The Next Chapter of ThyMindOMan.com: Living in the Gift

What’s in store for ThyMindOMan.com? Where have we been, and where are we going? The Gift is being invited into my life and yours, as are some great new offerings.

Friends, last week marked the two-year anniversary of ThyMindOMan.com. My first post was a paper I presented at a religious-transhumanism conference on “The Mystical Core of Mormonism: A Very Brief Introduction.” Since then I’ve been able to extend that introduction to share a much fuller perspective of the mysticism that pervades all religion at its core, and is both the source and goal of religion and spirituality.

And not only that, but we’ve had some great discussions about the deep connections of mysticism with psychology and philosophy and science, even neuroscience, and particularly what has been called transpersonal psychology, going beyond the personal “self,” a burgeoning but relatively new subfield exploring psychology that transcends the ego-self or “person.”

Today I want to recap, let you know what my plans are, and also announce some brand new and unique offerings that I’m launching today that I think will be valuable to many in their spiritual journey on this contemplative path. This is a longer article than typical, but I hope you’ll stick with me. I have some exciting new things to tell you about.

The new homepage graphic features symbols (left to right) from Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Secularism/Humanism/Science, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism/Taoism, and Judaism, together with the central meditative artwork by visionary artist Alex Grey, Theologue.

Over the last two years I’ve shared over 250 articles, blogs, videos, insights, poetry, and essays on these topics, re-translated hundreds of scriptures from the Hebrew/Greek according to my experience, met dozens of new friends along the way through several Facebook groups like Progressive Christian Mysticism, and Meditate with Phil (Philip McLemore), and formed a new group of many of these friends, Contemplating the Beloved.

Just recently I was fortunate to be able to attend The Universal Christ conference with Richard Rohr, who is trying to bring back a contemplative mystical orientation and practice to Christianity through his organization, the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC).

I’ve also become more well-acquainted with Unitarian Universalism and its embrace of all spiritual traditions and people in radical inclusive love, and have often wept in its worship services. I even joined the board of a fellowship called UU Mystics in Community, a group of mystics from diverse backgrounds, sharing in the deeper mystical understandings and approaches of all spiritual traditions. I’ve been helping out with their website, design, and technical needs.

A second paper I presented at last year’s Mormon Transhumanist Association conference looked particularly at the Mormon prophet-mystic Joseph Smith, and his mystical undertaking in producing The Book of Mormon, and how this relates to ancient perennial wisdom, medieval alchemy, Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism traditions, the transmutation-transfiguration-transformation of consciousness, and the quest for the “philosopher’s stone,” which I suggested was the realization of Divinity within.

(If you enjoy this writing and content, please consider giving a Gift as a token of your appreciation and support. I am deeply grateful to you. -Bryce)

Through all of this I’ve thought a lot about what I do for a living. I left my corporate job as an industrial designer in July of 2017, just three months after the launch of this website. And although I have looked for new employment in that field I have been unable to secure a new position. Which might be just as well. Much of industrial design work seems to feed directly into the materialist capitalist consumerist objectifying mass-produced maximized-profits short-term growthism system of our modern society that seems to me now to be quite at odds in many ways with nature and the planet, reason, goodness, oneness, and beauty. It’s not that our economy is all bad; it’s never black or white. I appreciate technology very much. It is enabling me to deliver these words to you now. But I do worry deeply about the excesses of our market system as it is currently operating. And I participated in that system for a long time.

Professionally, I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life concerned mostly with designing swag, free promotional giveaways, plastic objects used for advertising major corporations, many of which likely went straight to landfills to molder for perhaps the next few millennia! I’ve participated in the questionable marketing ethics of compelling people to buy things, objects, stuff they may not actually need, while at the same time contributing directly to polluting nature and the Earth with the highly indecomposable polypropylene plastic, and the possible exploitation of thousands of Chinese people for pittance wages. For this I repent, and I pray that God may forgive me, for I knew not what I was doing. I pray that in my new efforts I may be redeemed, and that I may help redeem what I have done to the Earth, and to its people.

It seems that Reality has a different plan for me, calling me to die to that old and unconscious self, that old creature, and be resurrected or reborn into a radically new Self that is concerned with far greater “things,” and people in particular. As Parker Palmer has written, I’m allowing life to “speak to me” in terms of vocation. I think this online presence and community could be what the life in me is saying.

How did Jesus’ disciples get by?

Have you ever wondered how Jesus, and other such sages and their disciples, lived day-to-day during their ministries? Where did they get their meals? How did they get around? Where did they sleep? Where did they get their clothes? Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son” (Matt. 13:55), so perhaps prior to his baptism he worked in that vocation, fashioning wood into products of genuine utility and hand-crafted beauty, maybe living in Nazareth. But once he began to preach, it seems he was continually traveling from place to place, an itinerant rabbi, healer, radical social reformer, and profound prophet-mystic. But how did he and his disciples get by physically, bodily? Although, as Christians profess, he had divine qualities, he was also very much a human being, with human biological needs. His apostles also had such human needs.

Andrew Harvey

The religious and mystical scholar and author Andrew Harvey shared his thoughts on this in his excellent book Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ. In instructing his disciples and sending them out, Harvey notes this about Jesus in Matthew 10:

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.” Everything the disciples knew or had, they had received from God freely; they should give it freely, and with a free mind and heart, without any thought of recompense or reward, and in the humility and joy of true love…

Jesus also gave his disciples specific instruction as to how they should set about teaching and healing: “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes… for the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:9-10). His disciples were to go out as equals with those they were to help, sharing both spiritual healing powers and material resources with the world, dependent on good will. In doing so, they both symbolically and actually represented the loving, boundaryless, interdependent world of the Kingdom, a world in which all resources, since “freely given” by God, were to be freely shared, and without any special dignity or pride of any kind.

The earliest texts stress that Jesus wants the disciples to eat the food of those they help and to be sustained in this direct way. As Crossan writes: “Commensality was not, for Jesus, merely a strategy for supporting the mission. That could have been done by alms, wages, charges or fees of some sort. It could have also been done by simple begging. Commensality was, rather, a strategy for building or rebuilding peasant community on radically different principles from those of patronage and clientage.” Jesus told his disciples also not to carry a knapsack or staff. Since commensality is not just a technique for support but itself a message, they were not to dress in such a way as to declare self-sufficiency or indeed authority of any kind; because they were apostles of the freedom and interdependence of the Kingdom, they would be signs of courage, total generosity, and total trust. They would combine, as Jesus did himself, itinerancy and dependence

—Harvey, Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, pages 64-65, emphasis added.

This, I believe, is how the gospel, or good news, or dharma, is best taught by those who have experienced the “Kingdom.” Those who have truly experienced its living waters, its gratuitous grace, its infinite mercy, know just how infinitely free this gift was, how deeply unearned it was and is. They (their ego) did nothing to deserve it, earn it, as a reward for good works, or anything else, because their ego actually vanished in that experience, and ultimate reality, the Divine, or God, gifted them this infinitely precious pearl of great price. How misguided and contrary to the essential nature of this Grace would it be to turn around and try to sell it to others! Jesus instructed them to freely give it to others, just as he had given it to them.

Jesus’ apostles (messengers) were not only to teach how to reach and enter the “Kingdom,” they were to embody that “Kingdom” in their living in the world. Their presence was to be that “Kingdom.” In that Kingdom it is realized that the entire world is One interdependent and interconnected whole, nothing being separate or independent from anything else in reality. Not a single being! By their reliance on the good will of others, sharing in their love and generosity, this oneness was directly demonstrated and became a lived reality, not only for the disciples, but for those giving and sharing with them. The Gift brought them together as One.

My Writing and the Gift

The temporary mortal frame known as Bryce Haymond 😉

I feel called to this work. Over the last several years I have experienced deep awakenings and sublime insights which I believe have opened my eyes to rich spiritual realities, and not merely “spiritual,” but the very reality of nature and being itself. What I have written on this website over the last two years is only the beginning of what I feel is flowing through me to share. The breadth and depth of it are vast, and touch on perhaps every other field of human inquiry, including spirituality, religion, philosophy, science, the humanities, and much much more. What’s more, I have felt a deep need in modern life for a renewed focus on contemplative practices and other means for transforming human consciousness and entering into these radically open and loving mystical states of perception, being, realization, and awareness which lead to direct acts of compassion in the world. I feel I can help bring more of that awareness.

I have pondered long about how I can go about presenting my ideas and engaging with the world in helping bring about this change, and at the same time maintain my physical and practical life in this world and support my family, my wife and four children. I have come to realize that my “family” now includes the entire human race, even every form of life, and yet I still feel a responsibility first to my immediate family, to support and sustain them. But I have felt a great uneasiness about “selling” my work here in any way, for the reasons Harvey wrote about, Jesus taught about, and many other wisdom teachers have expressed.

I’ve considered for some time perhaps starting a Patreon account, where supporters of my work and writing, who want to participate in this community exploring and developing spiritual/mystical consciousness, could become “patrons” of it. But this too felt like selling spirituality, and as Crossan pointed out, patronage is really just another form of clientele. I would have to set up various “tiers” of support on Patreon, essentially creating classes (!), where those who paid more would get more and greater “rewards” for their money. That just doesn’t feel right to charge for these teachings, and it would also put a barrier in place between the work and those who could benefit from it, much of it being behind a “pay wall” of some kind. It felt like just another type of market economy, another extension of capitalism, the exchange of goods, and not the kind of “freely give” economy that Jesus taught that messengers should live within.

I have in recent months learned about what is called the gift economy, or gift culture, which is a radical departure from most forms of modern-day capitalism or exchange of goods market. In a gift economy, “valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards… Gifts are not given in an explicit exchange of goods or services for money or some other commodity.” Many people may be quite unfamiliar with this type of culture, as it seems almost completely alien to our predominant form of value exchange in modern society. But we may get glimpses of its beauty around birthdays, and holidays like Christmas. In it we simply and freely give to one another, without expectation of recompense or reward, and out of pure love. Sound familiar?

This Gift Economy

So I have decided to begin practicing a gift economy around this work. And I have already been practicing it. I have already freely given away all of my writing and translations on ThyMindOMan.com, which if printed could be nearly four 300-page books! I wanted to give this away freely. I feel I have been graced with insight to share as widely as possible, and I felt that printing this on paper, bound on the shelf, or hidden behind a “pay wall” of a monetary charge of some kind, would not do it justice, nor do the good that I see that it can do. I want the ideas out there, as open, and available, and accessible as possible. The Internet itself is a gift to us all that makes this kind of open sharing possible, and yet we still hide many thoughts and ideas where only money can see them.

And so I live in “the gift,” sharing the Gift, giving away freely all that I write, make, and do to others, without explicit recompense or reward. I have come to know, through direct experience, that we are ultimately One, that we are not actually separate, and so I don’t feel like I am really giving this to “others.” I am really giving it to the Self, the greater Self that includes all people as One. And inasmuch as I give myself away to this divine One, I feel a greater sense of Love for and identity in that One. I am learning to love my neighbor as my Self, and as I do to others I do to the Self, and at the same time, this is loving God, the Divine, Reality, the One. The two great commandments are really One. I have shifted from seeking “how much can I take from the world? how much can I make and build up me and myself?” to rather “how much can I give?” and “what unique gifts do I have to give?” and “just how fully and freely can I Love?”

A gift economy is usually not one-sided. The opportunity is offered, and the invitation extended, for others to also give, to enter into the gift economy themselves. This is what Harvey seems to have meant by Jesus’ disciples being dependent on good will and generosity. The messengers gave freely of themselves in teaching and sharing their insights, and bringing acts of compassion to them, and others gave freely to the messengers so they could live, usually in the form of direct sharing of their resources, such as the eating of food together (commensality), welcoming them into their homes to stay, giving them shelter, water, clothing, or other forms of direct living support. This is how they survived. They lived in that Gift of oneness. It wasn’t about purchasing things, selling wares, making profits, keeping possessions, transacting, accumulating wealth in a scarcity mindset of value exchange and building up ego as much as possible, etc. It was about establishing relationships of giving, of compassion, providing opportunities to love, expressing gratitude, and experiencing total trust and faith in the abundance of the world and of God. Giving drew them out of their illusory separate self into the reality of the unitive web of oneness and interdependency.

I deeply believe in this spirit of the Gift. All of us really already live in this Gift, even if we aren’t aware of it and/or deny it. Our lives are fundamentally a gift, given to us freely by something far greater than our egos. We didn’t create us, our bodies, our lives, no matter how much we might think we did; something else did it, gave it, graced it. As Charles Eisenstein writes (in a book which he also gives freely in a gift economy):

Remember, separation is an illusion. We can choose to live in that illusion or to deny it, but the basic reality that life and the universe is fundamentally provident cannot change. Life itself—our human lives—is a gift. Our lives, our talents, our abilities, our privilege to be human are given to us, and like all gifts they are not to be hoarded. They are not to be devoted, like the capital of classical economics, to the endless increase of me and mine, but must be passed on lest they stagnate and decay.

Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity, chapter 7

And as I wrote about previously from the theoretical physicist and mystic Albert Einstein, he once said:

A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe.” He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace.

So I too will continue to live in, and not deny, this Gift of Life. I will nurture the illusion of separateness no longer. I will continue to give away freely my gifts, my talents, my abilities, my insights, my perspectives, my writing, my creativity, my vision, my time, my work, because it is really not mine. It flows through me, but I (ego) am not its source. So I give it to you. I give myself to you. All of it. And I will invite readers, friends, and visitors to this website, to also freely give and enter into this gift economy, this gift community and culture.

But because we typically cannot eat together in commensality since we are likely not living locally to one another, and you might not be able to directly support me by other means (if you can, that is wonderful and will be received with gratitude), I will gratefully receive gifts in the form of financial support. In this way you may provide sustenance for my life in food, clothing, shelter, warmth, and to my wife and four children. And I promise you that is what it will be used for. I will be dependent on you, and your gift, as I continue to give to you. (Please know that my wife is pursuing full-time work, so our family won’t be relying entirely upon me to provide.) And, of course, you are also welcome to read my writing and participate in all of my work without giving anything, if you choose. It is yours. It is a gift.

In Unitarian Universalism they have a great short hymn which expresses beautifully this gift culture:

From you I receive,
to you I give,
together we share,
and in this we live.

Freely Received, Freely Given

And I really do mean I am giving my work away freely. I’m licensing all of my work on this website under a Creative Commons BY-SA license.

This means that the work I’ve created and will create is free to display, copy, distribute, use and re-use, build upon, change, and share, in any way, as long as there is attribution (even Paul attributed his words), and any transformed content is likewise distributed under the same license. Yes, the work may even be used for commercial purposes, as long as attribution is given, and derivative works carry the same license. This is actually the same license that Wikipedia uses for its content. This is also considered a “Free Culture License,” which means you are free to use the work itself, free to use the information in the work, free to share copies of the work, and free to share remixes or derivative forms of the work. The free-culture movement has an ethos of the free exchange of ideas which enhances human creativity and life, which I think pairs very nicely with the gift economy, as the gift economy illustration above notes.

How You Can Give a Gift

At the end of my articles and content I will include an invitation to give as I have given. I’ve put together a very fast and secure way to send a gift to me by debit or credit card. You may enter in an amount that you would like to gift (even just a few dollars is a gift), and click a button, which will show a simple payment window on the screen where you can then enter in your card details. It really all takes less than a minute. You will receive a receipt of your gift by email. It will look like this (and this button is functional, too):

Some fine print: This website uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate (see the secure lock icon next to the website address in your browser’s address bar), which provides 128/256-bit encryption when you submit your card information. I don’t store any of your card information, and it is processed independently by a highly regarded payment processor (Stripe).

If you’d prefer to use PayPal to give a gift, you can do that as well here. Or if you’d like to give in another way, or set up a recurring gift, please reach out to me here.

Why do I not establish a non-profit organization like a 501(c)(3) so that these gifts are tax-deductible? I might. But that takes time, and I do have some reservations about it. I do not want gifts to be given merely because they provide a tax break or tax deduction to the giver or the receiver. That can obscure and taint the meaning of the gift. Non-profits are also barred from engaging in certain political activities and activism, which I may want to do for important issues in our current political conditions, and I could be prevented as a non-profit from doing them as I understand it. For these and other reasons, I’ll have to give that more thought.

My Qualifications…

…are not given by this world.

As you probably already know, I do not have any “official” qualifications to write about spirituality or guide seekers. I do not have any formal credentials, training, certificates, degrees, diplomas, seminary experience, or ordination to ministry from any person, organization, church, academy, university, or institution. I was not told by anyone that I could now teach, that I now had this “authority.” There are no “black robes of a false priesthood” here. It’s not that I think that all those who study dutifully for years to get and wear such robes and ordinations are all imposters. On the contrary, many of them I believe are very good humble wise people, who do extraordinary good work. But I am also aware that many of them may not personally have contemplative or direct conscious experience in Spirit, which it seems to me may be indispensable in guiding others to these deeper dimensions of Spirit.

In the past I was a missionary and ordained to the high priesthood in the LDS Church, but I think that was quite preparatory and not directly related to the consummate mystical insights I later experienced, and I’m not considered “ordained” in any denomination now. I am not a professional scholar in academia, a historian, or a great learned philosopher. I don’t have any letters before or after my name. That is not what I believe qualifies me to write about mysticism, spirituality, and consciousness, or help guide seekers on their spiritual paths. And I think that may be a very good thing. I am not beholden to anyone, or any organization, and so I can freely and honestly and genuinely speak my mind without any kind of artificial restraint or institutional concern, from my own personal experience of Spirit and mystical Divine consciousness. That, of course, doesn’t mean I won’t continually seek for more “knowledge” where applicable in helping to articulate my experiences, and develop further my contemplative abilities to be a better servant to you.

I believe what does qualify me to do this work is simply the Grace of direct mystical experiences in the depths of Divine Spirit and Consciousness which I’ve had on many occasions in recent years, which have completely reframed my earlier and more rigid views on spirituality and religion, and even integrating them with science and nature in a universal cosmological and interspiritual perspective. I believe I’ve had that nondual vision, that experience of oneness, that at-one-ment, which many spiritual seekers are looking for, that is the hope and meaning and goal of human life, and the source of all goodness, beauty, and truth. It is the direct awareness of the Divine, Spirit, God, Love, or Ultimate Reality. And since I believe I’ve been there, and I try to live from that conscious presence, I think I may be able to help others in their journeys along “the Way.”

Current Content

As I noted above, this website currently contains the equivalent of nearly four 300-page books worth of writing on a variety of subjects (noted below), or over 300,000+ words to be more precise. This actually surprised me when I looked up the stats. I didn’t realize how much I’ve written over the last couple of years! Of course, it is not the kind of carefully curated, polished, referenced, source-checked, peer-reviewed, edited, and published writing that you might find in mainstream published books, but I do think it is still of great value. It is my raw, uncensored, stream of consciousness, spontaneously inspired, flow of words, of which I’ll say again, I don’t feel I am really the source. I feel there is a much deeper Muse or divinity that has spoken through me, from deep within me, that has inspired me, and I can’t take the credit for this. I have been a conduit, an instrument, a mouthpiece, and it has been filtered through me, through the structure of my mind. I feel I’m helping put words to the same truths which have been spoken and written about in many ways for ages, but perhaps in a newer and more accessible modern form.

As a reminder of what is currently available on the site, you can access my writing by going to the Blog page, or “search” by a specific word in the sidebar or footer, or by going to the manually categorized Topical Guide page. This links to everything that I have written on these subjects. These topics currently include Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Commercialism, Confucianism, Consciousness, Death, Ego, Eternal Life, Evil, Faith, Fall, First Visions, God, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Knowledge, Language, Love, Meditation, Mormonism, Mortality, Mysticism/Mystical Experience, Nature, Original Sin, Philosophy, Poetry, Pop Culture, Psychedelics/Entheogens, Psychology, Religion, Resurrection, Sacrament/Eucharist, Science, Scriptures, Second Coming, Spirit, Taoism, Temple, True Self, Truth, and the Universe.

I have also translated several hundred Judeo-Christian scriptures, according to my insight, mystical experience, and understanding, which I think may help bring to light some of the deeper mystical meaning hidden in them. I call this the Bryce Haymond Translation (BHT), and you can read more about it here.

New Offerings!

To show that I am committed to this endeavor, this site, this community, this mission, this contemplative path, this journey we’re taking, and that I’m committed to all of my readers and friends, some of whom have already been so very generous to me in the gift, today I am launching some brand new features and offerings on ThyMindOMan.com, more gifts from me to you, that I think may really help complement the writings, and I think may even be far more important than the writings.

As I’ve said before, whatever we say about the Divine in words is never it, it only points to it, and so the words can be quite fallible, incomplete, and imperfect. They are only about the Divine, but never the Divine itself. The words are never the absolute Truth, but only point to it, and they can sometimes be very misleading and confusing, particularly when we discover they are not absolutely true, but often metaphors or relative truths. We can get so caught up in words and ideas that we may fail to directly grasp the Truth that the words point towards. And this is can get very heady and intellectual, deep into complex philosophy and historical problems. We can easily get very lost in the weeds of all the theories, theologies, scriptures, historical figures, ideas, doctrines, books, etc., and we lose sight of where it all comes from, the origin of all spiritual ideas and concepts. We lose sight of God, the Source, Reality itself, and coming to know God or Ultimate Reality directly through our own direct experience.

Just today I came upon this quote from Trappist monk and contemplative teacher Thomas Keating (1923-2018):

Thomas Keating

“When you say God, you don’t really mean God. You mean your idea of God, or, to put it another way, you mean God as not-God. I say that because whatever we say about God is more unlike who God is than saying nothing. And so, where do you begin? Well, all that words do, all that dogmas do, all that doctrines and rituals can do for us is to point in the direction of the mystery, of the super-meaning of God. … It’s a mystery, and a reality at one and the same time, and so this warns us that we have to be prepared to expand our idea of God in ways that are more and more inclusive but less and less articulate. … So, nothing could be more elusive … and yet nothing is more present or fundamental.”

The source of all wisdom is found deep in consciousness itself. Nothing is more real than your own consciousness, Divine depths of awareness and being itself, which can only be accessed and known within your own self, through direct experience, deep in your own inner reflection and insight. Nothing can substitute for this. Nothing! We may draw near to God with our lips, but our hearts may be quite far away. One way we can change that is by becoming silent with our lips (also known as “shutting up”), and turning our attention inwardly to our “heart” through traditional contemplative practice such as meditation, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, and similar practices, to become aware of the true nature of being, and of the consciousness in us. It is really consciousness becoming aware of consciousness. It seems so simple, and yet it can be so difficult to experience. It is only through such inner work that we may truly come to be aware of Spirit, of the Divine, of God, of Reality, of the true nature of ourselves in this cosmos, as this Kosmos as Ken Wilber says. As the ancient Greeks and Egyptians inscribed on the front walls of their temples, “Know thyself and you will know the Universe and the Gods.” They knew. It is all about experiencing the Divine, knowing God, not merely talking about the Divine, or knowing about God. This is a key that many people never consider in their entire lives!

Meditation Room for Daily Contemplative Group Practice

ThyMindOMan.com’s Meditation Room header photo, a Japanese Zen tea room

For this reason I’m happy to be launching today a Meditation Room on ThyMindOMan.com, a place for dedicated group contemplation or “Temple of Consciousness,” if you will, where anyone who desires to deepen their awareness can sit together in group meditation with me on a daily basis via live video, to practice with one another in a communal atmosphere. Many of us may have meditation or centering/contemplative prayer practices at home, individually, but there is a power to regular group meditation, in meditating with others, which can’t be found in solo meditation. Some of my greatest awakening experiences have been when I have sat in silent meditation with a group of people over an extended period of time in retreat. There is a great power in this kind of communal presence, in sensing one another’s presence, in being silent together, which can’t be found otherwise, which is perhaps what Jesus meant when he said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). The group nature makes a significant difference.

It might seem silly at first to meditate silently online with others, since our eyes are usually closed, and we are focused inwardly. But knowing that there is the presence of others with you, of friends who have joined with us to meditate together all at the same time, who we can actually see have joined us, I think makes a real difference. And doing it via live video I think can make it seem almost like you are in the same room with the others.

But because we don’t all live near each other, and we sometimes don’t have a group of people who want to meditate near us to meet, it can be hard to find a group to meditate with. With the technology of the internet, we now have tools that can make it possible for us to meet together easily from any location in the world. So I’ve built a page that will act like a real “meditation room,” where those who visit it will instantly enter into a group videoconference with each other, simply by visiting the webpage. There is nothing to install, and nothing else is needed. Of course you’ll need a webcam on your computer, and a decent internet connection (which most people have today), and the first time you visit the page you’ll need to give the site access to your camera/microphone, but then every subsequent time you visit the page, you’ll be instantly transported into the room with other meditators. I’ve never seen anything quite like this done for meditation before, and I hope it works well. To leave the room, simply close the page or click to a different webpage.

My current plan is to sit daily at 8:00am ET / 5:00am PT for about 40 minutes of silent meditation, with perhaps a few minutes of discussion and open reflection afterwards of thoughts or questions that came up during the sit. Yes, daily. I think this kind of disciplined, continual, daily practice is critical for the opening of awareness. Anyone who wants to join with me is welcome, for however long you want to meditate. If that time doesn’t work for you, please feel free to use the room at another time, perhaps with other friends who would like to meet at that time. The “door” is always open; simply visit the page. I only request that you respect the space as a sacred space.

Face-to-Face 1-on-1 Friendship Room

ThyMindOMan’s Friendship Room header photo, two comfortable chairs in a Japanese Zen tea room

I have had several people reach out to me over the past couple years, wanting to talk privately about their spiritual lives, to ask questions, to share their journeys, to receive advice, to simply communicate their struggles, heartaches, concerns, frustrations, to explore religious ideas, and to try and understand things better and make sense of things, or were trying to improve their contemplative practice. There are so many today who are walking through dark nights, and they often have no one to walk with, particularly in these deeper questions about God, religion, the nature of reality, and life. Religion, ironically, can sometimes create much trouble for people, and they want a listening ear of one who has been on the road they are traveling, and can walk with them on it.

For this reason, beginning today, I’m also going to offer spiritual friendship sessions with whoever would like to talk with me. Sometimes people call this a “spiritual direction,” or “spiritual companionship” or even “life coaching.” But I prefer just calling it simply being a spiritual friend, someone who you can simply talk to about your spiritual life, which is really just your life. It’s not counseling or therapy. It’s simply an opportunity to talk with another person about your spirituality, and I can ask you questions and share ideas with you that may help along the Way. Ultimately, the purpose is to help us both to reach down into ourselves to touch our true Self, our divine Soul, the essence that makes up our Reality.

As the great Christian mystic and monk of the 20th century, Thomas Merton (1915-1968), said:

Thomas Merton

“Spiritual [friendship] is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.”

“The whole purpose of spiritual [friendship] is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what [Christians] call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely supernatural (spiritual) thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”

Similar as the Meditation Room, I’ve created a Friendship Room on ThyMindOMan.com where I can meet one-on-one together with those who would like to talk about spiritual matters, face-to-face. It works in a similar way as the Meditation Room. You simply visit the page, and you enter in automatically. But in this case, since the conversation is private, the room will be password-protected, and I will give you the word to get in. You may consider it a secret word or new name. 😉

Please contact me if you would like to set up a time to talk. If you’re not comfortable with face-to-face interaction, we can talk over chat or email. I’m here, and I would be happy to chat with you about your life and spirituality.

Submit a Question for a Post

…and ye shall receive.

Sometimes friends have written to me, either by email or on Facebook, to ask about my perspective on a particular subject. This is often the inspiration for an article. Many articles on the website began in this way. A question about a spiritual subject has often prompted fresh insight into a particular subject and I have gone to meditation and contemplation (prayer) to allow an answer to come to me. Questions can often be a great source of deeper spiritual understanding, inspiration, and revelation as we search for answers. It is the search that matters, as no “answer” we can formulate in words will ever be ultimate, final, or absolute. It is an interpretation or translation of experience, nothing more.

I want to formalize this “asking” a bit more, and so I have provided a “Submit a Question” feature on the site, where anyone can feel free to ask me anything, an open-ended AMA. That page is for submitting questions to me that I may either answer by email reply, or by writing a new article for the site. You can give me your preference. You may also ask me questions anonymously, if you wish, so that you can breathe easy if you are asking a very sensitive question or don’t want me to know your identity for whatever reason.

Submit a Scripture for Translation

From the original Hebrew or Greek, but being inspired by contemplative consciousness

Similar to the above, I want to provide a way for anyone to submit a scripture reference that they would like me to translate for the Bryce Haymond Translation (BHT). I don’t believe the scriptures must be translated in only one “correct” way, but there are potentially infinite shades of meaning in them, and require continual translation, re-translation, and re-interpretation, and I think there are many deeper mystical layers that I try to bring to light in my translation.

So I now have a “Submit a Scripture” feature on the site, too, where anyone can ask me to translate a Judeo-Christian (or Mormon) scripture, and I’ll add it to the BHT. You can submit other holy texts or spiritual works, but I can’t guarantee I will have as much insight there. You may even ask me to re-translate scriptures I’ve already translated, because each time I do it, something new seems to come out of the process, new meaning is unveiled, new possibilities are explored, new light is opened to our understanding.

Other possibilities

As I continue to build this site and community and to receive gifts to enable me to do more, there may be many other opportunities for activities such as more in-depth group discussions about mysticism, spirituality, or religion (which may be a natural extension of the group meditation), group Q&A sessions, group book study, book reviews, a podcast, videos, in-person retreats or group gatherings, books, poetry, meditation courses, testing and reviewing alternative means of transforming consciousness, etc. There are many things we can do, if they may be helpful to people on their spiritual/mystical path and contemplative life and coming to the highest of spiritual realizations.

My Witness

I know a man in Christ who two years ago this Good Friday was caught up in the highest “heaven” of nondual unitive at-one mystical consciousness. It was definitely still in a body, but who was in the body I, Bryce, do not know. Only God knows. And I know that this person—who it was I, Bryce, do not know, only God knows—was taken back to the Paradise of Eden, and knew things which are absolutely ineffable, which are simply impossible for a finite mortal human to speak or describe in words.

I will glory in that Man, but I will not glory in myself, for I have many weaknesses, faults, and imperfections. But if I did glory in what happened that morning, it would not be foolish, because I would be speaking of Truth itself. But I hold myself back, so no one will think I am very high or mighty or great, but will see me for what I am, in what I do and say, even though the revelation was sublime.

So to keep me from becoming conceited or being inappropriately exalted by others, the thorn of the ego was given back to me in my finite mortal self, the angel of “Satan,” to buffet me again, so I don’t get puffed up. I couldn’t understand why it had returned, and I sought contemplation again and again, to take it away, take everything away! But there came an insight softly, deeply, into my heart which said, “My Grace and Loving-Kindness are enough, even for you, yes, you. For the power of God is accomplished entirely through imperfection and weakness.”

So I will celebrate even more my weaknesses and frailties, so that the power of Christ consciousness, this non-dual mystical Love and Oneness, may live in me continually. This is why I have come to fully accept and embrace as the Way of Reality that I have imperfections, that I can be hurt, that I have anxiety, that I receive criticism, and that I still experience deep suffering, all for Christ’s sake living in me. It’s when I am weak that I am strong.

(See 2 Corinthians 12)

Conclusion

That was a long post! So thank you for hanging in there with me to the end. You know what they say about those who can endure to the end! 😉

I’m grateful for this next chapter in my contributions and engagement with you on ThyMindOMan.com, for this gift economy, for the Gift itself, and for the opportunity to expand it into more interactive and community activities which will help me get to know you all better, and perhaps you may get to know each other. I deeply hope we can evolve more community, and love each other more deeply all along the way with compassion, openness, trust, faith, truth, goodness, and beauty. I pray that you will participate with me in this journey as we together walk the contemplative mystical path of interspirituality and consciousness, that we can help each other directly realize the Divinity in us, and explore how these are interrelated and reconcile with science in our postmodern world.

If you have friends or family that you think might be interested in walking this path with us, in exploring these different facets of mysticism, consciousness, and science, please share this post with them, and help them become part of this community with you.

I look forward to walking this path with you! Yes, You.

4 thoughts on “The Next Chapter of ThyMindOMan.com: Living in the Gift

    1. Thank you, Amy. And thank you for the gift you are, and your generous gifts! I would not be where I am today without you. You are part of my journey. You helped me become what I am, and where I am, and who I am. You were there. You participated. You loved. You were and are an angel. And I will always recognize that Angel in you. Namaste, Beloved. 🙏

    1. Hi Steven! Thank you. I am happy that we are wrestling together with this angel in ourselves. It’s a real battle sometimes, but I think we can endure it if we do it together, as One. Thank you for your participation, and including your voice in this conversation.

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