All, Poetry, spirituality

This Lovely, Sacred Road

Without faith,
We find ourselves
Again and again,
Always forgetting what’s mortal –
We living, breathing, hoping beings
Artists and lovers, who
Having examined the world,
Declared it gross, inhumane
Rather insane really –
All this chasing
Greed, separation, ego,
That veil of worth,
Hardly worth defending
Inane inward judgments, reflected back
And fear, because you can’t run a society unless the people in it are afraid
But we’d all love something unlike this society entirely –
Only, we’d never know what it is
So we call this fucking scummy, capitalistic shit happiness,
Each of us taking life on the chin,
Again and again,
Never really living
But dying all the time,
Treating one another with suspicion at best,
Few of us ever owning up to our lives,
Or the one side taking us over,
Light or Dark – but rarely whole
Shades of something,
But never committed,
That puer provisional life,
When,
If,
And of course, existential dread,
Because smart, and fucking A –
Have you seen Christian Middle America?
Seen some on Fox, at a neighbors,
And all over this fucking white mountain town,
Its residents, particularly the aged,
All so smug, so decided –
But that’s besides the point
I’m halfway through life – 31
And this shit has been for far too long,
Not fun,
And sometimes, really ugly –
That hole I punched in the door haunts,
And bill-collectors lurk, haunting too
But I DGAF because I can’t afford to –
And thus isn’t a declaration of anything,
A blame on relationship –
All women who have loved me deserve sainthood –
But, rather, this is just a human being,
And perhaps an intelligent one,
Declaring that I have too much soul for Atheism,
Too much destructive foolheartedness,
Too much childhood grief,
For disbelief
Because I need something to pray to,
An energy field to commune with,
Something to make me moral, good
Better, at least, than my sins
Those marks I miss,
The lowering of consciousness
The denial of my status as a mind
Because I am capable of breaking my own heart,
Letting myself down entirely
But that’s not all that’s inside of me
I just need the light to see
To be me,
In a world gone mad
Families all sad
Self-loathing moms and dads
Cads,
Players,
Runners,
Fakers – oh and of course “haters”
Because you are so, like, important bro
Yeah, fuck those haters
Fuck Bitches Get Money
And Cash me Oussside
That’s rich –
These fucking baboons: humans
Religions and wars and never really knowing anyone other than those who approve of you
And divorce too,
The new death and taxes
But she and I are just orphans,
Still fight like cats and dogs,
Still cogs, grinding and churning,
In the chaos of this violent, sick machine
All of us neglecting the human,
In favor of some invisible archetype that moves America –
Some fucking young, rich, white asshole couple,
Persons we wouldn’t like but want to be like
And I hated when my parents said we were rich,
But there exists no poverty in my soul other than want,
Comparison –
Whiter teeth, nicer muscles, fewer wrinkles,
Harder, bigger erections,
So we can fuck the illusion of who we are into someone else,
Look at my worth, oh fuck, I’m gonna cum
But even I jerked off to a young french maid today,
Had sex three times today,
Needed to cleanse my mind of all the dust –
Watching my neighbor die,
Pills and late stage alcoholism,
Grown children he doesn’t know,
And at the end of the month,
Out of meds, no more Norcos,
Forced to turn to street drugs –
No religion,
No love,
No warm, sticky, juicy ass –
Fuck me you little maid,
Smoothie shop girl,
Petshop girl,
Yeah, I have crushes
But then I don’t follow those illusions down
Because they are shattered –
I am such a fucking human,
I like to smoke pot
When I drink, I drink too much
Then we both wake up sorry –
But there are no kids yet –
I’m barely even a fit parent for my own inner child
Fucking A,
I never knew how hard it was,
Just to genuinely like yourself
Just for two people with genuine, abiding love for one another to make it work
To withdraw your projections,
And see through your own masks,
And to proclaim your sorrows, your sweet sorrows, pains, for all to see
Asking, society, please support me –
Wanting nothing but to be an artist,
In a day and age,
When part-time, minimum wages,
Aren’t even livable –
And fuck the working class anyway,
You secure, self-righteous assholes!
Conscripting us all to it
And I haven’t seen the inside of the best buy in eons
Could barely afford ikea food –
Excluded by virtue of poverty from a lot of even just like basic friendships –
And why? Because I am a motherfucking writer
But it’s not as simple as just:
Accept poverty, take stupid job, tiny apartment, write
Life is complex,
“My whole youth was sharper than cleats”
And
I’ve had three failed businesses in the last year
Life didn’t get easy,
But there is no escaping me
The fact that I cannot live without god
Am unable to even be a decent, functioning human
And it’s not for rules,
Guilt never worked on me –
I am entirely ineligible for the Judeo-Christian gods –
Fox news watchers,
The lot of them
But I believe in a sentient, conscious energy,
And just for fun,
Let’s throw in my DMT fairy godmother of the soul watching over me –
My religion
A Gay movie of the week (No prejudi)
And me, wanting to feel
FAB, great
or, at least, loved
By myself,
Those I admire,
Not forgotten by the universe,
The one soul,
Reduced to life as pleasure in a hell
All because we are too fucking scared,
Afraid to decide,
Once and For All
Who we are –
Our relation to the big bang
Accepting that the world will turn on,
Largely ignorant, perhaps forever
Because humans are intrinsically plugged in, connected
Not to one another but to this fairly shitty matrix,
The degrading, decaying pull of economic demands –
But who the fuck can own the energy,
The land,
The airwaves,
Your loyalty
Your days and your life,
Just to shit in a toilet everyone else shits on,
All shitting, corporate persons, millionaires too
Just on nicer toilets than you,
And perhaps, not having to hold it in,
While the next person, whom you do not like,
Shits
And is probably in an unsatisfying relationship,
Or just life as a whole;
Person, please rate your experience of life:
‘Um, well, it has its moments’
And tell us:
What do you do for fun on your planet:
‘Get drunk, fuck,’
‘Pretend we aren’t all shitting on the same toilet’
Or, you are likely completely content –
Your car,
House,
Clothes,
The person you fuck,
Toilet you shit on
All some extension and advertisement of your success;
For society loves nothing more than the smells of youth, and beauty,
Consumerist as fuck
And we’re all conscripted
Because we weren’t born in a village;
In the fucking US of A,
You better figure the fuck out what you’re gonna do,
Just to keep the lights on,
Human sustenance being the chief concern of our day,
Not art,
Not love,
Not the transcendent richness of inner landscape; soul
Nah fam: wifi
You gotta have wifi
How else to jerk off,
Be entertained;
Hell, the world will not even provide you with basic thermodynamic regulation;
Shelter is insanely fucking expensive;
Income despairity is real;
Life is an overgrown high school,
Our president a fucking jerk off, ass hat
Oh, and pardon me if you disagree with that,
Yeah, he is a real noble man, sure
And the most popular guy in highschool was a specimen of human dignity too;
But life is lived like that;
Even quantifiable in social capital,
Likes, follows
What the fuck is this world even;
Get me out of USA;
Great country but also really fucking fucked;
The American being firstly, king jerk off;
Because morals are dead but religion somehow still thrives;
Fucking gutless, poor following bastards;
But it’s all in the name of god lol
Spare me the rod of clergy,
The doctrine of judgment;
I’d prefer wholeness,
My own religion;
With some super dope, poly threesomes
And art, sex, music being the chief forms of worship;
For my religion offers no personal god;
Just the all;
The field;
And not that verbal taint cunt brand of:
“Pure Potentiality”;
But something like that of an ideal village;
Inclusive yet respectful of human folly;
Working to reduce suffering in each individual;
Having Com-Passion;
With pain,
Thinking about health, food, shelter,
Before national fervor;
I’ve nothing but pity for those immigrants;
Their countries more torn, ravaged by dogma than our own;
But it’s all wretch and no vomit;
Because culture is a machine
The grinding, gnashing teeth;
Obsession with celebrity over virtue;
Not morals but virtue;
The ironic confession of a hedonistic, repressive collective
Vegas, baby, Vegas
Life: Get fucked like you want while pretending you care about other things;
But I go all too easy to nihilism;
Man, that savage beast with a noble soul:
Least moral of all animals
Mortal and obsessed with trivialities;
Blind to all realities but our own;
When we just want what we want:
Universe: let me write
Girlfriend: be sweet, nurturing, love
Family: thanks for accepting me,
No thanks for having left me to break this chain on my own;
Life is tough, this we know;
And I want to feel connected to something outside of this carnal carnival;
Something beyond;
Love beauty truth;
For I have suffered too much in not following the dictates of the soul entirely;
Now it declares:
Feed thy spirit, most noble poet;
Taste the fruits – yet
Follow a code;
Live with dignity,
Coloring beyond the lines;
But walking one,
Not breaking rules,
No harm, no malice, no bad “isms”
Where is that universal moral code;
Ethics speak to this;
But ethicists know they only observe,
Witnessing the carnival:
And all I want is her love;
My love;
Health;
Writing;
Peace,
A calm, serene soul;
A life before I am old,
And something more to behold,
Than my lonely juxtaposition before this absurd, mad, lost world
In my next life,
I want to live in a universe of my own making;
A world that protects my illusions;
In this Maya, this curious, callous thing,
The one that ate my dad and is eating my neighbor;
The nightmare of a faithless life;
And not simply a yes answer to the question of a personal god
But a working relationship with a transformational energy,
With religion as the myth for interpreting this relationship,
Albeit gone terribly wrong;
For when the Curate does not curate,
The souls of the parish die on the vine;
And I can no longer live without the divine;
The ever present energy for good:
Love –
Only love requires faith, hope,
Charity even – the com-passion with suffering
For life is tough,
And the tangibles of this plane simply aren’t enough;
So let’s figure this out –
Our prime task as humans consisting in the discovery and founding of our own religions;
The inner myths we need to make sense of this thing;
For I am no king,
Just me,
Person who doesn’t want to suffer;
Person who loathes religion and needs god,
The divine substance,
Love;
For nothing else will ever make sense of this crazy, fucked up world;
So find your god,
And if she doesn’t exist:
Invent her;
Because you need the connection to a force;
Something greater than your own illusions of importance;
You ungrateful, scared little man;
Taking the love for granted you do;
You must plant that love;
Cultivate it;
And nurture the light;
For life is a difficult test;
But it needn’t all be a fight,
A struggle,
A long-road, running from loneliness;
That barren city in your soul,
Which begs for trust
Begs to be walked, hand in hand with your Beloved
The lonely shores of dreams,
Begging you to exit your head;
For they are all places in the heart,
Begging to be tread;
And yes, life is a scary, I know
But to live through the heart,
This is to know:
What you are;
Who you are;
And possibly, why you are here;
And the godless alternative is hell,
The separation from light;
The metaphor for that never ending noche negra de su alma,
Cuando todo esta mal y feo
Pero, you have this other option,
This lovely, sacred road
It only requires you think with heart and live with soul,
Releasing yourself from the prison of ego,
And living, Connected to the all, as much as anyone else,
And comforted by a field,
That is yourself,
Here and there too;
But never fearing,
For you are awake to all the divine in you,
And you can feel that life has meaning, purpose, sense, passion, love, spirit –
And no matter how far you feel from this,
You’re always right there,
Near it,
Centered,
Calm,
Serene,
Loved.

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All, Journal, Philosophy, Prose, spirituality

Ranting on Those Bastard Collective Neurosis: Religion and Spirituality

I’m not going to lie: I have spent fifteen minutes attempting to open this entry. 

Here goes nothing world, Lawrence Black now contributes his metaphysical phislosophies to the pithy sum of all religious and spiritual thought. Godspeed, Sir Black. 

That, unfortunately, was the best I could do. It is difficult to write about your spirituality: in a sense, it is akin to explaining your very philosophy of life – like who can do that; I view both spirituality and religion to be a kind of neurotic thing best kept to oneself. 

It was Pablo Neruda who described religion as a “collective neurosis”, which I just loved, because, to me, religion is essentially a complex like any on this list. Perhaps even the most complex of all complexes; I mean, we aren’t just talking mere narccicism or incestual fantasy – to cite two common complexes – no, we are talking imaginary being in the sky who sees you masturbate.

Now, just calm the fuck down Murica – we know you love your Jesus and your Trump – I’m just saying, in my opinion, that religion shit is fucked up. 

How – I don’t know – try this: try and imagine you care about things like equality, reason, free will, and science. And if you don’t, well, then religion is perfect for you. 

Not that I don’t find moral, intellectual, and literary value in various world religions – I have a good two feet of bookcase occupied by them – they just aren’t valid philosophies of life for me; in short, the collective neurosis of religion is not my cuppa. This, however, does not mean I don’t think man has a soul, or that there isn’t more that just the physical universe;  I have, after all, smoked me some fucking DMT. 

#thatshitkray

Point being, there is definitely a spiritual aspect to my life – and by spiritual, I refer to pantheism, synchronicity, psychedelics, intuition, the unconscious, love, dreams, the imagination, mythology, and the bigger workings of my sense of destiny, which guides me; however, I try to stay as far from spirituality as possible, and by spirituality I mean that other collective neurosis that we call “New age”. 

You’ve know them: those annoying suburban-troglodytes who seem to live by the mantra of “See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil”; unless of course, the topic is GMOs or The Ego, which they, of course, themselves, do not have – on account of, you know, being so spiritual and shit. I am satirizing, but I really seriously hate these fuckers. Okay maybe not really, but I don’t like that spirituality has, in a sense, become just another religion, full of it’s own dogma, only, it’s not Jesus and God but consciousness and the divine.

Now, I realize that the entire point of spirituality is having your own experience; however, I see a lot of “spiritual people” having what seemingly amounts to the same experience. Hell, go to any Whole Foods and you’ll see many of those spiritual types practically have the same lives. 

I’m ranting; but, for me, what it boils down to, is that religion and spirituality ultimately provide limiting paradigms for my model of consciousness; for that is the only point of these things: models for life. Sure, Jesus is one – if you want to worship your Dad’s favorite son who died nailed to a cross because you are a born in sin piece of shit who wants to live in guilt before you burn forever or go to heaven, who knows. 

I’m entertaining myself, still ranting, but I have written this far because I want and deserve my own model, where I can live from my spirit and my soul without saying all is one, or even believing in an afterlife. 

I forgot who said it, but the quote goes something like, there ought to be as many religions as there are people. 

And I agree. Because if my God doesn’t exist, he should. 

What, you didn’t really think I was actually going to tell you what I believe, did you? Maybe in a part 2. 

Postscript:

I recognize I made a bit of a semantic argument about spirituality, without outlaying any actual ontological views, which is fine; however, I am really hoping after my next slumber, I awake inspired to map out something akin to my own spirituality – even if only as a record for myself as thirty-one years old. After all, my spiritually has evolved for as long as it has existed, and it will continue to for as long as I do. Just remember: the moment someone else has all the answers, you are the sucker. And I, for one, would rather risk manufacturing my own illusions, than to blindly follow another’s. 

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All, Meditations, MyFavoritez, Self-Actualizing, spirituality

Meditations Session Ten: Trusting Life and Going Into Fulfilment Through the Care of Mind, Body, and Soul for Happiness and Love

Preface

This week was trying on account of two factors. Firstly, I turned thirty-one. And, for me, birthdays always cause me to step back and evaluate my life in a very objective, measured way, which is something I typically don’t do in my day-to-day life; however, when you reach a milestone, such as a birthday, you are forced to say: “This is my life at thirty-one”. In short, my birthday arrived with a sobering tinge of inner melancholy – because hey, I’m not a billionaire yet and nor do I have my Nobel. A terrible shame, I know.

Secondly, Sarah left town for a week-long work trip, so I was faced with our first real separation, which was not unbearable; although, it had its moments.

So, I’m not crying woe is me or anything, but like any human, I live my life according to my hopes and dreams and fears.

As I said, it was a trying week – but the time alone was good, as this entry evidences.

What follows is a series of notes I took after meditating last night and choking down a small but vile dose of an ancient, sacred plant medicine.

Like all my meditations, these are verbatim, with any added notes in italics.


Meditations Session Ten: Trusting Life and Going into Fulfilment Through the Care of Mind, Body, and Soul For Happiness and Love

Note: I am not objective around others.

Just ask your authentic-self: is this healthy?

Forgive your mistakes, learn from pain; do the alchemy when your soul is in pain.

You need to learn from your pain, your mistakes, your habits.

Levels = evolution. Level up. Get comfortable.

Write the rules for your life.

Return to principles.

Life: likes vs. dislikes. As an activity to become more familiar with the self.

Keep life simple [Only the necessities.] This was inspired by the teachings of Epicurus, who advised his students to live life according only to the necessities of their well-being.

  1. Coffee
  2. Walk
  3. Breakfast
  4. Meditation
  5. Planning
  6. Work
  7. Lunch / Read
  8. Walk or Gym
  9. Work
  10. Dinner
  11. Walk
  12. Journal
  13. Read
  14. Meditation / Sleep

Sundays: Coffee shop / plan and review

Note: Withholding approval = power over others.

Don’t hold any thought the divine self doesn’t.

Think about how harshly you judge yourself (ego / judgements).

Practice non-judgement and loving-kindness on yourself.

Love is our highest word and the archetype for Love is God.

What we all need is Love, and most all of our problems arise from going about getting it in the wrong ways.

We have to embody our own God: to be the dad we didn’t get, the best friend we never had.

We have to be able to look to ourselves and trust ourselves.

All you need to be right now is the best 31 year old you. The rest will follow accordingly and work out too.

You have to not only trust in the future, but the past as well – [Honor Your Past]

If you’re gonna trust the future to deliver you from your past, you need to trust the past to deliver you to your future.

No one else can love you but you. They [people] make flattering mirrors, but ultimately we see only ourselves, our perspectives in them.

Quit looking in others for the mirror. For you can only see what’s already inside of you.

Reflect on the energy you want to feel in return.

You’re worthy of feeling great about yourself all the time.

If depressed, return to principles (Read your meditation notes).

Rest your mind, remain calm inside yourself.

Be calm: pure consciousness. Hold a calm, relaxed gaze, then follow your body’s physiology.

A spiritual life gives you the faith that your intention will manifest.

Faith = power of the Will.

Faith can only ever be in the self.

Confront fear and dispel it moment by moment, as it arises.

Ego is not an enemy of God / Spirit.

Ego is not an enemy to faith, only to reason [Which absolute faith requires]

Don’t monitor the conversation in your head so much as stop having one.

If a man is to know himself, to live an intelligent life of reason, he must be willing to deduce from his feelings his beliefs, and from his beliefs pure reason, so that his habits and actions will follow.

To trust yourself is to live your own truth. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. – Emerson

To trust yourself is to trust the will of life.

To attune to your inner intuition is not just to know how you are feeling in a given moment, but why.

You’ve gotta like yourself in order to be happy.

But you’ve also gotta be happy in order to like yourself. Welcome to the paradox of life you have lived in. Now live happy.

Love is the key to happiness and happiness is the key to love.

So, self-esteem = Love? Self-esteem = trusting life. It has brought me this far, this close.

Trusting life = being fully in the present moment, without fear, without judgement.

Being in the present moment = being happy and grateful.

Happy and grateful come from living well. Think well. Be well.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

Think well and be well.

Beliefs.

Believe in yourself.

Pure rationality.

Believe

Believe in yourself.

If you don’t, life’s going to be very hard – as it was.

You don’t need a God to believe in yourself. You just need to trust life.

And to trust life you just need to believe in yourself.

Life’s very scary if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t trust yourself. It’s terrible.

You have free will. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Because a belief in a God won’t save you, but a belief in yourself will.

Trust you are here for a reason, and that you are perfect for the reason you are here.

Trust you haven’t suffered in vain.

Trust in Love.

Believe in Love; that is God; not the religion; not the creator – but the reason.

You’re here to Love.

This is what you are made of. Love.

You are not God. You are Love. God is perfect (Divine) Love.

You’re here to learn that. To live that. To be that. (Divine Love).

You’re day-to-day life should be designed to maximize the love you experience.

To have loved is to have lived.

And you are entirely worthy of abundant love.

Live it. Give it.

The Universe sends the Love you give back to you as happiness.

So too, the Love you withhold comes back as fear.

Choose to love rather than fear yourself – your existence, for they are one in the same.

“Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irreprehensible, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable, even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of one and the same thing. The synchronicity phenomena point, it seems to me, in this direction, for they show that the nonpsychic can behave like the psychic, and vice versa, without there being any causal connection between them. ~ Carl Jung, “On the Nature of the Psyche”

Also, this: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/07/your-thoughts-do-not-create-your-reality-stupid/

also, this: https://www.livealifeyoulove.com/buddha-knew-law-of-attraction/

Most people fear life because they don’t trust it, and we fear what we do not trust in.

Fear comes from not trusting in the eternity of the soul; fear comes from being attached, from the idea of loss.

And I don’t know what is next, but I know this life isn’t permanent, so there really is nothing to fear.

“I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.” – Ayn Rand, Anthem

And it’s our thoughts that shape our experience of reality, our highs and lows.

So we should think the thoughts of the reality we desire to experience.

I am calm. I am comfortable. I am at peace.

Because all we ever have is now to experience it.

So match the thought to the feeling, the feeling to the action, and the action to the desired feeling.

There is a reason humans have thoughts.

So we can feel our experience with them.

And if you don’t believe that you control your thoughts and feelings, then you don’t trust yourself.

So trust yourself. Trust your experience of reality, but also understand that you are the creator.

For if you didn’t believe your thoughts had any influence, you would’t listen to them.

So why do we listen to our own thoughts?

Well, some of them actually feel really good.

It’s the thoughts that don’t, which make us unhappy, that trouble us.

So why do we continue listening to the thoughts that trouble us?

Because the mind – the unconscious – where thought is processed and translated into feeling, this mind does not distinguish between good and bad thoughts, happy and sad feeling. It just feeds the thought into the unconscious to be processed.

The filter is the conscious mind. It’s where we have the ability to say yes or no.

And this filter follows the dictums of the soul, where the will resides.

However, we lose touch with our souls, our wills, and we become slaves living unconscious lives.

We must endeavor to live consciously, healthily.

We must care for our bodies and our souls if we are to have happy and healthy minds.

And that choice is ours.

So go to that yoga class together.

And if you don’t have someone, go alone, and you may meet someone.

That’s why we’re here after all: Love.

So why don’t we love our own minds, bodies, and souls more?

I suppose we don’t always make that a priority.

We don’t understand the mind, body, soul connection as the ancients did, that and or we don’t value our minds, bodies, and souls more.

Why? We value other shit.

Why? Because society has told us that feeling cool is more important than feeling good.

Why? Money. Pleasure, unlike fulfillment, is marketable. Because pleasure is instant, whereas fulfillment actually takes time.

But pain is here for many. And humans would rather feel good than bad.

So they make unhealthy decisions, whether it’s eating or drinking, and these things ultimately cost us our wellbeing.

So what must we do?

Love ourselves more. Care about other shit less. Or at least realize how important lifestyle is to happiness.

Because if we aren’t choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, we are screwing our happiness.

Which no rational person would do – were they not living in a society that places other things above happiness.

Because in the modern world we live in, you can buy pleasure but you cannot buy happiness, because happiness comes from the fulfillment of our thoughts (Into their physical reality).

And you can pay for some guru or life coach to tell you this OR you can just know it to be true in your heart.

But maybe your heart has been silenced by a mind and body too tired, too out of tune to connect to the soul and listen.

So RAISE YOUR VIBRATIONS !!

Maybe it’s surfing. Maybe it’s Yoga. Diet, water, exercise. Basically being a healthy human that gets into flow, that lives an actualized life.

Which, you haven’t been entirely… (Or much at all)

So step your game up.

Quit limiting yourself like a fucking retard idiot.

So choose to love yourself in your thoughts and resultant lifestyle choices.

Choose to trust that you’ll make it through not only without those unhealthy crutches, but because you went without, because you choose to nourish your mind, body, and soul out of love rather than fear.


Post Script

It’s only by the providence of synchronicity by which I have become the man I am today, and I have no doubt that at thirty one these lessons are precisely what I need to take my life to the next level.

Looking back, I see that when I lived in a manner that followed the habits of happy, healthy people, I too was happy and healthy. But, of course, our vices are a great comfort to us, whether it be junk food or junk substances, and, as I have outlined above, I think these things cause us to numb ourselves, and consequently numb our connection to our souls, our inner will, where the directng voice of consciousness resides.

It’s not by coincidence that spiritually actualized people live healthy lives and value their minds, bodies, and souls. Lord knows that someone who is relying on the comfort of their vices is by no means happy. They’re just afraid of losing that comforting crutch because they are in pain and they want a solution now, but it only makes it worse and actually perpetuates as addiction.

As the ancient maxim goes, the mind is a terrible master but an excellent slave; however, we must remain conscious in order to have mastery of our minds. We must be able to direct ourselves from that inner voice of the will.

I know after this experience that I absolutely must take care of my mind, body, and soul in a manner that allows me to remain connected to my inner voice.

And I know modern life doesn’t revolve around these things, but it’s your fucking life. Start living it rationally, for nothing is more important than your health and happiness.

As the ancient Stoics believed: virtue alone was sufficient for happiness. I finally understand this at a deep level. Lord knows, I already knew that vice alone was sufficient for misery.

In short, trust life. Trust yourself. Love yourself. And care for your soul. That means physical practices. You don’t want to live life like a lab rat, addicted to fats and other chemicals. That’s not wellbeing. That’s comforting your fear with pleasure, rather than trusting life and going into fulfillment.

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To Thine Own Self

I recently heard a well intentioned, albeit misattributed quote in a film, about how families always rising and falling in America. 

Perhaps this was more true in the days of Natahanial Hawthorne, who wrote in The House of Seven Gables of the Maule family as:

“…generally poverty-stricken; always plebeian and obscure; working with unsuccessful diligence …”

So too is the fate of many who are born and die in my day – and if not poverty stricken then debt stricken, and most certainly plebeian and obscure in their unsuccessful diligence. 

The American Dream is the idea of rising up from obscurity – from plebe to proprietor. This is the theme of many a musical. How ironic that those who pretend to live in a casteless society dream of rising above their own. 

Of course, not everyone wants or even believes in such a story for themselves. Many simply want more than they grew up with, which, ironically again, is precisely what their parents wished for them: a better life. Now, whether better means having a different emblem on your automobile, or simply having enough every month, well, this is something that follows according to each individual’s family history. Funny how ambition so often works that way. 

For me, I would dare say I am not in contest with the past, for there is no contesting; we had nothing. My scorecard is thusly not against the past but against the time and pressure of those who I wish to have as peers (More on that [peers] in a moment).

Were I a different person I might find myself content to remain in my present station in life, as one who has the ability to successfully get by according to the American standard. But, thank Caesar, I am not; however, I cannot deny the difficulty of rising above ones station. People are like crabs in a bucket: eager to pull their own kind back in as soon as one attempts to make a way out. 

Emerson wrote, “A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.” How sadly true this is, as anyone knows who has ever lost friends according to growth. As water seeks its own level men seek their own kind; for man is, by and large, the average of his closest friends. So it is, our peers define us more than we know, and – for better or for worse – a man’s peers are his equals.  

And to what end this game amongst the choirs of our friends is played, well, this, my dear reader, is up to you. You may be a weekend warrior or your own hero. And you may moralize and rationalize your reasons all you wish, but beware you do not deceive yourself. There is not much satisfaction, in my experience, in living the kind of life in which one lives in secret discontent. It’s a kind of false life where nothing seems right. 

And maybe this is all arising because I am thirty, the age in which, in the words of Albert Camus, a man takes his place in time. 

Likewise and during every day of an unillustrious life, time carries us. But a moment always comes when we have to carry it. We live on the future: “tomorrow,” “later on,” “when you have made your way,” “you will understand when you are old enough.” Such irrelevancies are wonderful, for, after all, it’s a matter of dying. Yet a day comes when a man notices or says that he is thirty. Thus he asserts his youth. But simultaneously he situates himself in relation to time. He takes his place in it. He admits that he stands at a certain point on a curve that he acknowledges having to travel to its end. He belongs to time, and by the horror that seizes him, he recognizes his worst enemy. Tomorrow, he was longing for tomorrow, whereas everything in him ought to reject it. That revolt of the flesh is the absurd. – Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

So it is, the fire beneath my balls, so to speak, has been lit. 

Emerson too writes of a similar realization, whence a man must take responsibility both for what he is and  who he wishes to be. 

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance: that imitation is suicide: that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion: that through the wide universe is full of good, no kernal of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. – Emerson, Self Reliance 

And here I sit, almost thirty one, knowing that what I am to be rests in my hands. 

Not the world, nor my family can ever – nor ever has – applied any pressure for me to be any certain thing. 

Besides, externals do not motivate me. After all, you may find amongst any number of successful men myriad reasons for their accomplishments in life – as you too may find excuses for failure as vast and varied amongst their counterparts. 

I can safely say that none of my known forebearers lived exceptionally successful, satisfying, nor contented lives. Why this is, well, it might have something to do with being Irish, but I would argue more it has something to do with the guilt and shame passed down upon the people by the church, which, in my opinion, was only ever established to produce and control obedient slaves. 

This may seem offhanded reasoning but I view consciousness as a sort of computer in which the highest commands are followed. Of course, I do not mean to say there don’t exist highly successful religious persons, but I neither suppose my ancestors were quite fervent in their beliefs – merely oppressed by them. 

It pains me we are not raised to be the heroes of our own stories but, rather, are raised to worship martyrs. 

Now, whether any of this makes a modicum of sense to anyone outside of myself or my Sarah, I care not. This blog is my blackboard and I shall do as a wordsmith does in formulating his own equations. 

Nothing against Jesus, I have no doubt he was the most awesome hippie of his day, but I was not born in sin, nor shall I die of it. 

As I recently read, religion is for those who believe in hell, spirituality is for those who have already been there. 

I’m just saying, you make your bets as your have and live your life as you will, but I will make my paradise on earth. 

And to that end, what motivates me?

The answer to this my friend, has nothing to do with good or bad, which, I suspect, is what stops many from ever following their bliss. All I know personally, is that they who live most truly in the shadow of guilt will never find their deliverance. Repression is the passage and pathway to hell. And no, I’m no hedonist – but I am far less of a Stoic than I have been in past years.

And this is merely called evolution. 

I will always be a Stoic, carrying forth the mental fortitude imparted to me by such philosophers as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, but to allow a single school of thought to rule over you, be it Catholocism or Liberalism, this is a crime against your own mind. 

I was taught to be objective and to think for myself by a wonderful psych professor, and that torch was set ablaze and further carried forth by a book I read this past year. In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Garner tells the story of how he was invited by a friend to attend a seminar, in which he found the teachings both demeaning and manipulative [Read my other entry on the same anecdote, here].

As he [The author] goes on to say: “That little experiment proved to me that I didn’t need other doctrines to enlighten me. But Bill kept on searching.”

The author then tells how that same friend (Bill) went on to follow a charismatic leader to Jonestown, where eventually he and 900 other followers drank cyanide laced kool-aid in what is know today as the Jonestown Massacre. 

Not that your pursuit of enlightenment – be it in Yoga or Jesus or Buddah – will end as tragically, but what’s to say some don’t give their lives up to someone else’s teachings just the same. 

I recognize I have digressed a bit, but to return to my point, I will say that in a perfect world there will be as many religions as there are people, and I should hope they might find themselves as Gods – not to worship, but to believe in. 

If you are not the hero of your own story, after all, what the fuck are you?

What do you believe in? Goodness and beauty and truth? Welcome to the club, but I’m sorry, those are not absolutes.

Under those same auspices countless people are persecuted and killed, as they have been by churches, doctrines, and other crusaders for millennia. 

You must find your own way. 

To grow up and gemnate your own goodness, beauty, and truth, you must realize that no one has the answers but you. 

And do some need religions and doctrines and leaders as moral guides? Perhaps. The ruling class thought so for ages. 

Today I think that by the virtue of the Western justice system (Something that will continually improve as it has) and via the effectiveness of the collective consciousness via global media, people have found new guides, new benchmarks for behavior. These, of course, largely serve capitalism rather than the individual, but the point being, the old gods are dying. Now, sadly, also I also think the inroads to the soul are passing along with them, but for me this is where spirituality picks up the ashes of religion, and the individual can – in many ways for the first time – live as the only the individual ought: freely and happily. 

Everyone believes in something – everyone worships something. 

As David Foster Wallace said in his famous Kenyon College graduation speech, This is Water:

The only thing that is capital T true is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship…

Because here’s something else that’s true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship-be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles-is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things-if they are where you tap real meaning in life-then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already-it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power-you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart-you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.

Unfortunately, the speaker of these words had fought a decades long battle with depression, which ended when he hung himself, but he had a point. 

The problem is – I think – is that we worship what we are externally programmed to, rather than what we are internally aligned with. 

Personally, I worship experiences that either make my heart sing or my balls tingle a little bit. Things that make me happy. 

How this works out for me, history will tell, but I am happy and I am free. So, as it stands at thirty and 98% of thirty-one, I would say fabulously. 

And to close, I will honestly say that I have written this pretty much entirely for myself, but should it resonate with you, I implore you to find those things that make you happy, other opinions be damned. 

To thine own self be true. 

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The Young Actuals

12924416_1156070307750254_1734732197348032226_nThis is me; having realized that no matter how much of a writer, hippie, or bohemian I am, I am also a guy who enjoys success in business.

After all, you wouldn’t want someone else to judge you through a single lens or label, so why do it to yourself.

You are not this or that. You are whole. And to recognize the parts of you that exist seemingly in direct opposition to one another is the essence of wholeness.

The trick to happiness and inner peace, for me at least, is living in a way that holds the opposing parts together – not neglecting one or the other, but living in a way that honors both the billionaire and the Buddhist in me.

The Young Actuals of this world are those who understand that freedom is not meant to be wasted living a mass produced life in which we are at best imitatable – and at worst: miserable imitations.

For the Young Actual, to fear what others think is suicide; to envy others: insanity; for we believe in our own originality, and in the quiet intuitive knowledge that God was always only ever an archetype for man.

And, tired of living with the results of backwards myths, we have no Gods but our highest selves.

Our religion: the private experience of living a personal myth.

Our existence: a creative rebellion in which art is once again made loyal to man’s interior truths, through which the invidvidual once again hears her own inner voice.

For we are not products of the collective, but the producers, and the stewards of consciousness itself.


Young Actuals ethos inspired by Ayn Rand, Albert Camus, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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A Case of Narcissism: in Defense of a Reborn Ego

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.

But it is so much more than just coming full circle after gaining compassion for myself, having seen life more objectively for the first time.

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.

But, it could’t have been any different.

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.

With Love,

Me

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.

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Bubba Grew Up, Amen.

I’ve been working on another entry lately, spending the past few nights near the water, before bed, turning over big deep metaphors, trying to communicate the wisdom of hindsight, having made it out of the deep Dark Night of The Soul. But really, I’ve just gotta say:

Amen.

I breathe now to center myself. Big, deep, slow breaths. Wow. I am in awe.

I made it out of something I never thought I would. And there’s no asking why we suffer now; I have never been more free and light in all my life. 

Before, I had my cake – but now anything of the sort would merely be the icing. My world has become so much bigger now that I’ve found peace and happiness in myself. In this new lease on life I can eat my cake and have it too.

I am man: world unto himself. I’ve no girlfriend, no kids, not even a crush. I am completely free and following my dreams. I guess this is the tale of a recovered co-dependent, but I’ve found more than independence; I’ve found my identity; to quote J.K. Rowling, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” And at thirty I’ve finally forged a solid identity, founded upon my own rock bottom. I now have complete security in myself, complete confidence and faith in who I am.

I no longer live under the shadow of my own self-destruction as I did for so many years. I guess you could say I’ve made friends with my own worst enemy. I’m now a conscious parent to my own inner child, and he trusts me, secure in the knowledge that I will never again look for someone else to love him for no one can ever love him like I do.

I’ve had to come to terms with myself in order to be whole enough to love him. And he’s had to grow up too.

Yes, there are monsters in the closet bubba; and I their master, and they are healing too. It’s you and I and the ghosts – friendly as Casper now that I’ve accepted the depravity in them.

The launch codes are finally out of reach, safely left in the past, where they belong. And I Thank the Gods every single day for this Grace, making sure the spirit satisfies what the flesh never could.

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On Religion as a Bridge to The Soul

“If the person doesn’t listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life, and insists on a certain program, you’re going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off-center; he has aligned himself with a programmatic life, and it’s not the one the body’s interested in at all. And the world’s full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.”

– Joseph Campbell


Reflecting, as I often do, I can today see how spiritually and psychologically unhealthy I was in a time now gone. How fortunate was I for the adversity that delivered me to a place dark enough to find hope.

I’m reminded of the Latin root of the word adversity: adverture; meaning: to turn towards. For it is only when we face what ails us that we may grow beyond it.

Adversity is not transcended or surmounted but moved through like a dark mountain pass. Denial, avoidance, repression, self-deception – these only ground us in the uncomfortable place, fating our gaze upon the mount; for whether we choose to recognize the splinter in our eye or not, it is there, showing itself in the myriad of complexes and ways a human being can choose to suffer and hate.

However, those dealt adversity often create problems rather than face what they feel they cannot; and often, the struggles a person faces are engendered as outlets for pains they find inadmissable – pains lost in the chasm between the mind and the spirit.

As a result of this gulf in the heart, man is cut him off from his inner world. Diagnosing the ills of the soul is then seen as a mental problem, addressable only through therapy or self-help. There do, however, exist other doctors for the soul, we just don’t believe in them anymore.

The priest and the church once provided a doorway to the inner world and the sanctum through which a man could live life connected to his soul through a higher power; however, the institution of religion is growingly dismissed as nothing more than a dogmatic farce, instituted to control the ignorant populous. Unfortunately, it happens to be an effective one.

The name of G-d has been wielded to enshroud evil in the name of good since biblical times, but the cost of blood spilled and enemies born under the auspices of religion has been the destruction of a bridge to the sacred for many. Unable to perceive the inherent good of something so historically detrimental to man, we’ve chosen rationality in favor of an evil we no longer wish to tolerate in the 21st century. And rightly so.

However, in recognizing the evils of religion in it’s ability to inspire ignorance – as seen in wars and the beliefs that so doggedly divide the human tribe – we are quick to dismiss it in its entirety. As a result of this turning away from G-d, we are shunning something, which, at the personal level, has enabled man to better face his inner battles since before the wheel.

It’s logical to buy into the intelligent argument posited by Carl Sagan that primitive humans invented Gods so we could explain the unexplainable, things which science has now given cause to (think lighting and famine); however, such an argument dismisses the value of intangibles like hope – the only thing a man with nothing left has.

Beyond hope, ritualistic tools such as prayer and worship of the sacred provide humans with an active and cathartic relationship with the soul, which we may call G-d.

How few of us dialogue with the inner world, which as modern psychology has discovered (the subconscious and unconscious) so greatly influences our thoughts and behaviors.

I’m merely thinking aloud here, sitting on the sand at night typing this on my phone, but on my own journey I’ve found spiritual health and as a result I am happier and more at peace than I’ve ever been. My adversities are no longer a cancer, setting wildfire to my life, but, rather, they are the weeds that show me the root issues I need to attend to in order to grow so that I might maintain wholeness in the face of the constant change of life.

Carl Jung believed that there was no neurosis that could not be cured by adopting a religious outlook on life. I too share this belief. And I worry that, regardless of its timeless effectiveness, this solution may be growing increasingly inaccessible as religion’s validity in the collective consciousness continues to decline.

I worry because I think that – again echoing Jung – man needs religion. At least, to achieve the unshakable inner peace I have today, I know I do.

I’m not advising you to look to religion for your soul to be saved, but I am asking that you consider the spiritual as a means of rescuing your soul from exile – for to live cut off from the soul is to live deaf to an inner voice that’s begging to be heard – often in the most painful and eventually effective of ways; however, some may have to wait until hope is all they have left.

It’s not by coincidence that I used to pray only when things got terribly bad or that things no longer get terribly bad. I ascribe this power to the soul as much as to a G-d. To me they are one in the same, the bridge leading to eachother.

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A Bridge Unburned

Venture down
Leave no stone unturned –
Imperfect as it is,
Look for the bridge unburned

You can’t go back,
But you may meet in the middle
One day, ten thousand suns away
Whole,
… As you never were before


I continue to grasp my fortune after its end, but I hold nonetheless to what remains because when it’s over we are all changed but something stays that has taken root – something to learn from, to grow by.

For as long as we live the prima materia of our life deepens and it’s in the memories and experiences of the days and years lived, in the things that no one can take, where we find the substance of our lives. It’s only in the darkness of one door closing that we can see the light of the next.

I don’t mean to be esoteric, but language has its limits. Feelings, on the other hand, eclipse the vocabulary. This is the secret and the mission of the poets since time eternal.

Feelings – not emotions – are the language of the soul. In these stirrings, our feelings, is a constant happening, a compass, always showing us the way.

However, rare is the man who hears the bubbling wellspring beneath the sound of his thoughts. And rarer is the one who dives into it. Usually the ship sinks and if he does not go down with it; if he is willing to die at sea, he begins to live.

It’s taken me nearly thirty years to become fully alive and only in this discovered sense of living have I found true and total fulfillment. Previous to now, I was insensate to the satisfaction I desired, incapable of knowing true and sustained peace.

The soul’s wisdom does not leave a stone unturned, a question unanswered; it’s the voice of what I might call a God, or, perhaps, the receiving set for one. Having attuned myself to this Source, I don’t think I’ll ever find myself without the guiding light of the soul’s intuition again. Once you’ve been lost in the sea of life, scared and in a terrible way, fear either grows or loses its power completely. It’s only in bonding with the soul through which the latter is possible.

But this wasn’t just some sort of upgrade downloaded from the angels on high. I emerged from the cave I feared to enter with it. And the dark night of the soul may yet again visit me and Saturn will no doubt return, but I’ve earned a gilded armor in the same way a caterpillar becomes winged: through chrysalis, the mashing up of life and the destruction of form giving itself as fuel to the birth of another.

Before the phoenix raises from the ashes, he is forged in them, he burns.

Pass through the fire I say, go down the rabbit hole. For it’s only by courage we become brave. And it’s only by searching for the distant shore you can feel in your bones that you find the bridge unburned, the road back home.

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Passages: Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In 1955 a forty-nine-year-old Anne Morrow Lindberg (Wife to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh) spent two weeks alone in a New England coastal cottage, where she penned her thoughts on aging, relationships, solitude, being a woman, and caring for the soul. Sixty years and three million copies in forty-three languages later, Gift From The Sea remains a highly relevant work of inspirational literature. Lyrical prose and uncommon insights elevate this book above the genre.


Copyright 1955, Pantheon Paperback Edition, 1997

The heart’s desire for grace

“I want to give and take from my children and husband, to share with friends and community, to carry out my obligations to man and to the world, as a woman, as an artist, as a citizen.

But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible.

I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and the inward man be at one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

– p. 23


The Balancing Act

“For life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels with it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head. Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now!”

– p. 26


The Contemplative

“How desirable and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint – the inner inviolable core, the single eye.”

– p. 29


Shedding the mask of insincerity

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”

– p. 32


Grey hairs and cobwebs

“The unfinished beams in the roof are veiled by cobwebs. They are lovely, I think, gazing up at them with new eyes; they soften the hard lines of the rafters as grey hairs soften the lines on a middle-aged face. I no longer pull out grey hairs or sweep down cobwebs.”

– p. 33


Our fear of being alone and the vacuum of our inner life

“We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. Even if family, friends, and movies should fail, there is still the radio or television to fill up the void. Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone any more. We can do our housework with soap opera heroes at our side. Even daydreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. We must re-learn to be alone.”

– pp. 41, 42


Spiritual isolation and the wilderness of the mind

“For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too.”

– p. 44


Among the most important times in one’s life

“Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life – when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when one is alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.”

– p. 50


The problem of the stirring, hungry soul

“The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact, the problem is how to feed the soul.”

– p. 51


Feeding the center

“Nothing feeds the center so much as creative work, even humble kinds like cooking and sewing. Baking bread, weaving cloth, putting up preserves, teaching and singing to children, must have been far more nourishing than being the family chauffeur or shopping at super-markets.”

– p. 53


The Kingdom of Heaven

“Men, too, are being forced to look inward – to find inner solutions as well as outer ones. Perhaps this change marks a new stage of maturity for modern, extrovert, activist, materialistic Western man. Can it be he is beginning to realize the kingdom of heaven is within?”

– p. 58


On relationships, and refinding oneself

“With each partner hungry for different reasons and each misunderstanding the other’s needs, it is easy to fall apart or into late love affairs. The temptation is to blame the situation on the other person and to accept the easy solution that a new and more understanding partner will solve everything.

But neither woman nor man are likely to be fed by another relationship which seems easier because it is at an earlier stage. Such a love affair cannot really bring back a sense of identity. Certainly, one has the illusion that one will find oneself in being loved for what one really is, not for a collection of functions. But can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love? Or even in the mirror someone else holds up for one? I believe that true identity is found, as Eckhart once said, by “going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself.” It is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. One must lose one’s life to find it. Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some of creative activity of her own. Here she will be able to refind her strength, the strength she needs to look and work at the second half of the problem – the neglected pure relationship. Only a refound person can refind a personal relationship.”

– pp. 68-69


Rediscovering the double-sunrise

“One way of rediscovering the double-sunrise is to duplicate some of its circumstances. Husband and wife can and should go off on vacations alone and also on vacations alone together. For if it is possible that a woman can find herself by having a vacation alone, it is equally possible that the original relationship can sometimes be refound by having a vacation alone together.”

– p. 70


One-and-only, moments

“For not only do we insist on believing romantically in the “one-and-only” – the one-and-only love, the one and only mate, the one-and-only security – we wish the “one and only” to be permanent, ever-present and continuous. The desire for continuity of being-loved-alone seems to me “the error bred in the bone” of man. For “there is no one and only,” as a friend of mine once said in a similar discussion, “there are just one-and-only moments.”

– pp. 72-73


The fallacy of the permanent relationship

“One comes in the end to realize that there is no permanent pure-relationship and there should not be. It is not even something to be desired. The pure relationship is limited, in space and in time. In its essence it implies exclusion. It excludes the rest of life, other relationships, other sides of personality, other responsibilities, other possibilities in the future. It excludes growth.”

– pp. 73-74

Note: nineteen years after Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote these words, her husband, aviator Charles Lindbergh, would pass away, after forty-seven years with her, leaving her a widow for the last twenty-seven years of her life.


The dynamic nature of relationship

“One learns to accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship; and, more deeply still, that there is no holding of a relationship to a single form. This is not tragedy but part of the ever-recurrent miracle of life and growth. All living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must permanently be building themselves to new forms. But there is no single fixed form to express such a changing relationship.”

– pp. 74-75


Middle age: a time to be completely oneself

“Perhaps muddle age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of the ego. Perhaps one can shed at this stage of life as one sheds in beach-living; one’s pride, ones false ambitions, one’s mask, one’s armor. Was that armor not put on to protect one from the competitive world? If one cesses to compete, does one need it? Perhaps one can at last in middle age, if not earlier, be completely oneself. And what a liberation that would be!”

– pp. 84-85


Climbing above the plateau and freeing one’s self for spiritual growth

“Many people never climb above the plateau of forty-to-fifty. The signs that presage growth, so similar, it seems to me, to those in early adolescence: discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing, are interpreted falsely as signs of decay. In youth one does not often misinterpret the signs; one accepts them, quite rightly, as growing pains. One takes them seriously, listens to them, follows where they lead. One I afraid. Naturally. But who is not afriad of pure space – that breath-taking empty space of an open door? But despite fear, one goes through to the room beyond.

But in middle age, because of the false assumption that it is a period of decline, one interprets these life I signs, paradoxically, as signs of approaching death. Instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes – into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, loves affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork. Anything rather than face them. Anything, rather than stand still and learn from them. One tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when really they might be the angels of annunciation.

Annunciation of what? Of a new stage in living when, having shed many of the physical struggles, the worldly ambitions, the material encumbrances of active life, one might be free to fulfill the neglected side of one’s self. One might be free for growth of the mind, heart, and talent; free at last for spiritual growth…”

– pp. 87-88


Two wholes, rather than two halves: the personal relationship

‘And in this new freedom, is there any place for relationship? I believe there is an opportunity for the best relationship of all: not a limited, mutually exclusive one, and not a dependent one; but the meeting of two whole, fully developed people as persons. It would be, to borrow the definition of the Scottish philosopher MacMurray, a fully personal relationship, this is, “a type of relationship into which people enter as persons with the whole of themselves.” “Personal relationships,” he goes on to explain,”… have no ulterior motive. They are not based on particular interests. They do not serve partial and limited ends. Their value lies entirely in themselves and for the same reason transcends all other values.’

– p. 93


Becoming world to one’s self

“Perhaps both men and women in America may hunger, in our material, outward, active, masculine culture, for the supposedly feminine qualities of heart, mind and spirit – qualities which are actually neither masculine nor feminine, but simply human qualities that have been neglected. It is growth along these lines that will make us whole, and will enable the individual to become world to himself.”

– p. 97


Communication as coffee; thirsting for the night stars

“…good communication is stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. Before we sleep we go out again into the night. We walk up the beach under the stars. And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the same under a bowl of stars. We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim.

This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”

– pp. 102-103


The only real security in a relationship

“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching ad they pass, but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.”

– pp. 108-109


The luxury of silence; communication as communion

“At home, when I meet my friends in those cubby-holed hours, time is so precious we feel we must cram every available instant with conversation. We cannot afford the luxury of silence. Here on the island I find I can sit with a friend without talking, sharing the day’s last sliver of pale green light on the horizon, or the whorls in a small white shell, or the dark scar left in the dazzling night sky by a shooting star. Then communication becomes communion and one is nourished as one never is by words.”

– p. 116


I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased

“There are all kinds of experiences on this island, but not too many. The simplicity of life forces me into physical as well as intellectual or social activity. I have no car, so I bicycle for my supplies and my mail. When it is cold, I collect driftwood for my fireplace and chop it up, too. I swim instead of taking hot baths. I bury my garbage instead of having it removed by a truck. And when I cannot write a poem, I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased.”

– p. 117

Note: this is the sublime.


The richness of the unknown

“We tend not to choose the unknown, which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching.”

– p. 119


A false sense of values vs. conscious selectivity

“When I go back will I he submerged again, not only by centrifugal activities, but by too many centripetal ones? Not only by distractions but by too many opportunities? Not only by dull people but by too many interesting ones? The multiplicity of the world will crowd in on me again with its false sense of values. Values weighed in quantity, not quality; in speed, not stillness; in noise, not silence; in words, not in thoughts, in acquisivitiveness, not beauty.”

‘I will have to substitute a conscious selectivity based on another set of values – a sense of values I have become more aware here; simplicity of living, as much as possible, to attain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing. Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: life of the spirit, creative life, and the life of human relationships.’

“Island life has been my lens through which to examine my own life in the North. I must keep my lens when I go back. Little by little one’s holiday vision tends to fade. I must remember to see with island eyes.”

– pp. 129-120


American vs. European living

“The present is passed over in the race for the future; the here is neglected in favor of the there; and the individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass. America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future. Perhaps the historian or the sociologist or the philosopher would say that we are still propelled by our frontier energy, still conditioned by our pioneer pressures or our Puritan anxiety to “do ye next thing.” Europe, on the other hand, which we think of as being enamored by the past, has since the last war, strangely enough, been forced into a new appreciation of the present. The good past is so far away and the near past is so horrible and the future so perilous, that the present has the chance to expand into the golden eternity of of here and now. Europeans today are enjoying the moment even if it means merely a walk in the country on Sunday or wiping a cup of black coffee at a sidewalk café.”

– pp. 126-227

Note: this is writing par excellence.


Growing pains as part of a necessary collective evolution

“Much of this exploration and new awareness is uncomfortable and painful for both men and women. Growth in awareness has always been painful. (One need only remember one’s own adolescence or watch one’s adolescent children.) But it does lead to greater independence and, eventually, cooperation in action. For the enormous problems that fave the world today, in both the private and public sphere, cannot be solved by women – or by men – alone. They can only be surmounted by men and women side by side.”

– p. 138

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Passages: Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell

Prologue: Introducing Passages

I have begun sharing select literary passages on Facebook as of late, where, despite my small list of friends, I have received a substantial amount of positive feedback in the form of likes, shares, and comments. Prompted by this experiment, and spurred by my desire to champion good literature, I will be publishing a series of entries entitled Passages, where I will share my favorite prose and wisdom within a given book.

I’m excited about this. As a writer, I’ll get to transcribe the passages I enjoy most, endearing their texture and syntax evermore deeply to me; and as a reader, this practice will foster more thoughtful, perceptive reading – something I am duly more conscientious of, having just read Mortimer J. Adler’s and Charles Van Doren’s classic literacy manual: How to Read a Book.

As I embark on this journey of transcribing these beautiful bits of books, I offer a caveat and a disclaimer: Passages are not CliffsNotes, nor it is not my wish to contribute to the pseudo-intellectual culture promulgated by the internet and television; that which gives the viewer a false sense of knowing, without any background, context, or experience, the same stacking of facts that allows people to quote so-and-so without ever actually having read blah-blah-blah.

I am not one who espouses highbrow elitism; however, I believe the world would be a better place if people read more books, for few things have profited my soul as time spent between pages.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy these selected passages.

Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell

Passages excepted from the 1988 Harper and Row Edition

The inner, transformational world of myth

“The seat of the soul is there, where the outer and inner worlds meet. That is the wonder-land (sic) of myth. From the outer world the senses carry images to the mind, which do not become myth, however, until there transformed by fusion with accordant insights, awakened as imagination from the inner world of the body.”

– p. 31


The borderless omnipresence of the holy land

“The holy land is no special place. It is every place that has ever been recognized and mythologized by any people as home.”

– p. 44


The transcendent, larger than life power of story

” …as noticed in the Chhāndogya Upanishad: “Just as those who do not know the spot might pass, time and time again, over a hidden treasure of gold without discovering it, so do all creatures of this world pass daily into that Brahmā world [in deep sleep], without discovering it, distracted as they are by false ideas.” The distinguishing first function of a properly read mythology is to release the mind from its naive fixation upon such false ideas, which are of material things as things-in-themselves [vs. metaphor]. Hence, the figurations of myth are metaphorical (as dreams normally are not) in two senses simultaneously, as bearing (1) psychological, but at the same time (2) metaphysical, connotations. By way of this dual focus the psychologically significant features of any social order, environment, or supposed history can be transformed through myth into transparencies revelatory of transcendence.”

– p. 56 | note: I find Campbell’s normally eloquent and succinct writing a bit obtuse here but if you can discern what he is saying – there is a lot to take away from this passage on happiness and the transcendent, larger than life power of story. To quote Gabriel Garcia Marquez from One Hundred Years of Solitude (a book I could not get into): “It’s not so much what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” In other words, the story we tell ourselves matters more than the plot of our lives, for the story shapes the plot.


The metaphorical, transcendent nature of G-d

“…the term and concept “God” is itself but a metaphor of the unknowing mind, connotative, not only beyond itself, but beyond thought.”

– p. 57


Cross-cultural archetypes in myth and identification with the sacred

“The first task of any systematic comparison of the myths and religions of mankind should therefore be (it seemed to me) to identify these universals (or, as C.G. Jung termed them, archetypes of the unconscious) and as far as possible to interpret them; and the second task then should be to recognize and interpret the various locally and historically conditioned transformations of the metaphorical images through which these universals have been rendered. Since the archetypes are not limited in their distributions by cultural or even linguistic boundaries, they cannot be defined as culturally determined. However, the local metaphors by which they have been everywhere connoted, the local ways of experiencing and applying their force, are indeed socially conditioned and defined. Bastian termed such local figurations ” ethnic ideas,” völkergedanken, and Mircea Eliade has termed them “heirophanies” (from hieros-, “powerful, supernatural, holy, sacred,” plus phainein, “to reveal, show, make known.”).

“The very dialectic of the sacred,” Eliade declares, “tends to repeat a series of archetypes, so that a heirophany realized at a certain historical moment is structurally equivalent to a heirophany a thousand years earlier or later.”

The Elementary idea is grounded in the psyche; the Ethnic Idea through which it is rendered, in local geography, history, and society. A heirophany occurs when through some detail, whether of a local landscape, artifact, social custom, historical memory, or individual biography, a psychological archetype or elementary idea is reflected. The object so informed becomes thereby sacralized, or mythologized. Correspondingly, a religious experience will be realized when there is felt an immediate sense of identification with the revelation. The sense of a mere relationship is not the same. In popular cult the experience of relationship is frequently all that is intended. Thereby a sense of social solidarity may be rendered. Through identification, however, a transformation of character is effected.”

– p. 100


Schopenhauer on the synchronicity that shapes a life

“Schopenhauer, in his bold and really magnificent “Transcendent Speculation upon an Apparent Intention in The Fate of the Individual” (1850), takes up the idea, remarking that in the later years of a lifetime, looking back over the course of one’s days and noticing how encounters and events that appeared at the time to be accidental became the crucial structuring features of an unintended lifestory through which the potentialities of one’s character were fostered to fulfillment, one may find it difficult to resist the notion of the course of one’s biography as compatible to that of a clearly constructed novel, wondering who the author of the surprising plot can have been; considering further, that as the shaping of one’s own life was largely an effect of personalities accidentally encountered, so, too, one must have oneself worked effects upon others.

It is one great dream dream dreamed by a single being, but in such a way that all the characters dream too. Hence, everything links and accords with everything else.

– pp. 110-111


The restrictive, mechanistic, religious view of the sacred

“From the standpoint of an exclusively mechanistic view of human experience and action, any such attribution to nature of, “a presence… far more deeply interfused” as that of Wordsworth’s poetic lines of meditation written above Tintern Abbey, or of Schopenhauer’s “Will in Nature,” must be qualified in the derogatory sense as feelings; the so called pathetic fallacy: a sentimental projection of the imagination like Don Quixote’s morbid fantasy of a magician’s work in a windmill. Anthropologists, in the same vein, describe as “animism” the attribution in tribal mythologies, not only of consciousness, but also of a discreet indwelling spirit, to every material form of reality, whether it be animal, plant, stone, star, moon, sun, or cyclone. While in the vocabulary of Judeo-Christian theology, diabolism is the word for such beliefs.

For already in the Old Testament, as in post-Gallilean sciences, there is in nature itself no divinity. There is no god in all of earth but in Israel (II Kings 5:15), and the gods of the gentiles are devils. The texts of Christian missionaries to this same point in justification of their labors are legion, Satan himself being there recognized as even literally present in the idols, sacraments, sorceries, and miracles of every worship but the mission’s own.”

– p. 114


The priest vs. the artist and the artist as innovator

“Carl Jung somewhere has written that the function of religion is to protect us from an experience of God.

The priest’s practical maxims and metaphorical rites moderate transcendent light to secular conditions, intending harmony and enrichment, not disquietude and dissolution. In contrast, the mystic deliberately offers himself to the blast and may go to pieces.

Like the priest, the artist is a master of metaphorical language. The priest, however, is vocationally committed to a vocabulary already coined, of which he is the representative. He is a performing artist executing scripts already perfectly wrought, and his art is in the execution. Creative artists, in contrast, are creative only in so far as they are innovative. And of their innovations, two degrees are readily distinguished. One, the more immediately obvious, has to do with technical innovations; the other with innovative insights.”

– p. 121


The pornographic nature of art intended to foster desire

“Art that excites desire Joyce calls pornographic. All advertising art is in this sense pornographic, since it is intended that the viewer should desire to possess in some manner the object represented.”

– p. 123


The “proper” artist as revolutionary prophet, and mirror for the social mask

“For nature, as we know, is at once without and within us. Art is the mirror at the interface. So too is ritual; so also myth. These, too, ” bring out the grand lines of nature,” and in doing so, reestablish us in our own deep truth, which is at one with that of all being.

So that the artist, functioning in this “proper” way, is the true seer and prophet of his century, the justifier of life and as such, of course, a revolutionary far more fundamental in his penetration of the social mask of the day than any idealist fanatic spilling blood over the pavement in the name simply of another unnatural mask.”

– p. 132


The sublime nature of art that cleanses

“The word ” catharsis” (Greek katharsis; from kathairein, “to cleanse”) which in Aristotle’s usage denotes the effect of tragedy as “effecting through pity and terror a katharsis of these emotions,” was a term which referred in the Greek religious vocabulary to a spiritual transformation brought about by participation in a rite. The mind, “cleansed” of attachments may merely secular aims, desires, and fears, is released to a spiritual rapture. Plato writes of katharsis, for example, as a “defeat of the sensation of pleasure.” The ultimate effect, that is to say, is not to be of beauty (which when seen pleases), but of the sublime (outreaching human comprehension).”

– p. 134


The degradation of art, myth, and religion, and the artist as deliverer

“The question finally at issue, however, is not of individual psychology, alienation, and resentment, but of the irreducible conflict of metaphysics vis-à-vis morals within the jurisdiction, not only of art, but of myth, religion, and social action as well. For during the course of the nineteenth century, the separation of those two opposed orders of human experience, concern, and fulfillment became in the west exaggerated to such a degree by the radical materialism of the increasingly industrialized megalopolitan centers of mass intelligence and democratization, that anything like the functional grounding of a social order in a mythology (so that individuals of whatever social class, participating in the metaphorical festivals, should become joined with all in a profoundly shared experience of the ground and sense of their lives) simple disappeared into irrelevance. And with that, the proper artist lost his function. Today’s pitiful contracts to invent monuments commemorating local-historical events and personages are hardly compatible to the earlier challenges of art, to break through the walls of a culture to eternity. Thus, the only true service of a proper artist today will have to be to individuals: returning them to forgotten archetypes, les grandes lignes de la nature, which have been lost to view behind a cloud contending Jeremy Benthamoid philosophies of the greatest [economic] good to the greatest number.

– p. 144

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Finding Eden Again

I enjoy spending my sunsets seated comfortably on a soft Mexican blanket, facing the calm, placid shore near my home. This evening, I sat relaxedly listening to the ankle high waves falling softly on the shoreline, and I became transfixed by the steady, ceaseless rhythm of their arrival. In a moment, the tranquil, soothing sound of the waves giving themselves to the hard, wet sand had welcomed me into that blissful meditative state, where a man’s thoughts rise to a height only attainable in nature. The very space where nature becomes a kind of Garden of Eden and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil bears the sacred fruit from which man may sparingly digest the wisdom he needs to grow and go on his way – knowing he will be blessed to return again when the time is right.

In this Edenlike state, my gaze still transfixed on the shoreline, my mind took from The Tree what I was given, and I ingested the knowledge that these lonely, unending, impetuous waves were completely impartial as to whether I were a pauper or prince, bum or billionaire.

The waves were simply indifferent – like all of nature – yet men falsely think they must wrestle with the universe to attain what they wish, as if there is some secret law, which governs all, some mind game to win or lose.

A man can spend decades wresting with the universe, his relationship to it lost in his own private battles, never realizing the universe is not his adversary, but, rather, that it’s his own nature he must overcome.

Only when a man stops fighting the world and instead slays his own dragons and demons does the universe seem to bow before him, acquiescing to his plans. Only then does he realize it was his own dragons and demons holding him back all along.

In the next instant I thought of something Steve Jobs said:

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

…Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

I thought of this because I realized in that instant that, for Jobs, the idea that everything around him was made up by people no smarter than himself was what gave him the confidence to accomplish what he did. This “simple fact” was his catalyst, the knowledge that empowered him once and forever.

I also realized in that moment my own one simple fact: the idea that man’s fate is his and his alone and his limits are entirely self imposed.

Man’s fate is his and his alone and his limits are entirely self imposed.

I too realized that every person must discover their own one simple fact. They must acquire the specific knowledge that negates their limiting beliefs and destroys their mental barriers.

Then I had one last thought; I thought of Kryptonite, the mythical radioactive substance from Superman’s home planet, Kryptos. According to comic legend, Kryptonite is radioactive and thus causes “Kryptonite poisoning”, rendering superman powerless. I realized we all have our own Kryptonite, our own innate susceptibility to something capable of stealing all our power. Maybe it’s toxic relationships, maybe it’s our desire to escape reality, numbing ourselves with alcohol or drugs. It could be anything, vanity even. But, whatever it is that renders us powerless, unable to make our impact on the world, we must treat it with the same reverence and fear with which superman treats Kryptonite. It is the thing we must avoid at all costs, no matter how many times it finds us.

Yes, my time in Eden had been fruitful.

My mind expanded, my optimism brightened, my confidence deepened, I arose, shaking the sand from my blanket before stuffing it in my bag. I walked home knowing the evening had changed me. I was grateful I had found Eden again. Grateful for another magical, wondrous sunset.

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