target of a symbolic display, the child watches her mother — across time — and pull out a conception of the role of mother, and then they act out that role in their pretend play — tea party, for example. They are using their body and mind as dramatic forums for abstract conceptual thought — it's so sophisticated it's ridiculous.
Maybe we can learn from them; maybe we can learn to play.
(Painting: Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Leonardo Da Vinci, 1507)
Victory Across the Set of All Games
People often say to their kids "it doesn't matter if you in or lose, it's how you play the game." And of course the kid has no idea what that means... and often times neither does the parent — they might say "well other kids won't play with you," and, there you go, that's a big idea.
This is something to think about, so there's a game, and there's a victory in that game, and then there's the set of all games, and there's victory across the set of all games. Victory that you attain across the set of all games does not mean victory in each individual game; it is being invited back to play all the games. Because if you play fair, and you get invited back, then you're playing the metagame, and you begin to gain something more valuable than one victory. You gain Mastery.
I think if you understand that, you begin to understand the phenomenal emergence of morality. What do you think?
The Path of Abel, or The Path of Cain.
Two modes of being in the world: one is where you adopt the responsibility for being properly, and the other is a path of hatred and resentment — the path of Abel, or the path of Cain.
A quote comes to mind from Carl Jung: "Modern people don't see God because they don't look low enough;" what is right in front of you is the majesty of being and the realization of immense opportunity and potential, you just have to look "low enough."
When you voluntarily encounter the unknown, you voluntarily encounter what you're made of. What a gift! You can actively take on a challenge, learn something, strengthen your Self, and the better you get at encountering the unknown; you get better at structuring order out of chaos.
Realize you matter, tackle a matter, and create matter.
This is the heroic adventure. This is the attitude to adopt: to "make things better wherever you are, however you can." What you'll realize is that things around you will present themselves as positive, as getting better.
As a species, we have explored this rarely, and it's really an open question: to what degree can we make things better if that was actually what we focused on doing?
(Painting: Saint George Fighting the Dragon, Raphael, 1503-1505)
We Need to Be Humble.
Today we are quick to label ideologies as "archaic," byproducts of a lesser intellect, but I think that this is a quick dismissal. There are accounts of profound abilities of people that haven't learned to read. I once heard a story of a farmer who was illiterate and didn't know how to use numbers, but he owned sheep and he knew if one of his sheep was missing just by looking at the herd. Traveling poets of the Medieval era would recount epic, 15,000-line poems from memory — today we don't remember a phone number because we can look it up.
What are the capabilities of a mind unlike ours?
Let's be clear, there are amazing benefits to the world we live in today, and we have progressed far, but let's not throw out our respect and admiration for the ancient societies just because we've projected some flippant judgments on them. We don't know what the mind is capable of when it is not hyper-literate, but it appears from these examples that when it is not wrought with abstractions like language, writing, and numbers, it is filled with other profound capabilities.
Though they've long past, they still have much to teach us, we just need to be willing to learn.
Be humble.
Inspiration — To Be Inhabited by Spirit. 
You can't choose your interests, your interests choose you. That's something that's really interesting to think about. You know this yourself. How many times have you tried to get yourself to do something and you just can't do it? It's hard; you can't grab yourself by the scruff of your neck and sit yourself down and do something, there needs to be meaning.
The question is: if you don't choose your interests than what does?
Jung talked about the Spirit of Mercurius — the ancient's idea of the winged messenger of the Gods; your interest flits around, there's something that captures it, and moves it from place to place — you know like if you walk into a bookstore and you get interested in a particular book; it's as if the book grips you. Often you don't know why you are interested in it — that's Mercury, the thing that makes your interest flicker. Mercury is the messenger of the Gods because he's the thing behind the scenes that is altering your attention.
 It's interesting to think about the word inspiration. The ancient Greeks believed that artists who created brilliant masterpieces were inhabited by a daemon, a spirit, and so inspiration is literally inhabited by spirit. 

And another quote: "In the West, Hermes [the Greek parallel to Mercury] is the God of revelation, and in the Middle Ages he is nothing less than the world-creating Nous itself.

How did they go about invoking these spirits?

I think that the spirit or daemon is synonymous with our understanding of listening to your intuition or conscience. Socrates was famous for being one who listened solely to the daemon that spoke to him — which sounds a bit crazy, but when you replace "daemon" with "conscience" it falls a little softer on our modern ears. My thinking is that when you foster your relationship with your intuition/conscience, its voice strengthens, and you are able to be guided by it more and more.
The Process of the Phoenix.
There's a trend in forest fire prevention to keep the forests from burning. "The fire burns everything down and that must be bad" is the general mentality; there's a problem with that, though, because when the fire does come, it torches everything that has accumulated over the years and years that it has been suppressed and burn the whole forest down. Some fires can get so hot that they will burn the topsoil off the ground, and you're left with nothing but a desert.
There's a good analogy here; you want to make sure that you can constantly burn away your dead wood. You want to be aware of parts of yourself that are bad or need improvement and let go of the things that keep you stagnant. At first, you'll think "I'm losing myself, and that must be bad," but you'll notice that you're giving space to something greater. Burn yourself to ashes and emerge in brilliant light.
It's the process of the phoenix.
Put Your House in Order
God only knows what will happen when you put your house in order; certainly things that you did not think are possible will happen. The more you put your house in order the more things that you did not think are possible will happen. It might be the case that if you put your house together sufficiently, things of miraculous nature will happen to you.

There's no way of knowing until you try it.

The world is a remarkable and mysterious place, and the nature of your actions could be more tightly wound up with the structure of reality than you think, and I don't know how to reconcile that with the fact that we are bound in a physical body — that we are bound in physical bodies and have a simultaneous transcendent potential — but I don't understand anything about the nature of reality so I guess we'll just have to add that to the pile.
How Much Trouble Would You Want There To Be?
A tough question meets the human mind: how much trouble would you want there not to be? It's not an easy question to answer.
For starters, you want to have something to contend with. You want to have something that forces you to meet your best self. Or maybe not — maybe you want to lay down on your bed and have chocolate infused into your mouth — all your problems solved. But I don't think so, you may sit there all day in a state of euphoria, but the real you hasn't been pulled out yet, and, not to mention, your happiness lasts only as long as the tube is piped into your head.
Maybe you want difficult problems that you can solve because there's the overcoming and the growth that comes from that, and maybe, if you realize that you are strong enough to contend with those problems and come out the victor, you'll find that there's a deeper happiness that transcends the moment.
How much trouble would you want there to be? Enough to realize that the potential for greatness lies within you.
You're an Overwhelming Source for Good
Rise (2012) — Billy Norrby
The non-naive optimist says that the suffering could be reduced and the insufficiency could be overcome if people oriented themselves properly and did what they are capable of doing.
"Pick up your responsibility, pick up the heaviest thing you can and carry it."
We've been fed this diet of unending rights and freedoms, but we need truth and responsibility to orient ourselves in the world. That's the secret to a meaningful life, and that's what's necessary to escape nihilism and despair.
The 'millennial' generation has been told again and again that "your active participation in the world is the same force that is actively destroying the planet and adding to the tyranny of the social systems," and that's antihuman right to the core.
If you are able to reveal the best of yourself to the world it would be an overwhelming source for good and anything else would wash out in the works.
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