A Rosicrucian in Iraq

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A Rosicrucian in Iraq

Post  Hadrianswall on Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:25 am

Iraq Letter 1
Dear Friends

“When are you coming home?” That is the number one question people ask me when they learn that I am in Iraq. Whether or not they talk about it that is also what is on the minds of most soldiers here as well. If you have seen any old World War II movies you will get the idea. The soldiers always sit around talking about what life was like before they went to war, and all the things they are looking forward to seeing or doing when they are done and can finally come home. “I can’t wait to get home so I can see my wife,” or, “The first thing I’m going to do is get drunk with my friends.” “I can’t wait to get home and see a movie in the movie theater.” “I can’t wait to go out to eat at a restaurant.” “I’m going to sleep in everyday for a month!” The list goes on and on.

So think about it. If you were suddenly uprooted from your home, and put into a place where you could no longer indulge in the luxuries of life, what are the things you would miss most? In Iraq, you are lucky to get a day off a week, and even then you can often be called into work. And that is if you work in an established place like a hospital. If you are with a field unit, you may be working everyday. Do you enjoy having your own house, or your own room? What if you had to live out of a truck for a year? Some soldiers do that.

Some don’t have permanent barracks and sleep in a different place each night, sometimes miles away from their “home base.” Depending on your job, you could work 10 or 12 hours a day or more. Do you have a particular food you like? What about a special restaurant? Imagine eating military MREs everyday for a week, a month, a year. Some soldiers do that. Thank the Lord of the Universe I work in nutrition care. I get the benefits of being a cook and a nurse, without all the work or stress of either.

So you might be saying, “Yes, yes, I know their life is difficult, I count my lucky stars that I do not have to go through that.” You might even tell me that many people have it much worse. They don’t know when their next meal will be, or where they will sleep tonight, or if they might wake up in the middle of the night to armed gunmen storming their house to gut them in front of their family just because they were working for Americans. This has happened more than once since I have been here, to Iraqis I work with. Why do they work for Americans? Because the $800 dollar a month salary is more than twice what they could get doing anything else, and these people have college degrees! Most of them have families that they have to support. Imagine having to take a different route home everyday to make sure no one was following you to see where you lived.

Now some of you are probably saying, “I have heard this speech a million times from a million different people. You are now going to tell us to be thankful for what we have, or to support the troops, or go out and send Snickers Bars to soldiers in Iraq or donate money to the starving children in Africa.” This is where I will take you for a little detour. I want to go back and focus on all the things you would miss if you were suddenly deployed to Iraq, or put into a similar situation. Really think about it, make a list of all the things you would miss. Got it? Now take a look at that list, and use it to teach you about yourself.

Coming to Iraq has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I wake up every morning and fill myself with joy for this blessing that God has given me. When people come up to me here and start telling me about how bad Iraq sucks and all the things they would rather be doing right now, I listen to them and empathize with them, but I don’t let myself identify with their mindset. What have I learned from being in Iraq? I have learned that I have two choices when it comes to my life: I can either rule or be ruled.

What I have been asking you to imagine is that you are placed within tight limits. You are bound by extreme circumstances and these circumstances prevent you from obtaining your normal comfort zone. That is what everyone here in Iraq is dealing with. All the examples I gave above are examples of limitation. You experience this everyday, but most people do not get the opportunity to see all the things that limit them. I am thankful I have had the opportunity to come to Iraq because I have been forced by the universe to accommodate to greater limitations. So what is this? Saturn.

To Saturn are attributed the opposites of Dominion and Slavery by Paul Foster Case in The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages. In that same book he writes, “Right interpretation of the necessity for limitation in any form of manifested existence is the secret of dominion. Wrong interpretation of the same thing is the cause of our slavery to conditions. The clue to the right understanding is the aphorism, ‘He who would rule Nature must first obey her laws.’” Epictetus writes in The Art of Living, “Things themselves don’t hurt or hinder us. Nor do other people. How we view these things is another matter. It is our attitude and reaction that gives us trouble.”

Will I let my situation rule me? I will not. I look around and see others pinning for this or for that. But everything they need is right there, inside them. I would love to show them, but it is something that people must come to for themselves.

Even if I were to say, “You know, it’s really your inner attitude that determines whether you are happy or sad.” They might listen for a minute, but where will they be five minutes later? You will hear them with their compatriots, moaning in the corner.

So what have I learned from my time in Iraq? True freedom. “But how can you be free when you are bound almost as a slave?” Oh my physical body may be limited, but only I have the power to put my soul in chains, no one else. I am truly free here, more free than I ever was back home. When people tell me, “It is unbearably hot! This is miserable!” I answer, “Is it? I hadn’t noticed. Oh yes, it is very hot, but I cannot tell the sun to stop shinning. So it is hot, but why do you rebel against things you have no control over? Stop wasting your energy and put that personality of yours to work! Stop letting yourself be ruled and start taking charge!”
So I have the choice between dominion and slavery. I have a kingdom, and just like every other earthly kingdom it has boundaries. What lies beyond and outside those boundaries is not under my control, but as soon as they come into my kingdom I have complete dominion over them. So I meet every moment with a smile, with love in my heart and thoughts of praise and gratitude.

Look at your list and see all the things that you would miss and think of how much you let your happiness and inner peace depend upon these things. I promise you that you can live without all of them. I used to say things like, “I need to work to get free space so I can do my ritual work, I will be so happy then.” “If only I didn’t have this person bothering me, then I could truly find peace.” “I will never make spiritual progress as long as I am in this situation.” “My life will be so much better when I get a better job.” “If only I had been born into a wealthy family so I could not worry about money and spend my entire life devoted to my spiritual work.” Not anymore. Never again.

I know that what I need, I already have. I stopped trying to get something outside, and sought treasures inside. “Do not store treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store your treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If I value going out to eat, seeing friends, getting drunk, then when these are taken away I will feel pain, suffering, and loss. But if I value my work, prayer, love, and true inner peace, then who can make me feel sorrow, pain, or loss? Who can take these away from me? Not even a terrorist with a bomb strapped to his chest can take those things away from me. So what should I fear?
It is the lower nature that seeks to drag down and fetter the soul. It is only in serving the higher nature, in serving God, that I found my freedom. Is it ironic that my freedom should come in the form of service? It is a choice of whom I will serve. I can either be a servant of my lower self, which is always seeking things to bring it pleasure. It is the one that seeks things for itself. Or I can serve the higher nature, which gives. Why should I waste time thinking of how things could or should be for me? This is selfish when we really think about it. “Oh if only I had a Pepsi right now!” Well, instead of thinking of what you want, why not think of someone else and say a quick little prayer for him or her? Maybe there is someone down the hall who needs your help with something. When I have gained my freedom from the lower nature, I can choose to serve the higher nature. I have sacrificed things such as a spacious house, special food, going out with friends, but I have gained so much inwardly! I am now free from the desires that drag me down into worrying about these things. Now I can be free to serve a divine task.

Omraam Michael Aivanhov writes in Freedom, the Spirit Triumphant, “You have to free yourself, that is true, but in order to limit yourself. You have to free yourself inwardly from all your lower instincts and tendencies in order to bind yourself to something higher, to working for the collectivity. How can anyone who is not free commit himself to a divine task? This is quite obvious to me: those who are not free cannot be very useful because they are busy serving other gods, and believe me, there are quantities of other gods!”
We are like glasses. If I can only hold a certain amount of water, and if I am full of dirty water I cannot hold any pure water. So first I must empty myself, so that I can be filled. If you want to get rid of darkness, you turn on the light! In this one act of turning on the light, you both empty and fill yourself. The darkness goes away, the negative thoughts, worries, anxieties, all go away when you bring in the light; which is love, selfless thoughts, beauty, virtue, etc.

So when I see someone who is busy worrying about when his next meal at McDonalds will be, I realize that this person is bound not to his higher nature, but his lower. Does that mean eating at McDonalds is bad? Not in itself, but the desires that tie us down to these things and keep our consciousness at these lower levels are the culprits here. Does this mean that I think everyone should go out and give up everything? Not everything, it is up to each one of us to evaluate our life and determine if we are serving our higher nature or our lower nature. My goal is simply to tell you what I have gone through in the way of these things, and maybe you will learn something from it.

My family and friends in the states send me letters and emails all the time telling me they can’t imagine how I could live without certain things. “You only get one day off
a week!” “I would go crazy if I couldn’t drink.” “How do you do your ritual work?” “It must be tough to be away from everyone and not have friends to go out with or comfort you when you are sad.” I appreciate all the love and support they give, but I don’t look at things the way they do. I don’t spend my time thinking about all the pleasures of life I am missing. I spend my time working. I spend my time giving out light and love in my thoughts, in my feelings, and in my actions. Sometimes it seems like what I can do is very small, but what matters is not your contribution, but that you contribute. The workers of the eleventh hour will be paid the same as those of the first hour.

So I have learned that I have the ability to exercise the power of dominion over myself. I have the power to free myself from thoughts that keep me tied down. When I have freed myself from these lower thoughts and desires, I become free to serve the higher nature, to serve God. I am no longer busy worrying about when I will get to go home, when I will get to see my family, when will I get to have my next drink, when is the next party, if I will live through this experience, whether or not someone thinks well of me, where my next meal will come from, if I will have sex anytime soon, or any other “worldly” concerns. Instead I replace these thoughts with thoughts of thanks giving, prayers, loving thoughts, acts of service, contemplation, meditation, and simple joy for the beauty of existence and the pleasure of working towards my ultimate goal: the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.

Yours in the Great Work

A Rosicrucian in Iraq

Source plus other letters

_________________
Now burn all your books, including mine. - Sendivogius

Hadrianswall

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Re: A Rosicrucian in Iraq

Post  Jeveran on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:51 am

Erm... i dont know how to put it but somehow i envy him of his kind of devotion. But somehow i think, that this is some kind of dangerous too.

Ive just read the letter, which you posted here, and i dont know, if i will find the time to read the others. So, dont mind, if im talking bullshit. But his kind of thinking but especially in the last part is really dangerous at some point.
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Jeveran

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Re: A Rosicrucian in Iraq

Post  Whitemaleseekingnothing on Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:27 pm

Two thoughts:

First, that's among the most beautiful letters I've ever read.

Second, Freedom is not and can not be an inalienable right; No measure of freedom can come without inner work. "Free will" is not so much something that every person has, but a faculty that anyone, with work, can develop. Not unlike the ability to draw or do math.

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