Self-empowerment : individuality, libertarianism, and spiritual independence
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
We were born to be naked, and dancing, and kissing each other. We were born to be changeless and changing, mortal and immortal, formed and yet free. We were born to be the stillness inside the fabulous change.
The self is a perpetual baptism, wherein one moves, and moves, and never stops moving; it is the relentless, uncatchable, spectacular, dynamic of the soul that demands to be free.
We each belong to the energy of the moment. In the wildness beyond anarchy, where the individual, rampant from the mean, will accept no compromise, no help, no advice, no method, no limit- that is the point where the spirit breaks free of its mold, flies beyond itself, and dwells in the infinite expanse of the unimaginable, untethered new. To soar where no archetype can follow, that is to be new, and to be true.
Anyone who breaks free of the imposed structure, who lives life for life itself, with no worry or expectation of reward or praise, develops their own individual force, unknown to the greater part of mankind. We all have it, but most of us give it away to convention, or cowardice.
We were not born to follow others, to learn what they say we should learn, to go where others wander, nor to deny the smallest part of our own force for comfort or acceptance.
We are not alive to toil, to lie, to impress people, or to suffer. We are alive to be life- to be the great mystery endlessly awakening to itself. We are all God becoming infinitely godlike. And each of us must live it through. Alone.
God sits in a different seat in each person's auditorium. If we rely on anyone but ourselves, we are doomed; every time we deny the reality that we alone can come upon, we deny reality. And so it is the harsh but essential cosmic law that one who has no acceptance of their own vision ...shall see nothing.
Ah, to be sure, before you can blend into the One, you must stand out conspicuously, as that precarious, uncamouflaged happening so visibly bent, blotched, or broken. For in order to be chosen, you must first become a choice.
And so, within the suffocating alienship of society, we must begin the long and forgotten route through strangeness towards home; we are our own gates, our own judges, our own redeemers, and redeemed.
Indeed each of us is alone to hack out our own cramped, ponderous tunnel, towards or away from God knows what, for no imaginable reason.
The way piles up in fragments behind us, and as endless walls ahead, while we flail and flail and perhaps find nothing but the hollow ring of movement through the moldless form of unknowable truth. So be it. The bearings may be on the outside, but the compass lies within.
A spiritual anarchy of biblical proportions is now thoroughly under way. Each person must sedulously mine their own dark, mysterious life.
I came to accept that to get back to myself I could not depend on another. I could not care about what I had, what I didn't have, what I had been, what I might be, where I was going, or when I would get there. I could not care. I could only try to live completely, without imagining what that meant.
There were many times when tempting options would emerge before me and attempt to divert my way- small or trifling amusements of one sort or another, suggested under the pretext of one reason or another, offering the benefit or pleasure of one desire or another. And though I often stopped to look around and see what all the commotion was about, perhaps even striking up a short conversation or taking part for a brief spell, sooner than later I had to be on my way. Thanks, but no thanks- this became my unspoken motto. Enjoy your reality, have your laughs, and comforts, and distractions. I must keep going, keep flowing, keep moving on to where I don't know but if I stop here and enjoy the delay I'll end here, barren, confused, and out of steam for the next hill.
Just as a person falls over when they stop completely on a bicycle, I had to keep moving, keep going forward, keep pushing towards what comes and goes and flows on forever. I had to learn to be my own current, to cascade over and past all that had stopped moving and was clogging or jamming the river's way. I had to recognize and feel the stasis and fear people allow inside of them and in which the spirit condenses, solidifies, and moves no further.
I had to keep losing myself in order to find another me, keep letting life change and include me in that newness. I had to die over and over again so that ...I could live.
And now I count my grey hairs as one for each time I denied life and blocked the flow through fear, sorrow, preconception, or sloth. These are badges I wear not proudly, but am glad for their reminder of the perilous halts I put in my own way. For it was only after I had realized that all I had been taught was merely a perilous mishmash of rubbish and lies, that the teachers and leaders had misled me unavoidably, and the masters and madmen had delivered to me their flightless swan songs, so that I was on my own again, as I had been so often before- it was then, in the stillness of my heart, that I began again to listen.
I had dreamed alone, thought alone, and walked alone, and I was through with the others. Better to cast my own light into my own darkness, I thought, for then I'd be certain of what I couldn't see. And because I couldn't see, I stood dead still and …I listened.
I listened, because all the pointless words and actions had gone right through me, and nothing remained but the inviolable hollow. I listened to the hollow of my own being, because that was the only place left which had not been desecrated. I listened, and in that eternal void alone did I hear the echo of my own Great Dream.
Oh, it is a wild and crazy untraveled road we're on. You find your way, you lose your way, you find another, and lose that one, and then another, and they keep coming and going and you keep stumbling along imagining you're going someplace, though the Self never goes anywhere, but only the form and identity find and lose themselves in the flux and flare of the ephemeral.
I say these things not out of any presumption of expertise- there are no experts in the world- but because I have never found a description or inference regarding the experiences which I have had, and so I bring forth my own fruit, and my Promethean sin is complete, and I am released and at peace with my own conscience for having spoken about what I did see.
Through all the reading I had done regarding the many differing philosophies, spiritual accomplishments, and unique realities others have experienced, all of which inspired me to tear down the walls confining me and pursue greater truths, in the end I was thrown back upon myself and had to abandon all I had learned and heard about from others.
I see now that this is an essential step- to understand and accept that no matter what anyone else has experienced, or perceives as reality, that we are each born unto this earth to discover our own beliefs, our own truths, and to live out our own lives. And that these truths and realities may differ immensely from one person to another is a hard piece of news for the mind to accept, but I had to accept it in order to believe in my own vision. I had to become an individual.
To be an individual means to exist without pride nor shame, nor yardstick between yourself and all others, but instead to live out your own life, without a thought that it might be different, or wrong, or right, because that is who you are, and there is no option, decision, nor guise. In this way does a person arrive at eternity, having been born out from under the great sea of undifferentiated souls.
If I had only blended in with the world, only operated within the confines of convention, I would have offered no increase to the dimensions of the whole. But that I extended myself out, the whole had to grow with me, since everything is a reflection of everything else.
I found that to be a part of the whole I had to also, paradoxically, be apart from the whole. For there is no symphony without separate instruments, no harmony without distinct notes, and no whole without separate parts. And this, my friend, is what is called …the way of sin.
To sin, to be single, to dare to believe in your own vision, and to give God the greatest gift imaginable- something new, something unique, something called …you. To honour the splendour of being by furthering creation with what has not yet ever been- your self. To dance your own dance, and sing your own song in the middle of the writhing and maddening prima materia.
I say there are possibilities for the modern individual which never existed before in the history of any peoples, or, if they did, these possibilities were found and exercised only by the rare few who were driven by some inward daemon to lift themselves out of context and convention and set themselves adrift above the congealing, slothful evolution of the rest of the world; but the modern individual may more easily rip through the snares which previously held history to the ground; the modern individual has the privileged chance to re-write the rules, to cast the nets of presumption and the bars of tradition aside and to face him or herself, as he or she is, alone, in the cold, naked reality of the unbound self. The modern individual, more than any before, has all the tools necessary to forsake the world and its spiritless ways, and to listen once and for all to the only voice in the cosmos which matters- his or her own.
Oh, there are plenty of excuses which the least creative person can dream up who has not the gusto nor desire to free themselves from the fold. There is a cornucopia of ways to lie away the duty of the self, and to quietly rejoin the legion of lemmings on their march to the sea. But the fact remains that anyone who truly wants to heave it all overboard and start again can do it in the twinkling of an eye.
To do this, not just outwardly, but at the absolute inner essence of all that you are, is to turn yourself upside-down, let your pockets empty themselves of all you have ever been or wanted to be, and then stand back up and walk on without a clue of who you are or where you're going. And that takes a type of courage which no one applauds, and no movie actor portrays, and no women sing songs of praise and worship about. But it is the only type of courage which will invigorate and grow the mercurial aspect of the soul; it is the only type of courage which will serve the light-body within; it is the only type of courage which matters in the end when all human roads lead to dead ends.
Such individualism is a stage of preparation, where the soul is tried and tempered, made whole, and utilized in the microcosmic realm before its final turning away from the profane world completely and its ascension into the conscious redemption of heavenly union.
And so our greatest service may be the act of spiritual violence, of disobedient novelty, which rends the fabric and sets us apart from the rest of humanity for a while, until the whole has shifted- as it must- and reassimilated our new reality into its necessarily new position. Thus we have helped evolve the universe. This is why the word 'eccentric' means: to come close to the center.
And so, I say, in the act of choosing myself, I chose God, and thus unseparated the division between us. The moment I accepted myself, I accepted the God within myself. And in that liberating, destructive instant everything joined sublimely together to become the One and Living Spirit, and my God fell from otherness into me and …I was saved.
I ask not that you sanction what I have said. I'm not asking you to agree. I'm not expecting you to understand. I have only my own life, and my own answers. A man must stand up for the vision inside of him, especially if he is the only one who has seen it.
What is real for me must be real for me alone, or what am I calling me? I have no reason, no need, no desire to embrace another person's reality, for mine is much more real for me than any other's ever could be.
The fact that no one else corroborates my reality guarantees that it is true. Each man, his own messiah.
(excerpted from In and Of: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas)