I had to write this tonight because I am feeling really, really smart.
Like, I’m getting good at life.
But beyond stating the obvious, something lighthearted has been a long time coming – to myself and my writing. Yeah, that winter of 2014 took a long time to thaw – but, thank the 6 god, spring is here motherfuckers (Samuel L. Jackson voice).
If there was such thing as an apology letter – please understand that I write my exes Poems – then this is the antithesis of it. But I am not here to flex my ego; although, it’s not an entirely bad idea; you see, like any hyper self-aware and intelligent man with a hint of integrity, by my late twenties, my ego had become my arch nemesis – a foe whom I avowed to avenge my misery on.
And let me tell you, there is nothing like a major break up, followed by self-administered entheogenic therapy, to kill the ego. I mean, I murdered that motherfucker (Lawrence Black voice).
In the wake of my ego, I became obsessed with my own humility, which, ironically, is actually a terrible case of narcissism in itself – albeit a more unconscious one. But in my desire to become uber-humble, I became infinitely small. Dreams, ideas, feelings – everything – was atrophied. In hindsight, I cannot believe what I had become – and in honesty, it wasn’t the winter of 2014 that froze my soul like Winterfell, it was the winter of 2009.
But today, I am a long way from Seattle, and for the first time: glad.
Defeats are the one thing we will become anything in order to escape. And I did, I became the picture of defeat; in my effort to hide, I hid in plain sight from myself.
But this is life. I smile on it now.
I smile because my ego has finally emerged from my shadow. From the dark night of the soul, to the aftermath and through the entire Jungian alchemical process, I have been through the Heroes Journey.
Welcome home Lawrence Black.
In my twenties I was a lot of things I wasn’t. But I see now that I also wasn’t a lot of the things I was. Yes, I have been reading lots of Zen literature (I recommend D.T. Suzuki to the uninitiated – Watts is for space cowboys).
I have also been reading the Upanishads, “Which contain some of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism.” – to save you a google search.
And – like everything else in my life has and always will – these texts have come to me at exactly the right time. Yes: this Western boy’s mind is starting to tilt heavily on an Eastern axis.
However, I am not writing this to espouse my evolved views, but – holy fuck – let me tell you, there is no better way to shake off the weight of Christian guilt in the collective unconscious than to read some shit written way before that shit was even a fucking thing (Sam Jackson voice).
I am constantly reminded today that a man’s beliefs are only his theories. Well, I got theories too bitch! (Law Black voice).
But returning to the Upanishads, they have shown me an entirely new way of thinking, of being, and of living a “spiritual life”, which is to say: a life in which one feels themselves worthy of having their own theories.
As Steve Jobs – a spiritual guy himself – said:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
And, as I recently quoted, I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.
But those words from a movie – they really didn’t resonate with me the first time I watched The Departed – they really didn’t mean anything until I came to understand that Steve Jobs’ words held so much more weight than their logical and aesthetic appeal. It is only now that I see just how trapped I was by other people’s thinking – my own included.
But now, I get it. Yup, this could be us.
No, it is more than that: it is the Ego which took me here. Full circle.
Yes, I have vilified and called my ego 24601 for a long time; I have trashed the ego as wonderfully as the Gurus taught me to.
But, let me tell you, I was wrong. Whoops. Sorry life. Sorry Lawrence that I fucked up the last four years of your life (Save for Shannon, who is the greatest woman I have ever dated – love you Bunny).
But yeah: I was oh so wrong – but it’s all good. It was my path. Love your fate, as I always say. And I am not mad at all now that I see what a salty motherfucker I was (Kenny Fucking Powers’ voice).
And like the Upanishads, this re-emergence of the ego (As spoofed excellently by Kenny Fucking Powers.) has arrived at the right time in my life.
And to thank, I have Brahman and Atman, as well as Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Marie Louise Von Franz’s writing on the function and value of the ego.
One sometimes feels that the unconscious is leading the way in accordance with a secret design… this creatively active aspect of the psychic nucleus can come into play only when the ego gets rid of all purposive and wishful aims and tries to get to a deeper, more basic form of existence. The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. – M.L.V.F.
These three things – the concept of the Self as taught by the Upanishads, Ayn Rand’s heroic picture of the ego in Anthem, and Jung protege Marie Louise Von Franz’s understandings on the role of ego in individuation – have given me an far greater, more absolute understanding of my ego, and myself, than I have ever possessed (Well, excepting before I knew what my ego was and I again then had a healthy one). But this is now.
I was a fragile creature playing strong from 25 through 30, living in a glass castle, naked and afraid, but no longer – and I am not sorry that the emperor has finally seen his reflection; I just wish someone would have told me what a terrified little asshole I was.
I know, I didn’t listen.
But hey, I just gotta laugh at it now.
And to really flex my ego like a human being with my DNA at this point in space and time should: I really feel whole; I feel complete. I will even go so far as to say that I have reached what Jung called individuation.
To quote C.G. Jung:
To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality in fact is.
Yes. All that dying I did down in the rabbit hole I spent the last five years of my life in (Save for some of the rare moments when I was actually happy, thanks in large part to B.S.W) paid off.
I made it. I know who I am.
Note to Jung fans: like the synchronicity with the Kenny Powers’ soundbites in that song? (See prev link dickhead).
P.S. As Jung wrote: “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.” And now that my ego has joined the living again – joined to a healthy and cleansed soul – I have eyes. And I see the beautiful young girl who adores me, and I see my success this month, and I see myself happy – every single day.
Lawrence, SKW, friends, family: I am sorry.
In conclusion: I am no longer just an asshole – now I am a reborn one. In my defense, it is so much better to be an asshole than to be miserable.
To thine own self be true.
p.p.s., I recall a dialogue between therapist number one and I (Back in the pre-Seattle days, when I picked therapists based on their looks), in which I said to her that I believed myself to be ‘slightly narcissistic’, to which she replied, “Yes Lawrence, all highly successful people are.”
Maybe, maybe not, but I would rather be a happy narcissist than a fucking dickhead.