I've been thinking about the concept of enlightenment, in terms of attaining a state of non-attachment to everything as well as what the result might look like and I think it might be something like experiencing limitless freedom.You become everything and nothing, but because there are no limitations you can never turn that possibility into something real. In fact, you the person don't even exist. A rather tenuous existence, and while a person might be one with everything and nothing, what in the end does that really mean, and what does it really do for the person. I'll admit I'm attached to my identity.
"When we think the solution to our unhappiness can be found in the external world, our desires can only be temporarily sated. Not understanding this, we are tossed this way and that by the winds of desire, ever restless and dissatisfied. We are governed by our karma and continually plant the seeds of future karmic harvest. Not only does this mode of action distract us from the spiritual path, but it also prevents us from finding satisfaction in our daily life" -- Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche I was thinking about what's written above the other day as I was walking around the Hawthorne district in Portland. I'd just come out of Powells (a bookstore) and I realized that while I'd enjoyed going into the store and looking at the books, I'd also felt a sense of dissatisfaction, a recognition that nothing I could purchase would be anything more than a distraction, an illusion. I might temporarily fulfill a desire and enjoy doing so, but I would still have to come face to face with the underlying reality that whatever I got was only a temporary distraction from that desire, and it would come back to remind me that it needed something more.
Since then I've also been thinking how much desire and attachment actually anchor a person into living life, providing the drive that people have to live, and I consequently wonder how much the valuing of the spirit over the material world is just another desire, another sign of dissatisfaction expressed in trying to find some spiritual answer that will take away any sense of need a person has.
Seems to me that need and desire are spiritual in and of themselves. Without the need or desire for something, would we strive so much for our goals, our projects, our ideals, etc.? When we determine that something is not spiritual, aren't we just creating the dualistic divisions that cause Karma? I find the subtle hierarchical beliefs about the spirit vs the material to be the most dangerous because in trying to divide everything up we also end up labeling it and using that labeling to create the dualistic tension described as karma.
If satisfaction is to be found, it must be found in our ability to make peace with our desires by accepting them as gateways to spiritual experiences that also allow us to perceive the material world as the manifestation of the spiritual. Instead of dividing, why not just experience it all?
About five or so years ago I invented a technique where a person could contact their neurotransmitters as entities and then work with them to make changes to the chemistry of the body. For a time I worked with a group of people and we tested out the technique and concept. We got some interesting results, took it some places, and then went our separate ways. Since that time I never really got back to those experiments. There were a variety of reasons for that, but five years later and I'm finally ready to dive back in and I've got some people I can work with on further developments. I'm starting out with the basic technique again, reacquainting myself with each neurotransmitter, so you may see some notes on the neurotransmitter work on here, as a result.
I'm also restarting some work I've done with my modified version of the Tibetan Tumo technique. I've decided to utilize the modified version to do some daily work with the elements of space and time.
So I'm going back to some of my roots, experimentally speaking and it should make for some interesting work and developments in those respective areas. What helps is I have a magical partner that will help keep me on track and focused. I've missed having someone to work with who gets my ideas and wants to explore them, but now I have such a person in my life and that helps immensely.
Last October, I switched the element I was working with from Emptiness to Time, or so I thought. And I have done some work with time and space and in fact would say the work I've done has been very integral to my life growth, but I realized recently that if I've really been working with an element this year, it's actually identity. Last October I felt like everything got cleared away, and it did...if not then, then in January with the divorce. And the last half year or so has involved rediscovering my identity, my space, and my time. And even though I have gotten involved with someone new and am happily exploring a relationship with her now, I still feel very focused on the discovery of my agreement with the universe, and what I really want my identity to embody in this life.
I'm also discovering what I don't want in my agreement with the universe, and so as a result I'm looking carefully at my life and who and what I include in that life, as well what behaviors I'll accept or won't accept (both from myself and others). So I've realized that in a lot of ways identity has been my element this year, at least on a subtle level, because this year has been more about planting seeds of who I will become and also embracing the new circumstances than anything else.
And I think its magical, because magic isn't something that happens at a prescribed time or in a prescribed way. Magic is about the mundane details as well as the spiritual, really about the integration of both...
Tonight I did my first working with Purson, who is a goetic Daimon of Time, and is also the guardian of time in my elemental time work. I first asked Elephant if I could open the gates of time and space and he allowed me to do so. Then I called to Purson. I had the painting of his Seal on my right and the image of him in the Goetia on my left, with the Memory Box, in front of me. I placed my hands on the memory box, and journeyed into the spider web of time, where I encountered him. He was riding the bear and he blew his horn the silver gossamer strands of time vibrated in the sound.
He asked me if I understood the purpose of space and I explained I did, that each point of space represented a place, and that space itself was stillness not move. He told me then that time is the movement through space and that we move from space to space through time.
I felt a sense of movement in myself and he told me that was the silver strands of time. Each strand represents a multitude of possibilities, and when it is vibrated some of those possibilities can be accessed and turned into reality. That process occurs through the melding of the movement of time, to spacial stillness, which grounds the possibility into reality.
I saw then all these strands as webbing across spatial nodes, a spider web of time, where webbing could be sent in any direction to reach any nodal spatial point. Purson told me it was our linear limitations that made us think of time as a straight line, as a 2d experience, when it's really a multi-dimensional movement of possibility. He also told me that it was important to vibrate strands of time gently, not to force it, but rather to use just the slightest touch or sound, and then blew his horn to demonstrate, the sound rippling onward and onward and onward, never fading so much as changing our perceptions of it, because of how it changed the movement of time.
I thought then of Cerontis, my time entity and he said that what Cerontis did was act as a gravity well for the strands of time, directing them toward me. I had the perception then of these silver strands in my hands, wrapped around them, and that I didn't even need to move my hands to vibrate, but could gently direct my awareness to a given strand and start the process of movement that would generate the possibilities that I would want to manifest at a spatial node. After that Purson told me we'd work more later, but to meditate for now on what I learned and I realized as well he'd sent some of this information to me this past week, because I'd already been thinking along these lines, but now all the pieces fit together.
I've been reading Laban for all, which is a book that describes the dance techniques of Rudolf Laban. I was introduced to it by Bill Whitcomb. We both find the mapping of the movement of the body to be fascinating. Last night I decided to try out the basic steps for Laban. What stood out to me about the experience was how much attention I needed to pay to each of the steps I was doing. I know that as time goes on, muscle memory helps a person incorporate the movements so that s/he doesn't have to think about the movements, but I felt the experience was useful last night for helping me really sit in my body. I've been finding that incorporating more physical body awareness into my ritual work has been essential for the identity work I'm doing, and most importantly for getting past cultural memes that otherwise influence how the body is perceived and interacted with.
In complement of that I've also been working through some of the exercises in the Eight Circuit Brain. Last night, after doing the steps, I talk a salt water bath and then did a meditation visit with my concept of the Anima. I'm going to continue down that particular route because there's some work I wish to do with it. Meeting with the Anima proved useful because I was able to recognize that it is from my concept of her that in some ways I've based my understanding of the opposite sex. So how better to examine those beliefs than to do so with her? I've found myself dealing with a recurrent issue of idealization and according to Antero Alli, working with the anima directly is the best way to deal with such idealization. Last night's first visit did seem helpful for that purpose. I could place that idealization on the Anima, without having to bring it back with me.
After I finished my emptiness ritual and had cleansed myself of the paint, I moved right into the ritual to accept time as the new element. I put on the bracelet of elephant hair, and the elephant necklace and put before me the painting to elephant. I asked elephant if elephant would allow me to enter the gates of time and was told yes. Then I evoked Purson and Thiede as my guides through the silver web of time and space. I did an exercises of putting increments of time into each other until the increments become meaningless.
I opened the memory box, which is my gateway to the silver web and put both my hands on its sides. And I traveled along the silver web until I came to the center, where the Spider Goddess of Time awaited me. She held up the book of her mysteries and said, "It's good you have this back, now paint what I show you."
I pulled out my paintbrush and waters color and painted a web of time. Just one colors, lots of silver-gray...I asked her...was this really it? And she told me that my perceptions of time were too limited by human made standards of time. That what I painted wasn't even so much a symbol as a way of relating to time and space, a way of moving past the linear perceptions and measurements that mark time by human standards. She told me that this year would be a move away from the mystical path I've been on, back to more of a focus on magic, but also a focus on changing those limited perceptions on time...that all the material she'd put in my path the last couple of months was partial prep work for the workings ahead.
And with that, she stopped my hand, looked at my work and said, "Start with this and see what it teaches you."
Then I closed the gate to the silver web of time and gave my thanks to Thiede, Purson, and Elephant...and to her, the spider goddess of time. And so that's the beginning into the element of time.
She came to me tonight as I was being massaged and said, "I would have an audience with you tonight." I said I'd prefer if this audience occurred when I was alone, for since this was part of my emptiness work, that needed to be part of it. She smiled and said, "I'll get you some alone time in a bit." And she did deliver for Lupa was contacted and asked to help with something that needed to be taken care of tonight. "Will you be okay with that?"
"Certainly, go ahead."
After Lupa left, she came back and said, "So about that audience." I nodded, and went over to the guest bathroom and started up the bath water, mixing in oils as well. Once the bath was ready, I sank into the hot world, and she appeared before me, in all of her awful majesty...my lady Babalon. Her eyes were as red as blood, her hair the darkness of pitch, her skin ivory...and she looked through my soul and words poured forth from her perfect lips:
"Almost a year ago you entered into me, and through me descended into the abyss. You took on the rotting that was predicted to you, when you chose to stay here."
"You've come through this admirably. You've rotted and that was my gift to you, not a punishment, but a gift, for you fully needed to feel helpless, fully needed to feel the strength of your desires even onto addiction itself, to fully come to to the root of what has caused your pain and emptiness. You never would've come to this realization if you'd gone out there, and so you would have remained a beast...but now you have traveled through your abyss, through your own rot and dis-ease, and horror and fear, and come through it with a clear understanding of what has held you back."
"I agree. I felt a lot of regret and guilt over what happened, but as I went through this year and came to fully face what has haunted me so much of my life, as I rotted, I finally could find resolution to so much of the pain and emptiness that had previously driven me on. I finally came face to face with each of my core wounds and came away healed."
"This year was your abyss walk, but also the culmination of the previous four years of work. You chose to walk into the abyss through me, as all magicians must, for it is only in facing your desires and facing the shadow behind them that you can move to the next step of your journey. You are no longer a beast, a pashu. You are now a person, a human."
And then I said, "And if still I have the same desire after all of this. I've accepted I may never have that desire fulfilled and accepted that its best to enjoy what comes my way, but still I feel it, even after all of this. I feel it in a conscious way...recognize it as more than just an attempt to fill something up."
She smiled gently. "After all of this, I will tell you enjoy what comes your way and what you have, but I will also say that what you desire will come when the time is right, and in a way that doesn't involve you leaving the Earth you've come to call as your home, and also in a way that respects fully what is already there."
"I'm still one of yours aren't I?"
She smiled again, and said, "You never stopped being one of mine. But you are not a beast to be ridden either. Remember what you've said yourself, 'Both parties create the relationship and choose what it will be.' And what have you chosen with me?"
"For you and I, Milady," I said, "I choose to walk with you at my side, even as I am at yours, devoted to you and your mysteries, but also free to be me and continue on with the journey I've chosen."
"And that is how it should be with you. For you are your own star, and must shine that light on the path you walk. And you and I both know that you've chosen to walk a very particular path, to bring forth the unorthodox and unusual, and manifest as well that success which is yours to claim."
Then she kissed me on the lips, her energy melding with my own, and looked into my eyes with her red eyes and said," Tomorrow you'll move from Zero to One, from Something to Nothing, and mark it with the sign of Xah....Tomorrow you will start your re-birth, and claim your freedom from the abyss. Remember, I'm always at your side, never too far away...and you are one of mine, even as you are your very own self. Enjoy what's coming next...you've earned it."
Then she left, milady Babalon, just like that...and I climbed out of the bath...and readied myself for tomorrow, purified and ready for the rebirth.
A reader asked me yesterday, after I posted my review of Evola's book on Buddhism, if I agreed with Evola's traditionalist views in other areas, because I liked Evola's work. When I posted the review to Amazon, I'd noticed traditionalism come up as a possible tag, first time I ever came across the word actually. Let me just say that assuming I'm anything based on what I read is at best an erroneous assumption. It's true I like Julius Evola's writing. And if we were to research Julius the person, we would find out he was a fascist and I guess a traditionalist as well (maybe they are even one and the same!). But I'm not interested in Evola's political beliefs and don't find them relevant to my practice. Nor, really, am I concerned with labeling his spiritual practices or my own as traditionalist.
In fact, I'm not really interesting in trying to label my own practices either. The most I've ever done is to label myself as an experimental magician, an even that label is one I rely on less these days. What's really important afterall is not the label, but rather what one is actually doing.
So for me, Evola's writing, which I like because he's a good scholar and offers some intriguing perspectives on what he writes about, whether it's Buddhism or Tantra, or Hermeticism, or an article on time magic, is important because I find it relevant to my spiritual practice. Frex, the book on Buddhism offered some useful insights into early Buddhist texts and practices, and proved helpful in my emptiness working.
But even though I like his works, it shouldn't be assumed that I'm a traditionalist or anything else that Evola was. I am, after all, not Julius Evola (last I checked). Nor because I've read Edward Hall and liked his work, should it be assumed I hold to his political beliefs or his approach to anthropology or anything else. Liking someone's writing doesn't mean you agree with all of it or that you hold the same beliefs as someone.
But really what I'm saying is this: Labels are at best an illusion crafted to provide us and others the security (a false one) of being able to say this person is this or that. But what if I'm not?
I read what I read because I find it important to cultivate an awareness of a wide variety of perspectives and beliefs so that I can see how those perspectives inform my spiritual and indeed, overall life. So am I a traditionalist? Likely not.
But I am me...and I do enjoy learning and applying what I learn toward living a better life. I hope you do as well.
Review of The Silent Language by Edward T. Hall
In this book, Hall explores the intricacies of time and space from a cultural studies perspective. Although this book is a bit dated, the information is still very relevant, and what Hell offers is an examination of how much our perception of time influences our cultural and everyday interactions. For example, learning just how tightly time is wound for Americans as opposed to other cultures is quite insightful to the workaholicism that pervades American culture. Hall touches on some aspects of space as well, though you'll find more of his thoughts on it, in the hidden dimension. What I most enjoyed about this book is an exploration of time from a social science perspective as opposed to a hard science perspective. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in understanding concepts of space and time.
5 out of 5 stars
The other day an acquaintance on twitter half humorously said he was glad I was posting about the occult and had wondered if I was still an occultist. Looking through some old lj entries I can certainly say I posted a lot more about magic once upon a time, at least overt magic, than I do now. Thing is though, my business is part of my magical work. For one thing it's a manifestation of my intention and my will. I'm putting a lot of intention and focus into making it successful, and its my will that my business provide me the means to be as independent as possible and enjoy doing something I believe in for a living.
But on a much deeper level, it is also really a change in identity, an evolution from who I was into who I want to be, on a very intentional and focused journey. My business is just the most obvious part of that journey, because its where most of my activity is going. The changes in identity, and the learning of new skills that I've had to develop as a result, have in their own way been an act of magic for me, a very proactive approach exploring and manifesting my desires by choosing to actively change my attitude, beliefs, and also actions.
My business is part of my magic because it's a spiritual journey for me. It's not just about making a living, it's about living a way of life.
8-20-09 It's hitting me that in two months this working will end. I'm sort of surprised it's such a short time away, because in a way I've felt like I've lived more than a year's time with this working. And maybe in some ways I have. The metamorphosis I've been experiencing and still am experiencing is monumental. I know what's at the end...actually had a number of different people pick up on the end result, so to speak, but the journey is how the end manifests. Would the end exist if the journey didn't? 8-21-09 When I'm situations where I'm dealing with subcultures, whether the "occulture" or the "goth" or any other, what I'm well aware of is a sense of discontent on my part. I thought about it, meditated perhaps, on it tonight while dancing and realized at a certain point that all this feeling of discontent, whether it's about subcultures, or about my dating life (or lack thereof) is really just my issues...it's no one else. It's all my perception and it's all my clinging, holding me back from really letting go and experiencing emptiness. At some point I thought to myself, "Why am I continuing to struggle with these issues so much" and the response I got was, "Because you're trying to hard and you want it too much" And that pretty much is it...I want it too much. I want to feel belonging, acceptance, be desired etc., and it puts a lot of pressure on me, which I've never really acknowledged before.
8-22-09 Thinking about the feeling of discontent further, it's a feeling of not fitting in I've felt a fair amount, but also a kind of clinging to wanting to belong. The question then arises...when do you embrace your space and accept it, regardless of how much you fit in or not? And that's a question I've struggled with a lot...and it's fitting that its coming up right now in this work as I near the end of this year. Where do I really fit in? Does it matter if I fit in? Does anyone get me? Does it matter if they or don't? These questions might seem like ones only asked by teenagers going through existential angst, but I think people of a wide range of age/life experience ask them. And whether that's the case or not, I know I'm asking them as part of dealing with some of my own attachments and blockages around acceptance and alienation. And I feel comfortable with that.
I went to a guy's night out with some friends...not something I've ever done before. We went to a bar with a karaoke machine, played pool, drank beer. It was an interesting experience, and a little surreal. I'm generally working on projects or playing games. I enjoyed it in some ways, but I don't see myself doing it very often. But sometimes putting yourself in unfamiliar situations can be useful, and I felt that way this time.
8-23-09 As I find myself in various social situations, I'm struck once again by the realization I had some time ago...I'm more comfortable in situations with specific functions attributed to those situations. It's an odd realization that I struggle with at times. It makes sense, but it also illustrates a source of my discomfort with different interactions and social situations.
8-27-09 I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to update this, but today's meditation got me thinking. Basically, what stood out about it was how much my mind kept wandering as I focused on two different issues: sex and business. I've been going through a period of celibacy and it's reaffirmed some of my recognitions about sex, while also digging up how I deal with sexual frustration, as I've needed to be a bit creative with that. But I think also I may take some of the celibacy a bit further, to complete celibacy, just to see what happens. And business...given my journey into self-employment, I'm not surprised it's in my mind when I'm meditating. I can see where stress from both is coming out in my meditation, but I think that's good, because it means I'm able to focus in on those particular areas and spend some time with them, instead of just letting them slide and create problems down the line. In fact, I tend to find that meditation can act as an early warning system, an identifier of stress and blockages in one's life. It's not so much for emptying the mind, for me, as it is being more aware of what's going on in the subconscious and working with it proactively, instead of letting it bubble up in ways that could hurt myself and others.
8-29-09 I think it fully hit me today that one of my issues with sex has always been a fear of having my desire fulfilled and then taken away. This issue actually extends to further beyond that, back to when I'd be told I could have something such as a game, and then have it taken away shortly thereafter for whatever reason or none at all. But in most areas of my life, I have a lot more control of whether something can be taken away. But with sex, a variety of control issues arise that make it all a very weird tangle. For example the desire to be dominated, mixed in with a desire to be in control at all times, makes for a real contradiction and some confusing signals. Or the desire to be dominated and the fear of being controlled. So I see these issues and it suddenly makes a lot more sense why certain relationships never took off, because of triggering issues that I hadn't fully resolved in my sexual identity, or overall identity. Now I'm aware of these issues and left thinking, "now what?" I have contacted one person where this occurred and explained what happened on that end of things. What I'm realizing at the ice-tip as it were is that there is a lot of control issues around sex for me, which has hurt others occasionally, but hurt me much more because I haven't really been able to get clarity on what I want and what I can really handle.
8-31-09 In a week or so I'll be meeting with an ex...timely for us both, because she's leaving Oregon shortly after that and I'm wrapping this emptiness working up. Relevant as well to my sexual celibacy and issues around it. I think it'll be productive for us both.
9-02-09 I'm going to the Fall Equinox festival (held on labor day weekend ironically). It's a strange feeling of anticipation. I *know* something will happen there...yet have no idea or expectation of what will occur. It is just my intuition speaking up, offering to me a realization that I need to go to this event and be there...that something needs to happen and whatever will happen will be significant for what it will offer to me. So much of this last year I've felt so much of what I valued lose meaning, lose significance...so to feel it is comforting, and also in some ways, a reminder that a shift is already beginning to occur. Nothing is moving toward something, 0 is becoming 1, potential is manifesting into reality.
9-03-09 It strikes me as very interesting that the majority of women I'm attracted to usually are working with darker, more sexual goddesses, and tend to have a lot of sexual energy. I'm more overtly aware of this than I used to be. And I'm getting more comfortable with it as well.
9-07-09 Back from Fall Eq. What a weekend for me. I went alone to this festival, left Lupa at home. Having some of that freedom was nice, especially in terms of being able to flirt with people, without feeling like someone might be looking over my shoulder. I didn't hook up with anyone, but the flirting and feeling attracted to several people I met gave me a lot to think about when it came to my sexuality. Spending time at the Tantric temple also helped, and I used it as an opportunity to meditate on my fears.
What really helped however was the Lakshmi ritual. The first part of the ritual involved making a sacrifice. For me the sacrifice was my fear of failing at my business, my fear of my sexuality, and my fear of asking for a specific desire I have. Giving up those fears was a relief to me. The second part of the ritual, where we asked Lakshmi to bring prosperity to our lives was also efficacious for me. I lit the candle and saw a vision of the goddess and she told me that there was light at the end of the tunnel for my emptiness working and that everything I've been working toward will manifest if I stay consistent with what I'm doing. And I got evidence of that when I got home, both in some constructive discussions with Lupa and in some welcome news on the business front.
9-10-09 Some realizations about how I handle fears and such. Sex, in its own way, is a security thing for me. Losing myself in the pleasure is a way to also temporarily forget about whatever I fear in that moment. As I come to a close on the emptiness working, I've been feeling regrets about how certain situations with lovers in the past turned out...the past two years anyway. Feeling those regrets isn't necessarily bad, but I realized today that if there's one thing I want from this emptiness working, it's starting with a clean slate. So I guess I need to resolve those regrets. Already have with one...the rest will get taken care of as well.
9-12-09 I had a really interesting conversation with Lupa today, which resulted in me realizing that the real trap in my life has been the act of trying to escape from situations I didn't like, as well as my own feelings and actions in those traps. Each time I've "escaped" I've just put myself back in the same trap...even if I didn't realize it right away. The last five years has been, for me, the journey to realize that I no longer need to escape the trap...I just need to change my awareness about that trap...instead of trying to escape it...sit with it, understand it, come to acceptance with it. My trap has always been my emptiness, my attempts to fill it and escape from it. But I could never escape it or fill it, and so this last year in particular I finally allowed myself to feel it, and accept it...I'm no longer in the trap, because there no longer is a trap. I'm just about ready to let the 0 manifest into the 1.
9-16-09 Today I hit bottom. I felt like everything was hopeless, empty...and frustrated. And then I rallied, talked to friends, went out to a networking event and realized it's all about perception. Emptiness is a perception...one that is given reality with what you are willing to believe about it.
9-18-09 We drove into Seattle today. Always when I come back here, I feel a palpable tension in the air, and today is not different, but I feel comfortable handling it for a visit. On the drive up, I thought about last night at the Goth, feeling no real sense of longing or need to fill something, where at one time that would've been all I felt when I looked at other people. Now it's just a feeling of acceptance. I know there's nothing that can "fill" me, but then, I don't need anything to fill me up either. I'm comfortable with my emptiness, comfortable feeling it, for it's no longer a trap to escape from. I may never "fit" in, may never really feel I belong, but how much of it is perception on my part? A lot of it...and so if that's the case, it's up to me to come to terms with that perception, which has been the theme of this month. And all that said, I'm more comfortable realizing my boundaries as well and knowing in that context what I can or can't accept about particular subcultures I sometimes visit and even ones I may belong to (such as the occult subculture.
The zero is about to hatch...The inner alchemical changes, for this element are just about complete. I'm ready.
7-18-09 I got a comment on my last entry on emptiness from a reader, who is a christian, who said I should turn to the christian god to fill up my emptiness. I wonder if she really read the entry, or for that matter read any of the others or just decided on the spot that prescribing her religious beliefs would somehow make everything all right. It reminds me of the various times my mom has tried to convert me to her belief system, without really trying to understand my choices. Eventually she stopped and listened, but occasionally I still catch her trying to be an evangelical with me, instead of simply treating me like a person. It highlights my own issues with gods of any kind and any religion, and is one reason I favor the Buddhist conception of gods, at this point in my spiritual journey. Before I go into my commentary on that I do acknowledge that I have readers who have perfectly functional and happy relationships with the deity or deities of their choice. If you find yourself reacting to this commentary, I ask that you stop, take a breath, and then respond, with the realization that what I'm really presenting is my interpretation of relationships with deity AS IT APPLIES TO ME.
Truth to tell that comment embodies a feeling of objectification (and emptiness) via religion, in my mind. The belief that some exterior force can somehow solve all my problems or even just the feeling of emptiness is a belief I've not found to be true. In the end, the emptiness has still been there, and no god bandaid is going to fix it or make it go away. If anything, I tend to agree with the Buddhist concept of the Gods as powerful beings, who nonetheless are trapped in their very attachment to their own power. Certainly, looking at various mythologies, what most stands out to me is just how human the various deities are in terms of their emotions and actions. And how often those emotions and actions seem to entrap them.
I think deities have their place, but I don't feel the need to be 'saved' by any of them. If anyone is going to save me, it'll be me, as in the end, I am responsible for myself.
7-19-09 There are times when I feel very distant from my wife. I feel like I don't get her, that I don't know her...and I wonder then how she ended up with me, how this relationship even still exists, and whether I will ever "get" her. And then I read Epstein who discusses his own awareness of the distance between himself and his wife, and I read an online friend's feelings of emptiness and unhappiness with her relationships, and wondering if she'll ever find someone who "gets" her, and I realize this feeling is far more common than just the insides of my own head. It's likely a feeling that everyone experiences at some point or another. I also recognize that even if S wasn't in the picture I'd still feel this way sometimes (and have in the past). Her relationship with him highlights some of the feelings I have, but they'd be there regardless. For what I'm really dealing with is the feeling of emptiness that I feel when I recognize the distance between this person and I.
Lupa tells me that it's my expectations about connection that makes me feel this way, and Epstein would seem to agree, in discussing his own awareness of the emptiness and distance he felt with his wife. And I can see it as well with other people, because there's a cultural belief in finding "the one", as if there is some person out there that can complete you or fill you up, similar to what I mentioned about gods above. Yet, I can't say for myself that it's really about having someone fill a hole, so much as being with someone I feel I can relate to...which doesn't take away from the fact that there could be some projections/expectations, etc involved. What I'm really aware of however is that whatever sense of emptiness I feel about this ultimately is my own. And when I stop trying so hard to bridge that distance that I perceive, it actually can become less, because I'm no longer allowing it to control me. I can appreciate the moments of connection I do have, instead of trying to find some idealized connection.
7-20-09 In further discussion with Lupa, I was able to voice something I've felt, but not spoken of before, which was feeling a deep feeling of unworthiness for this person, and realizing that the basis for that feeling originates from so much of my early familial interactions, where I was treated as being unworthy of whatever I got. Recognizing that and voicing it was liberating.
7-25-09 As I've been working with the element of emptiness, I've been able to identify situations that bring it out more and in those situations, work with the feeling proactively. Feels pretty good when I can take that kind of control over what I'm feeling. I'm not stopping the feeling or repressing it, but I am finding healthier ways to express it and let it go.
7-26-09 There was a point tonight where I realized with vivid clarity something about a situation in my life, which allowed me to see that situation in a completely different light and realize that continuing to put energy toward it was needlessly wasting my energy and mental and emotional health on something which didn't matter. But until you have those realizations, you do put energy toward whatever bothers you about a situation. I've done it, other people have done it, and it will happen again and again. But you challenge the patterns that inform that direction, the history, and you can begin to change the pattern to something different. That's how I feel as I've continued working with my emptiness. I've challenged and changed the patterns, instead of continuing to act in the same old ways I used to.
7-27-09 Been mulling over the last nine and a half months of this emptiness working. It's an interesting experiment for me, as much as it's a chance to continue refining who I am. The conscious choice to shape my identity, and also to sit with my emptiness. The last couple couple of days has given me ample food for thought about my family and how they've influenced my life, up to and including my emptiness, but also how much of that can be changed by being able to recognize the influences...and also my own role in sustaining and passing on those influences.
7-30-09 Yesterday, I felt really empty inside at one point. I looked at everyone around me and I felt like they all had something I didn't have. I know that's an illusion, because I'm sure at least some of them feel empty as well. After sitting with the emptiness for a while, I stopped dwelling on it and focused on interacting with the people. Later that night, Lupa and I had a long talk about our relationship, and about the distance we sometimes feel towards each other. It was a rough conversation at times, but it was a good one, because we put it all out on the table. Afterwords, I felt closer to her, because I felt like we'd acknowledged something about each other. And thinking about it further, I have to admit that sometimes the distance I might feel is perceived distance, which doesn't make it less real, but does mean some of it's in my attitude/approach to the relationship. But I'd rather admit there's distance and know I need to talk about it, than bottle it up and not resolve anything.
8-04-09 Spending time with a partner shows you what their good and bad aspects are, as well as your own. For me the last weekend was tough because it was hot out and both Lupa and I were irritable with each other. Even so, every time after I felt that irritability, I also felt recognition of the bond that connects us. I have been doing some thinking, though, about what I'm looking for in another partner. I no longer feel that I'm trying to fill up or cover up my emptiness with relationships. I know, realistically that'll never happen. But when I still feel desire to have a companion, I can now be more honest about that desire with myself, and others. I know what I'm looking for in a partner and why that's important to me, and I've decided that it's time to put some magic into the process. It's always worked before, and I'm ready to handle whoever manifests in my life, because I no longer am trying to fill up my emptiness with someone.
8-06-09 Had a nightmare this morning where I ended up alone and could not find my way home, because every road lead south and my home was to the north. I woke up, feeling alone, scared, wanting to reach out and touch my partner, but also not wanting to wake her up. Later today Lupa offered to do a soul retrieval for me, noting that when people feel emptiness, it could indicate that they have lost part of their soul. While I agreed to let her do so, I did point out that a lot of the stigmatization toward emptiness focuses on trying to fill it up, as if it should not exist, instead of trying to simply acknowledge and accept it. As much as I have struggled with emptiness, and I have, and still do, that lesson of acceptance has repeatedly been what has helped me come to moments of peace with it, moments which are slowly growing, as I learn to struggle less. I think emptiness is part of the human condition, something we all experience, even if not all of us will admit it. It is easier, on the surface, to just fill it up with activities, consumer goods, sex, lovers, friends, etc. But to feel it...to really feel it is some times the most exquisite experience I have felt. And other times the most painful.
8-09-09 This month has been interesting to observe for I've seen it essentially as a month which has really forced me to focus my awareness of emptiness on my relationship with Lupa. I don't think this is a bad thing, if anything it's been quite an enlightening experience. It's fair to say that I've come to feel a better sense of appreciation for her presence or are relationship despite, and perhaps because of some of the adversity we've been dealing with. It has been helped by coming to closure about how I feel about other relationships that impact our relationship, and recognizing from those other relationships where I've been and also where I no longer am. Getting clear on my feelings, in concern to those relationships has taken a long time, and a lot of thinking, consideration, and feeling. I feel like I'm starting to arrive, which probably doesn't make sense to most reading this, but makes perfect sense to me...I've been in the zero of emptiness for just about ten months, gestating...I'm just about due.
7-10-09 One of my favorite anime series is Rah Xephon and part of what I like about it is the music. All of it is very evocative music. Some of the music is very sad in its sound. When I listen to this music, I listen to it at times when I feel melancholic...and find release in what I hear. The same has been true of a lot of the music I've listened to with emptiness. I'm evoking emptiness through that music and coming to a place of emotional closure.
7-11-09 While I was visiting an acupuncturist I'm doing a business trade with, I did my daily meditation and ended up meditating about a conversation that focused on sex magic and the traditional role vs the contemporary role of the woman in sex magic. What I realized was just how idealized the role of the woman in sex magic is, regardless of whether it's traditional or non-traditional. There's this kind of approach, for male magicians, and I include myself in that, where the female is idealized, but also objectified by the idealization...and for me realizing how much of that idealization has really been a desire to somehow feel completed by this person, as if everything would become perfect through the union of opposites. Maybe it would for a second, or maybe it's just a delusion fed to the self as a way of trying to strive for something. But whatever is attained, still more is wanted, because there is no sense of satisfaction...that's my conclusion about the idealization of women in sex magic, but also in some senses just another layer of recognition, another set of scales falling off the eyes (though this particular set had already mostly fallen off).
7-14-09 I find guilt to be mostly self-indulgent feeling. I know some readers will recoil when they see that, for isn't guilt supposed to show that you feel bad for whatever it was you did? And I suppose it shows you feel bad, but if guilt only does that, it seems to mainly be a way of flagellating the self, for the self's benefit and perhaps to show others that yes I recognize I did or didn't do something. At the same time, while guilt puts on a good show of displaying how bad someone feels, unless action is taken, it's ultimately superficial. You can feel bad for not doing what you could do, but if you choose not to change it, all that feeling bad really does is give you an excuse to say, "See I know I'm bad." Great, you know that...and?
Different people, in the past, have argued that displaying and feeling guilt is good...that it shows that the person is aware of what s/he did...but guilt without action is merely a reaction and self-indulgence for getting caught in the act. It is only when you decide to take a course of action to change the behavior that caused you to feel guilty that you can then say guilt has served a purpose...motivating you to be better because you don't want to hurt someone the way you did before. I say that with the weight of experience, for this emptiness working, and the other workings of the past few years have all been motivated by a desire to change from who I didn't want to be, to someone I could like and respect...and someone who would do his best not to hurt the people he cared about. I think I'm much closer to the latter person than the former, which is something I couldn't have said even a year ago, but all of this work is tempering me, and the dross which falls away is left behind, not really needed anymore.
In thinking about the emptiness working, I've realized that I haven't actively worked with the entities I associated with it for quite a while. At some point, I realized I couldn't continue to hold on to their hands...I had to let go and fall, and hit bottom. Xah is still a distant background presence, but the emperor is gone...he served his purpose and left, on to others to teach what they could learn. But Xah is both near and far...he doesn't need to be directly involved, but at the same time, he keeps a watchful eye on me. Given that he is me, I shouldn't be surprised...but all the same I do feel alone in this working at this point, and I'm rather content with that. The last few months has also seen my magical practice not so much fall to the side as take a backseat to my business. My business is where my manifesting energy is going...and while magic is still important, I also feel it fits the emptiness working. Everything that previously had meaning in my life has in some form or another gone away, become empty, because you can't really experience empty you've given away what had meaning to you. I know, I'm busy with my business, which must have some meaning to me...and it does, I won't deny that, but my business, the actual business really came into existence during my emptiness ritual...I see it, ironically, as a manifestation of meaning that brings me the greatest level of comfort I've ever felt. I couldn't find that comfort in the arms of others, or in the usual distractions I provided myself. I could only find it in exercising my skills and talents, while also substantially changing the superficial layers of myself to reach into the depths and pull out the meaning I really needed to see...in myself and in what I can meaningfully offer to others.
7-17-09 Seems kind of appropriate that this entry ends on the first day my wife is gone on her first of two trips. This month has felt like the emptiness perspective on my relationship with her. It's been a hard month for me, and her, for various reasons. Yet at the end, I can't help but note that I do miss her and her presence. My house is empty right now. There's something missing, something essential to the equation of this home. I know it will come back, but I also know it is not there. It's a good reminder that no matter what tribulations you experience with someone, what you miss when that someone is not around speaks louder than any of those tribulations.
It's been a while since I've written about my work with Elephant, mainly because there's been nothing to write about. I've been busy reading and researching more about Elephants and their relationship with humans, per Elephant's request. What I've learned, particularly in reading The Astonishing Elephant by Shana Alexander has been really eye opening in terms of how intelligent Elephants are, the uneasy relationship they have with humans, the abuse and poaching, and the uncertain future for elephants. After reading up on Elephant, Monday night I was allowed to take my next step in working with Elephant. I put on a bracelet of elephant hair, given to me by a friend and then meditated with a statue of elephant, which had a similar bracelet place around its neck. The meditation lasted over an hour and involved a long conversation about what I had learned, how it made me feel about Elephant and what my relationship with elephant could possibly be. What I really remember from it was facing the full force of elephant as a being that could easily kill me as a human, and recognizing in that experience a certain awareness that I think many people never experience, namely the recognition that in the right circumstances I could easily be killed by an animal regardless of my "superior" reasoning, etc. In fact, Elephant pointed out that the image that humanity had cultivated for itself has lead to so many of the problems that humanity faces as a result.
I did a similar meditation today and Elephant asked me to wear the bracelet for part of the day. This time we focused on what we could offer to each other. Elephant pointed out that I could help out by looking into contributing in some form or another to efforts being made to help elephants. In turn Elephant told me that it could help me with some memory and spatial awareness concepts. Wearing the bracelet for a good part of the day was interesting...a distinctly different feeling and energy than my own.
Review of The Astonishing Elephant by Shana Alexander
This was an interesting exploration of the history of the elephant in America, from the circus days to the most recent times. The author also covers the history of the elephant in other cultures and then discusses at length the current fate of the elephant. What surprised me the most was just how violent elephants and humans have been to each other, as well as just how much we don't really know about Elephants. The method of communication that elephants have fror instance is much more sophisticated than many people would attribute to animals.
I found this book to be the most useful in my continued studies of Elephant as a spirit animal to work with. I definitely feel I know more about the issues surround Elephant survival and treatment, than I'd previously known about before I'd read this book.
five out five.
So as some of you may know, my next solo work is focusing on the concept of identity and how it fits into magic. It's rather fitting then that the last year and 3/4ths has been focused on changing my own identity in a variety of different contexts from my relationships with lovers and friends, to my relationship with my self, and how I've chosen to engage in meaningful activities that allow me to fully live, as opposed to just getting by. To me, success in magic is driven far more by a targeted proactive approach toward manifesting the kind of person you want to be, and much less toward obtaining specific results for specific situations. At one time, for most of my magical career it was the latter paradigm that I was focused on. It was a reactive approach I took, and I sometimes didn't understand why I needed to do it so much.
I think that as a person consciously changes his/her identity and figures out what s/he wants, the less there is a need for reactive acts of magic. Magic becomes a process, as opposed to an act. It becomes a way of life as opposed to a tool used to handle a situation. It becomes a conscious agreement with the universe about the pathv a person is taking through the universe, and becomes less of a stumbling around in the dark.
Of course that's my take on magic, in large part generated by very specific and targeted changes in my life, lifestyle choices, and overall focus. The change in my identity has so far been one of the most involved experiments I've done and has pretty much involved challenging every single assumption I've held about not only magic but all the other facets of my life. The uprooting it's caused in my life has been significant and yet that significance is based far more in taking such a proactive approach to identity, by recognizing what no longer worked and actively focusing on changing it, while discovering what definitely works and enhancing it.
When I finally get around to writing my next solo book, it will be interesting to see what I do with it...but I'm in no hurry on this one. I've already got so much going on and it's far more exciting to be living it.
I came across a really interesting article about daydreams, which explains that letting your mind daydream can actually activate the problem-solving capabilities of the brain. I definitely agree that this is the case. When I've been working on a diffuclt problem, I will stop and daydream and often have the answer afterwards, because I've essentially let my mind do a bit of creative thinking about the problem. Daydreaming is imagistic thinking...thinking in images, which is a very effective way of processing ideas and concepts. The other night I lead a friend through a pathworking, and noted a similar case, wherein she was able to process a lot of information and come to some conclusions, because the pathworking lead her through memories, but also employed imagistic thinking to solve the situation that she was dealing with. Granted a pathworking is a guided meditation, but it employs the same problem solving capacities of the brain.
Meditation works in a similar way. It allows you to vent the mind of all the information it's gotten, and then reorganize that information so that it makes more sense. It's one reason I meditate everyday. It allows me to effectively organize and understand the information I've encountered over the course of the day.
It's amazing to realize how something such as daydreaming or meditation or pathworking can actually help you approach the world in a manner that allows you to solve problems faster. When I meditate, and I've reorganized the information, I've also set myself up to effectively put only the needed energy toward what I wish to do with that information. Letting your mind wander for a bit, can be the best medicine for it...it provides you tangets to discover connections that allows you to understand whatever it is you are trying to solve.
I just finished reading the Madness of George W. Bush by Paul Levy and in it, he mentions something which speaks to what I often find problematic when it comes to political activism, namely the tendency to demonize the people being demonstrated against: The (arche)typical political activists, in fighting against Bush as if he was separate from themselves, unwittingly act as a conduit to create and sustain the very thing they are fighting against. By fighting Bush, they are unconsciously reacting against something in themselves, which simply perpetuates the diabolical polarization in the field. Political activists resisting Bush without realizing that he is an embodied reflection of a part of themselves, lack genuine compassion. Not recognizing what they are fighting against is something within themselves ultimately causes them to not be helpful. On the contrary, they are secretly complicit in perpetuating the very problem to which they are reacting...reactive resistance is a habitual pattern in which we are unconsciously reacting to something out of fear and avoidance, which just gives power to the very thing we are resisting. In reactive resistance, we are possessed by and complicit in the evil we are fighting against.
Levy does also focus on proactive resistance:
Proactive resistance is an activity in which we consciously and creatively respond out of a sense of empowerment. Proactive resistance is when we step into the role of standing up for ourselves when our situation invites-or shall we say, demands-that we pick up this role. Proactive resistance is when speak with our true voice, a truly loving, healing, and compassionate act.
I wish Levy would've focused more on the prpactive resistance and how one becomes proactively resistant...but I agree with the point he makes, and in fact it speaks to my own issues when it comes to political activists, because so often what I really see is an us vs. them mentality with them being demonized as much as possible. The demonization, ironically, actually gives more power to the people being demonized, because suddenly they are larger than life demons actively plaguing the world. Certainly Bush was treated as a demon while he was president, which in many ways reinforced his power. But the same can be applied to how people treat cops for example. Cops, to one degree or another, are often demonized as a force which is out to repress, brutalize, and otherwise beat down people who show dissent. Rarely, if ever, do protesters actually consider that the cops are human beings as well (and yes I'm guilty of this to some degree as well). I say that, because the writing I see all too often from peopel who consider themselves political activists is focused on objectifiying and demonizing what they don't like, while not even recognizing that in doing so they are acting out the very same kind of oppression, close-mindedness, and to some degree bigotry they claim to hate.
It's much harder to treat someone you genuinely don't like with compassion, but I often find that what you don't like in someone is usually a mirror to an issue you don't like about yourself. That's not to say the person doesn't demonstrate behavior that is dislikeable, but what buttons is that behavior pushing in you? Learning to be compassionate, with yourself, and with others necessarily makes those people human to you...and actually takes away a lot of the power in the demonization that they would otherwise receive. It's certainly something to remember...do I really need to put so much energy into someone that I make that person into a demon who can wield such power over me that I do whatever I can to demonize them even further? Seems to me the person who is demonized wins in a way...because you can't see that person as a person...you see that person as an embodied force which has power over you.
The solution then is to view the person as a person...to be compassionate toward that person while still holding to your values and boundaries. Once a person is no longer demonized, you've reclaimed your power. You are no longer resisting, but instead acting on the situation.
Review of the Madness of George W. Bush by Paul Levy
I found this book to be an insightful look at how George Bush has been demonized and how that's really reflective of a process of how people externalize their own issues and project them on to other people. Levy builds a strong case for how the madness and demonization of Bush is ultimately something we are all responsible for by our choice to treat Bush as a being of such evil and harm and ignorance that we can't see the human person that he is.
If there's one thing I really would have liked to have seen from Levy, it would be more focus on the solution to the madness of Bush. He only writes a few chapters on that solution and ultimately doesn't spend enough time showing how it can be implemented or how to utilize the concepts he speaks of to make active and healthy changes in our lives. He's able to prove his point about how the shadow self can manifest and be projected, but more focus on what to do with that shadow self, how to work with it, etc., would have been really nice.
4 out of 5 dreamers
3-15-09 I'm in a foul mood tonight. I essentially got told by my spirit guide for this working (one of them anyway) that I have to step up and face my fear of being alone, and accept the very real possibility that I may always be alone. He feels that this fear and the desire that goes along with it is holding me back from a lot of things I need to accomplish. I can't even disagree with him, because I see his point. He's right...this fear is holding me back and he's pointed out that I need to work with the Hermit to deal with this fear...and I don't want to. I feel really resistant and angry, because I just don't want to go into this space. Yet I know I need to. This fear goes hand in hand with my fear of being consumed by my emptiness. I deal with one, I find the way to deal with the other. And I will do this, but tonight I just feel...angry, vulnerable, and yes, very, very alone. In some ways I'm finally realizing just how much some of my desires have lead me to attachments, which have held me back...and I feel pathetic for letting it happen...yet also realize a profound point I read just yesterday. "Thou are but mortal" I am mortal...I have my weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and attachments. And that's part of the human experience...accepting that what you may want, etc., may never ultimately occur. It's a place I don't want to go, but I have to.
3-16-09 I started work with the hermit today and he wasn't pulling any punches with me. He spoke with me about my fear of being alone and showed me the connection to my fear of being consumed by emptiness. Then he pointed out that a big reason the Sith mythos had come up a lot in this working is because of that fear, reminding me that the character of Darth Vader had his fall because of his inability to accept his fear, while acting on it. He asked me at the end if it would really be so bad if I did realize that I am alone in certain fundamental respects. I have no answer for him, but I do acknowledge just how much that fear has fed into expectations I have about relationships I get involved with.
3-17-09 Today the Hermit showed me how my fear of being alone links into the fear of being consumed by emptiness. The latter fear is fear of the loss of ego/individual personality, but the former fear is linked to the latter in the sense of not having anyone to connect with, in order to anchor that identity and also to stave off the emptiness. Convoluted? Yes...but interesting as well, because it does show how one fear can be linked to another or as Tsultrim Allione put it, how one demon is a relative to another demon.
3-19-09 Last couple of days has been crazy busy, so I ended up jotting down keywords to remember for this part of the post...On Tuesday, in therapy, got into a really long conversation, which essentially boiled down to me recognizing some very fundamental issues about my feeling of disconnect with Lupa. What I realized is that sometimes I don't really feel she connects with me on an empathic level. And to be fair to her, I know sometimes I don't, because I'll get caught up in trying to find a solution as opposed to actually listening to her and what she has to say about a situation...as well as showing empathy for what she is feeling in that moment. And this issue extends fairly deep into our communication with each other. Sometimes she feels that when I tell her about some technique or experiment I'm doing, that there's an expectation that I will want her to do it, while I actually simply want to tell her about something I find interesting. Realizing this, as well as realizing how this disconnect has occurred in other areas of our communication has given me a better perspective on how to handle communication on my end. I've caught myself several times starting to offer solutions, and stopped myself from doing it, realizing that I wasn't listening to her like I really needed to. So I'm going to work on being more empathetic in my listening with her and with others.
The other day, after a date, I felt a large sense of emptiness. I'd had a wonderful time, really enjoyed my date, but I felt empty afterwards and I felt unsatisfied on some deep level, and I realized it had nothing to do with the date and everything to do with how I've approached relationships. And in fact the Hermit and Xah agree.
I've been asked by the Hermit whether I really know what enough means when it comes to relationships. What, he asks, is enough for you? When do you feel satisfaction with the relationships that you have? When do you stop seeking and start appreciating? And my answer is that I've never really stopped at all. I'm terrified I'll miss out on an opportunity with someone if I do say enough...and yet I am missing out on my relationships with the people I do have in my life. I am missing out on those moments of intimacy and connection, because I am so busy trying to attain some "ideal" relationship, some perfect union...and never really stopping to see if I could already have it, or better yet, simply acknowledge what I do have and feel grateful for having it. If you always seek and never stop, what do you really have in the end? That's what the hermit has asked...Both he and Xah point out that my fear is stopping me from enjoying a lot of my life as much as I could and also stopping me from getting to a lot of pursuits I could be doing, because of how much energy I'm putting into searching for some ideal magical partner. Today a friend pointed out that if I stop looking and just be still, maybe what I've looked for so much will finally manifest. And maybe it will, but whether or not it does, I'd like to actually stop and appreciate what I do have...
3-21-09 The last few days I've been watching/observing/monitoring my awareness and I've recognized that sometimes I get really caught up in seeking, in trying to find a person, so caught up in it that I don't enjoy the moment I'm in. Catching myself in this behavior is unpleasant...It's not a behavior I care for, but consciously acknowledging that part of me is always trying to find someone to fill me up is important. The hermit tells me that this is where so much of my energy has gone, and I see it, in my awareness of this seeking on my part. I've always tried to find something in someone else to fill me up, to somehow complete me, yet nothing I've found has ever done that. I'm reminded of a scene in one of my favorite fantasy books, where the character has just killed his mistress and his cousin who was sleeping with his mistress, after discovering that they were sabotaging his company. He is called out by his best friend on the fact that he finds yet another woman desirable. That friend tells him that he's really just trying to fill up something in himself with those people, but not looking within himself at all. And that sounds like me (sans the killing part). I've looked and looked and looked...I've caught myself wondering if such and such person was going to be the magical partner I was always looking for...and I've neglected in the process some of the most important relationships I do have.
It's hard to admit that, and hard to face the fact that some part of me has been so desperate to fill myself up with something and that I've looked for so long to other people, put so much of my energy to finding someone, without really asking myself why or what it was accomplishing. Recognizing this is the first step and recognizing how it's tied to my fear of being alone and being consumed is also part of why I've looked so much, to find someone who somehow takes all that fear away. But no one can do that for me, except me. It's time to stop looking so much and start appreciating what I have and also find in myself, the resources I need to handle my fears and the emptiness.
3-22-09 The Hermit is the seeker, which is ironic I guess, but in a ways perhaps not, because who better to know when to stop seeking than the seeker? Well he seems to know that anyway. I'm still learning that I don't have to continue seeking, that it might be unhealthy to do so. I'm also learning to let go of the past...because what was can sometimes hide what could be.
3-24-09 Therapy today provided useful for externalizing some of my internal stream when it comes to how I deal with romantic possibilities. The fact is I've devoted a fair amount of mental and emotional energy to finding the idealized one...right down to fantasizing what it would be like to date this person or that person. I've caught myself doing it a few different times this week and when I catch myself doing it, I don't punish myself, but instead ask what it is I really see in that person that makes me think whatever it is I'm thinking. And usually it's illusion of some kind or another...little hopes flittering about, but not with much in the way of substance.
The other thing I've been realizing is that I can give myself permission not to have sex or be involved with someone just because that person feels interested in me. I haven't always realized that...or rather I haven't always had good boundaries about it. I've felt that if someone showed interest, I should show interest in return, even if I wasn't really interested, because maybe I'd miss out on an opportunity or maybe this person would be the idealized lover. Needless to say, this kind of choice or behavior on my part isn't exactly healthy and has hurt some people as well as myself in the past. So realizing I can say no, realizing I don't actually have to sleep with someone is really powerful. I can say no...I can choose to let an opportunity go by and better yet I can simply appreciate the person as a friend, instead of having to make her into a lover.
3-27-09 "You live too much in the future" I was told that last night by the Moon Goddess. In meditating with the Hermit today there was some agreement, a noting that looking toward the future so much is its own sign of seeking for something to fill me up, and again the question, "When is what you have in this moment enough? When do you know you have enough?" I'm left with no answer, because I don't know. I just realize that both the Moon Goddess and the Hermit are right. I do spend a lot of time in the future, as opposed to just appreciating the present. And I recognize how much that behavior has created my seeking, as well as feeding my fears when it comes to being alone. I realize that part of me seeks stability, seeks some kind of grounding in the relationships I have with people, but also attempts to fill this void up within me with those relationships, while not actually standing still and being present in the moment. I suppose I always looked to the future, because in the circumstances I grew up in, I always wanted to get away from the present I lived in. Now though, I don't know if that's so wise or helpful...when is this moment enough?
3-29-09 We went hiking today and while we were hiking I experienced my fear physically. I could feel myself shaking a bit. I felt this fear and I realized it was the experience of the fear I feel on a really deep level. This fear pervaded every part of me and when I felt it, I recognized it as that fear of being alone. I also recognized it as what has motivated me so often to focus on the future, instead of living in the present. That fear has pushed me to try and stabilize my life with relationships or plans that allow me to predict and control the future and consequently the present as much as possible. The key word is control. I'm sure I'm not alone in doing this, but I don't think it's been so good for me or others. I reflected today that marrying Lupa was motivated by fear of her leaving. By marrying her, I made her a more stable part of my life, insured she'd stay in it longer. I didn't live, in the moment, with her. I didn't experience the present as it actually occurred, because I was so busy trying to plan it, and project my expectations into it. When I realize all this, I don't try to judge or blame myself. There's not much use to doing that. Instead, today I felt the fear and I talked about it with Lupa and I acknowledged how I felt about spending so much time planning my future out so much. I don't like how it makes me feel. I don't like planning my relationships so much. So I'm going to do my best to live in the moment, and accept it for what it is.
4-01-09 Therapy, yesterday, proved helpful in further exploring the fear I mentioned above. A lot of what I came to realize/process is that the fear arising out of my early childhood no longer serves a purpose in my life and actually distracts me from being present with myself or anyone else. I catch myself daydream, flitting into the future a lot. It's startling to recognize just how regular this activity is...and underneath recognize the fear that informs it. My fear doesn't need to define my relationships, if I don't want it to, or me. In therapy I discussed how I've been recognizing this fear of being alone, of being consumed by my emptiness as something which has made me plan out so much of my life in order to create an illusion of safety and control for myself. It's terrifying to give up that safety and control, but exhilarating as well, because if I'm not holding on so tight, then perhaps in letting go I can really start to appreciate the opportunities and situations for what they really are, genuine moments of being present and alive and with myself and anyone else I happen to be with in that moment.
4-3-09 This seems to be rather accurate about my life, for the moment. Or rather it's another message which correlates with messages from other independent sources. Then again...if you look for a pattern long enough, you're bound to find or create one. And this is a bit new agey.
4-5-09 As I continue to sit with my fear this month, I find the emptiness less harsh than before. By burrowing down so far into my own issues, and into the feelings which inform those issues, I've also set free a lot of the emptiness within me. There are days where I can barely feel it, where it's just a ghost of how it usually feels. I don't pretend that the emptiness will go away, but I will admit, not feeling it as much is something I wouldn't mind continuing to feel. Yes I wish to be more comfortable with it, to accept it for what it is. Sometimes I'm not sure if I can do that, and other times I think I can.
4-6-09 And then there are days, like today where I feel really empty, hungry, desperate...where it seems like nothing I do makes that emptiness feel better. The hermit and I talked about this quite a bit in my meditation today and he noted that it felt as if I was trying to run from my emptiness, by doing any and everything I could not to feel it. He's absolutely right...yet nothing I do takes it away, and in some ways it only deepens it. I feel like a shriveled husk today.
4-7-09 In therapy, we ended up getting into an interesting discussion about the history of some my methods for dealing with feelings of emptiness. Aside from coming away with an appreciation of just how much I have changed as a person, as well as recognizing that I have developed healthier methods for encountering my emptiness, I also realized I am at the right place, right now, to work with the fear I feel when it comes to sitting with my emptiness. I'm encountering layers of progression in this work...Obsession to surrender, anger to compassion, fear to whatever it may or may not lead to. There is evolution here, even if at times I have trouble recognizing it.
4-10-09 In therapy, something we reviewed was some of my sexual behaviors and while I've already in some ways realized this, the following clicked into place in a way it previously hadn't: I use sex to escape my emptiness. Not all the time, but it is a way for me to establish a sense of identity, or rather reaffirm that identity, whilst also feeding my emptiness something which isn't me. I know I've said that one way or another before, but it made more sense this latest time...it's realizing that just like when I used to be a cutter, where I'd use pain to deal with my emptiness, so too has sex been another way to deal with that feeling and fear of emptiness. Not the best way, not necessarily healthy, but what I developed as a way to cope with that fear. But I don't want to do that anymore and so I'm continuing to use the feed your demon technique to help me process how I relate to my emptiness and my fear. Here's a quote relevant to this topic from Toward a Psychology of Awakening by John Welwood:
"When we have shut fear out of our awareness, it remains frozen deep within the body, manifesting as background anxiety, tension, worry, insecurity...Seeking a "fix" cannot lead to genuine healing because it keeps us in the same mind-set - wanting our experience to be other than it is - that created our dis-ease in the first place. Our natural healing resources become mobilized only when we see and feel the truth - the untold suffering we cause ourselves and others by rejecting our experience, thus shutting down our capacity to be fully present. When we recognize this, our dis-ease starts to become conscious suffering. As our suffering becomes more conscious, it starts to awaken out desire and will to live in a new way."
I would have to say that this accurately represents my process right now. I am realizing that the "fix" is just causing me and others more suffering, and also realize that to truly relax into my being involves actually experiencing the emptiness, the fear, the suffering and being present with it as it is, so that I can discover how to live in a new way where I'm more aligned with the harmony of my life. Needless to say reading this just makes some of my experiences sink in even more, for recognizing just how much I've run away from feeling my fear and emptiness, or tried to, and ended up suffering more for doing so.
4-11-09 Sometimes it really does take some hard realizations to make you realize that what you are doing doesn't work. A moment of clarity arrives and you are present in that moment and you realize: This behavior is helping me, it's hurting me and everyone around me. It's just deepening the suffering I already feel. That's what this month feels like for me. In another way, I feel like I am all consuming being that offers nothing back to anyone, beyond my own detritus and rot. I'm so busy consuming, so busy trying to fill something up, I haven't stopped to feel what it's doing to me or note how it's killing me. In Toward a Psychology of Awakening, Welwood essentially says that you don't really become conscious until you actually feel what you're stopping yourself from feeling, and allow yourself to experience for what it is, instead of how you interpret it.
4-12-09 I've always found it amazing how I read exactly what I need to read, as it applies to this amazing journey I'm on, called Taylor's life. As I continue reading Toward a Psychology of Awakening, I've come across some more information about emptiness and all this work I'm doing which tells me that I'm definitely on the right path for me. Welwood says,
What shuts down the heart more than anything is not letting ourselves have our own experience, but instead judging it, criticizing it, or trying to make it different from what it is. We often imagine there is something wrong with us if we feel angry, needy, dependent, lonely, confused, sad, or scared. We place conditions on ourselves and our experience.
He says of Emptiness:
Emptiness is a term that points to the ungraspable, unfathomable nature of everything. Nothing can be grasped a solid object that will provide enduring, unshakable meaning, satisfaction, or security. Nothing is ever what we expect, hope, or believe it to be...Emptiness-the ungraspable, open-ended nature of reality-need not be depressing. For it is what allows life to keep creating and recreating itself anew each moment. And this makes creativity, expansiveness, growth, and real wisdom possible.
When I read both of these quotes, I recognize several things. First, I recognize how resistant I am to feeling emotions such as fear or sadness. Not that I can't feel them, but that I have resisted feeling them so much. Second, I recognize that my perception of emptiness has sometimes been exactly what has created so many problems for me. My fear of being consumed, instead of really being acknowledged by being felt, has been run from, abstractly approached, and other suppressed. So today, in meditation I did something I've never really done before. I allowed myself to fully feel my fear and just feel it, without judgment, without interpretation, without running. And eventually I realized it wasn't that scary to feel, and that by feeling it, I might just find some closure on some of the wounds I've finally been facing in this year's work.
4-13-09 Today when I started to distract myself from feeling my fear, I stopped and asked myself to just feel it. And it feels like a heavy weight in my stomach. Feeling it was feeling a sensation of turbulence, of dis-ease...Yet as I sat with it, the turbulence did diminish a bit. I just held my space instead of trying to find a way out.
4-15-09 I did some breathing meditation tonight and felt it begin to dissolve some of the fear, loosening up structures of tension in my body. It was a subtle, and deep feeling. I also did some thinking today about the relationships I've been involved in for the last six or so months, i.e. the potential lovers and such and realized that on some level or another I saw some patterns, which made me wonder why I'm attracting those patterns into my life, as well as what I can do to stop attracting those patterns in my life. I looked in myself and acknowledged that my insecurities are as much an attractor to certain people as the rest of me is. Continuing to work on and work through my insecurities is already yielding some good changes in my life, so this is just another layer to add to that.
4-17-09 This month was probably the hardest month of this working. Today the moon goddess and I talked. We'd had an argument, and we ended up working it out, but in the course of that I talked about how for a very long time I've operated out of a scarcity mentality. And at the root of that scarcity mentality is my fear. This month, for me, has been about realizing just how much my fear has informed my actions and choices, when it comes to romantic relationships, business, and life in general. This month I dealt with fear in a variety of forms: competition, jealousy, and being consumed by my emptiness. And I realized I made a commitment (actually a number of them, but this one was fairly recent) from a place of fear, from trying to secure a stabilized identity/future/whatever...but in the process missing out on living in the moment. My fear has motivated me to rush into and through relationships instead of just experiencing them in the moment...and I know that I need to slow down and live in the moment.
Living in the moment means embracing my fear, actually feeling it, living it...accepting it. Today, instead of trying to run away from my fear, I just sat with it, felt it in my body, and let it express itself. And I was scared, terrified...and free. I'm going to keep working with fear for a little while. It's only the last few days I've tried to be present with it, so I'll keep trying...see what happens...and know that all this shadow work is leading me to a better place...I'm rotting...but I'm also being refined.
It's April. Each year, in April, I remember when I first learned about magic, learned that it was real, learned that people practiced it, believed in it, did something with it. I was sixteen at the time. I was a born again Christian who was dissatisfied with the answers I'd gotten to my spiritual questions, as well as the rabid intolerance displayed by the other born agains. And as always I'd turned to my fantasy books, to read about other worlds, other lives, and most importantly the magic. One day, in April, this one kid sat me down in the school library and told me a story about how he'd astral projected and fought a demon. He was trying to freak me out, because he noticed I read fantasy books. So he was really surprised when I calmly told him to bring me books to read about this subject. He blinked, a bit surprised and then told me he'd bring them the next day. And he did. He brought a couple pamphlets about astral projection and magic. I devoured them within a day or so, eager to try out the exercises and begin unlocking the mysteries of the universe and myself. He was surprised at how quickly, how eagerly I took to the material and that weekend took me to the local new age shop, where I bought my first couple of books and started down my long road of magical practice. We became friends, and I kept reading and practicing, desiring both to be the best possible magician I could be, and also wanting to attain a sense of power in my life that I'd never really had before then.
Over time my motivation for practicing magic has changed a lot. Instead of trying to attain power or be the best possible magician I can be, I find myself in a place where I explore the spiritual questions, landscapes, and realities of magic from an experimenter/mystic's perspective...seeking not so much for self-glorification, but rather for increased awareness and appreciation of the connection between myself and reality.
And over time I've experienced a lot of disillusionment about the occult community and the various posturings I see within it, as well as the rather desperate need to be counter cultural and rebellious for the sake of being it, instead of offering any real solutions or efforts toward genuine change. I've become very selective about who I associate with and who I share a lot of my deeper work with. I've also learned that the best magical order you can belong to is the one you create yourself, even as I've also learned that I can be more a team person as it were than I used to be, but I also still prefer a lot of my solitary practices. And I've learned that any measure of success is ultimately subjective, and that the process speaks a lot more to my spirituality than any of my results have ever done. I'm on a journey, and it speaks for itself.
And now...I've practiced magic for half of my life. My practices have changed a lot. They are much more varied and deeper and far more focused on contemporary approaches to practice, as well as other disciplines. But still, each year, in April, I can't help but smile and remember that sixteen year old who discovered magic was real and started out on a journey which has brought him far more spiritual and personal satisfaction than any other prior spiritual exploration had. I've changed a lot, grown in many different directions, but there's still that part of me filled with wonder and excitement about at last discovering that magic was real! And I'm glad, even with some of my disillusionment, I can still find him after all these years.
Today Lupa and I went to the Portland Art Musuem and at one point made it to a floor which had some Art from different parts of Asia, including India. Some of that art included statues to Ganesha, and while I was there I learned that Portland is apparently well-known for liking elephants. I found this to be very interesting and synchronististic. Here's a little-known fact about me: Elephants are my absolute favorite animal in the world. I've always been fascinated by them and actually collect elephant statues, and would have to say that in some ways I do identify with elephant strongly. And certainly I seem to have similar memory traits as I generally remember wherever I've been and can trace the path pretty easily and have an intuitive ability to find my way around as well.
So tonight I decided to meditate and see out elephant. I'd gotten an elephant statue recently and I held it in one hand, whiel I meditated, using it as a link to connect with elephant. What ended up happening is that elephant found me on a prairie plain and asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted to know what the significance of his presence in my life was. He told me that if I wanted to, I could work with him more and he could show me how to get better at clearing my path of obstacles and finding the best paths to get to my goals. He showed me how he did this a lot, when seeking food and water, and said my search for business was essentially the same...trying to find my food and water...and that he could help. I think I'll be meditating with him further on this and seeing how he can help, but I'm definitely intrigued.
After my meditation with elephant, I decided to do a working with Apophenia, from the Apophenion by Peter Carroll. Basically I asked her to show me the random connections in my current situation, which is what she is known for, I used the elemental hexagon deck and the reading I got pretty much confirmed a prior reading, so it was an excellent way to test Apophenia, while also getting a bit more information on the situation I was doing the reading about. I'll start working with her a bit more proactively in the near future, but this time around just wanted to connect with her and that seemed to work pretty well.
2-16-09 I've been gone for a few days at pantheacon and a lot happened while there. On the flight in, I was reading Relaxing into your Being by B. K. Frantzis and in it he was discussing how meditation work initially is like a glass of water with red dust in it. The red dust swirls a lot, but as the water smooths itself, the dust settles and eventually you can see how it is separate from the water...likewise as you meditate and work through your issues those issues can be separated from the water of your consciousness. Then the true work comes, namely dissolving the dust, dissolving the issues, until all that is left it emptiness, consciousness, the Tao. As I was reading that, I realized very intimately that my experience with emptiness right now is really my experience with my dysfunctions and distortions of emptiness. It isn't the Tao, but my fear. There's still some red dust in the water, but not as much as four and some change years ago. I became aware of how far I have to go, but also appreciative that I could realize that and also that someday I will come back to the element of emptiness for a different experience of it, but that my current experience is healthy and useful for what I need it to be. I do feel like I'm achieving a healthier relationship with emptiness and this realization is part of that healthier relationship, but I also realized something equally important: I want to discover the Tao.
While at Pantheacon, I also realized something very significant about my experience there. It used to be that when I went to conventions or fetish events that I felt really empty and wanted to fill that up with people I saw. I'd feel desperate and wonder if this person or that person would somehow complete me. This con and also the fet events I went to, I haven't felt that compulsion. I did feel attracted to several people, and I realized what attracted me to those people is a desire to really get to know them as people and explore the energy and relationship between us. Much different from wanting to fill my emptiness up. And I didn't feel a particular need to act on those attractions, but to instead just observe, recognize, and release.
Yesterday I got into a discussion about vulnerability and a realization I had out of that is that I really don't like being vulnerable. Even when I write about it, in some ways I am distancing myself from it. Last night's interaction and some difficult emails from last week has really brought this to my attention in a needed way. And I recognize that no one likes to feel vulnerable...but still it just really hit me how much that does scare me sometimes because of my past and everything that happened to me. Having grown up in a situation where my vulnerabilities were preyed on a lot, it's not a surprise I really draw back into a shell when I feel vulnerable. It's something I'll work with more, now that I'm aware of it.
2-18-09 I tried working with my vulnerability further by being very open with someone I feel vulnerable with. It was scary to be very open with this person, but also empowering. And what was so empowering was that my focus was on the relationship and connection I have with this power, instead of being focused on trying to fill something up within me. I don't feel driven to try and fill something up...I can actually appreciate the moment and the connection. That's something I can genuinely say I've rarely felt before.
2-19-09 I find myself in situations where I am able to sit with myself and with someone else with genuine compassion for the suffering that person is feeling, with less judgment than I would've used in the past. That's not to say I don't feel judgment at all, but I'm much more aware of how much of that judgment is really rooting judging myself and then projecting that judgment on other people. A recent situation really clarified that for me, because I could actually see how I've judged others and how it may have made them feel, because of how I felt being judged. It brings it real close to home, when suddenly you feel put in a corner. You see how you may have done that to other people as well and then you ask, "Where does this really come from?" And speaking only for myself, I can safely say that my judgments of others does come from judging myself. So how much of my judgment is really accurate at all, when the root of it is based in my own feelings toward myself? If I'm going to judge anything, may I judge the actions and motives, but not the actual person. May I feel compassion for the suffering of that person and yet may I also respect myself enough to not allow that suffering to harm myself or others I love. And may I also continue to recognize and work with my own suffering so that I find resolution with it and also don't inflict it on other people.
2-20-09 Some really interesting insights came up in therapy, which make a lot of sense in regards to anger and how I handle vulnerability. Anger is my "safe emotion" It's the emotion I switch to when I feel uncomfortable with a situation. Makes complete sense to me, because it's an emotion about defense and protection, even as it's also an emotion about judgment and criticism. It's an emotion I've used to judge myself, without really communicating with myself. It's masked my vulnerability from me, even if it hasn't masked it from anyone else. As I've continued working with my relationship to anger, I've gradually uncovered the feeling of vulnerability underneath the anger and realized how much I've avoided feeling vulnerable, in order to avoid being hurt by someone. Question is whether I've really avoided being hurt. I don't think I have. If anything I've just avoided acknowledging how my vulnerability really makes me feel.
Thankfully as I've continued to get more comfortable with my anger, it's also me to work on being more comfortable with my feelings of vulnerability. I'm still pretty uncomfortable with feeling vulnerable. It's not something I'm used to admitting to myself, but I think the next step of my emptiness working will involve learning to sit with those feelings of vulnerability, while I also continue to improve my relationship with anger. Already I've gotten a bit better about actually expressing the emotion underlying my anger, so that instead of just yelling or bitching about something, I actually explain what the underlying emotion is. Small steps, but definitely helpful for making me feel a bit more comfortable with actually feeling my vulnerability and expressing it.
2-21-09 Tonight I realized something very important about how people have different standards of importance...as well as the fact that underlying my desire to have time with someone is really a need to feel important in that person's life. That last part is important, because so much of my life has involved me feeling neglected by the people who were in it, so much so that it quite naturally effects my standards of how people show me that I'm important to them. I need to keep that in mind, but also keep in mind that other people will have different standards of importance, which are equally as valid and need to be considered. And despite the shortness of this paragraph, that's quite a bit to consider.
2-22-09 I'd kind of been seeing a person for the last few weeks. Today it ended up not working out. I don't know if I should read more into it than is there...is this part of the emptiness working? I think it's more about her journey than mine in this case and what I take away from it, in my own journey, is that this time I was able to be very graceful about breaking it off and accept where she is, instead of getting upset because my expectations weren't met. I'm sad, but also accepting.
I wrote that earlier, but as the day progressed, I could feel my dysfunctions with emptiness rear up. I'm sitting with them, but I have to admit I don't like who I see in the mirror, right now. It's nothing anyone has done...it's just sitting with those parts of me, the anger, the desire, the fear...sitting and feeling. I'll relax into it, and let it swallow me into the dark well of emptiness.
2-24-09 The last couple of days have been insightful for me, since things were broken between myself and the person I was dating. What has been insightful is that I've had a demon rear its head again. It's not as strong, but I recognize now that by being in a relationship with someone, it anchored that need or grounded it, and once unanchored it once again became something which does not feel good to deal with. It also reveals, to me, a kind of desperate neediness on my part, in a sense. A co-dependence I suppose and I'm not sure I like that either. So I'm trying to sit with this demon and feed it what it needs. It's not easy. My sleep this morning was definitely uneasy as I came out of it thinking about this situation of feeling this desire and recognizing how this desire makes me feel when its expressed in a manner which is unhealthy. I'll keep working with it and being patient, but it does definitely bring up some uncomfortable feelings and realizations.
"Who's that ugly person staring at me?"
"Why that's you my dear."
Re-reading Frantzis's Relaxing into Your Being has been helpful for showing me that what I'm going through with this emptiness working is perfectly normal to be experiencing, when you are doing this kind of work. He mentions that one experience a meditator will have is that of Ru ding, which is a total fear of the death of your ego. And I have to admit, sometimes I have felt that fear. He notes that when you approach the core of your being is natural to want to run in the opposite direction or scream...check. I've felt that too, yet I know I have to stay in those moments, work through them, sit with them, accept them and if I can do that it actually is really good afterwards. And the breathing meditation lets me do that...I breath and I am here.
I also have to acknowledge that on some level I am feeling insecure in my relationship with my wife, because I recognize a feeling of disquiet about our relationship. Yet that disquiet is rooted in what I've discussed above. It's that same demon within me, wanting to have a need fulfilled, but not feeling like she could fulfill that need. And is she really supposed to anyway? A friend said recently I need to spend some time figuring out what I want for me. And he's right...and this demon is part of figuring that out. All the feelings and insecurities that come up are part of it all. What do I really want in my relationships, and also for myself, period?
2-25-09 Today I feel humbled. I realize just how far I have to go in my spiritual journey. Today I feel angry at myself, for my weaknesses, for feeling jealous, and for feeling angry in the first place. I "should" feel compassionate toward myself, but I just can't. I feel like a failure. I am someone stuck to my red dust, and to my habits, and my dysfunctions. If a human is half beast and half angel, most definitely I feel I am the beast today. I sit with my anger, and my jealousy and embody it as a demon and feed it what it wants, but still am left feeling unsatisfied with myself or my efforts. The sharp edges of my feelings are cutting me deep and I really wonder if I can handle that, handle a relationship dynamic I'm not entirely certain I want anymore, etc. The relationship dynamic issues, the demon as it were has really come out as I've considered what has motivated me to be involved with anyone at this point. What it is I'm trying to find with Lupa, another lover, or even a friend. What is the point of all of this? I don't know and I really feel lost today.
2-27-09 Therapy always provides some interesting insights. My therapist asked me, what if my needs, desires, etc. aren't necessarily unhealthy...what if some of my motivations are healthy, but that it's just that I've let the unhealthy needs set the course as it were? And I think it's a good question to ask. I guess I'd say that not all my reasons for my life choices have been unhealthy, but recognizing the reasons that have been unhealthy has made me do some re-evaluation about the kinds of relationships I want and what those relationships will mean to me. And of course it is helping me also understand my relationship to emptiness and how it feels to just sit with emptiness instead of having to try and change it. If I'm not trying to fill my emptiness, but just sitting with it, that does change the types of relationships I'm having with people. And I don't want my relationships to be based on trying to fill something up within me. I want to them to be much more about the actual people who I'm fortunate enough to share my life with.
3-2-09 I feel much less angry with myself than I ever have. There's still a lingering feeling of anger, but not nearly so strong and it's so surprising how much it changes how I feel in general. It's like a big burden has been removed. I actually feel really good and comfortable with my emptiness. It seems the anger aggravated it, which makes sense, but wow...how different it feels...how strangely different and beautiful.
3-3-09 Today I've been sitting with some feeling of anger over a situation where I've felt...unacknowledged for lack of better word. It's not a situation with anyone, or anything...but rather a desire to feel acknowledged. Yet in sitting with it, I wonder how much of it really is about my own sense of self-esteem as well. Seems to me that unattachment, the ability to be distinct, distant, and un-needing of anyone is valued a lot, and what do you do when you realize that isn't who you are? I don't like being distant or unattached. I like connection, resonance, feeling a shared and mutual interest. It's time for me to go a step deeper into the Emptiness meditation work. The layer is ready to be unpeeled.
I meditated for a while and the main impression I got? The fear of my emptiness consuming me, so thus trying to fill my emptiness up with other things so it doesn't consume me. And it makes sense in a very odd kind of way, even though it's clearly a dysfunctional relationship with emptiness. I don't think emptiness would consume me, but this fear, this new layer of issues with emptiness is definitely something I'll visit more, because it speaks of a deep issue with consumerism itself, when it comes to why people indulge in it so much...Are we as culture trying to fill our collective emptiness up, so we can avoid it consuming us?
3-4-09 In reflecting further on what I wrote above, it seems clear to me that many pursuits, if not all of them, offer a person a chance to feed emptiness, while trying to avoid it as well. That's true for me, anyway. I may not want to generalize for anyone else. Yet emptiness is all around us. In reading some more Toward a Psychology of Awakening by John Welwood, he notes something rather interesting: "Our most common experience of nonthought or emptiness is the appearance of little gaps between our thoughts - gaps that are continually occurring, though normally overlooked" He's right. There are gaps of emptiness which appear. If you think in words, the very momentary blip between each word is a moment of emptiness. Then again I think in music and have it on in my mind unless I'm listening to it and I wonder if that isn't just another way to avoid emptiness, even those microcosmic moments of experiencing it. Yet I can say there are times when I am comfortable with emptiness, comfortable with those moments, when that fear of being consumed is gone or somewhere else. Further meditation and reflection and reading will undoubtedly reveal more.
3-08-09 The last couple of days has involved an interesting process of reacting to a moment when I was very vulnerable and open with someone., as well as dealing with my tendency to be possessive/fascinated with the people I'm involved with. Being vulnerable is something I don't do well and there is a reflexive tendency to protect myself when it occurs, because I don't like how it makes me feel. This person can see into me and sees who I am...what will they do now. Readers could argue I'm being vulnerable on this blog, when I write about this stuff, but it's entirely different level of vulnerability, when in person.
The other issue of being possessive/fascinated is always a weird one for me. I am, by my nature, a fairly possessive/territorial person. I can adjust it somewhat, but it is something that never entirely goes away...It seems to be an integral component of my psychological makeup. I recognize it's a fairly selfish aspect of myself, but I also see it rooted in a desire to have a stable home life/territory with people. I like to know what is mine so that I feel secure about it. Yet, I see it relating to my issues with emptiness as well, as if by possessing something or someone I have something to protect myself from the emptiness. A lot to consider.
3-9-2009 Sometimes I find myself in a real fix, with my mind split on what I could do and whether I should do it...and the conflict that can occur sometimes. And in those cases, I sometimes feel terribly weak as a person because of that conflict. I know it's a conflict others deal with as well, but in that moment of feeling weak, all I can really acknowledge is that some part of myself does feel...weak. Moments like these occur much less than they used to be. As I become aligned with what I might think of as my true purpose. calling, destiny, etc., I find myself discovering an inner strength I never thought I possessed. And if I can just continue to sit with these moments of weakness and not necessarily act on them, I might find a capacity to embrace that strength, while also loving my weakness and letting it go.
3-10-09 Today I talked further with my therapist about my realization that underlying my desire to fill my emptiness up was a fear of having that emptiness devour me, devour my identity. She noted I felt a bit ungrounded and I had to admit that yes, I did...I'm not really sure what to do with this realization, or if there is anything I need to do with it. I'm still processing it, still figuring out what it means and how I feel about it. It's such an overwhelming feeling to feel that I need to handle it one little bit at a time, one tiny step...talking about it today was one step, who knows what the next step will be or when it'll occur. I know the fear is there...I know I need to sit with it, but first I just need to accept I feel it.
3-12-09 I've been meditating on the fear for the last two days and a very important realization came up. Sex, for me, has been a way to feed my emptiness, but also a way to avoid feeling my fear about being consumed by my emptiness. It's a multi-layered issue/demon. And it helps me understand the reality of what I'm dealing with when I'm doing this emptiness working. I'm dealing with a bunch of issues connected to how I feel about experiencing emptiness in my life.
3-13-09 It hit me fully today or at least much more today...my emptiness and my fear of being consumed by it as well as what that has meant in regards to my motivations. I felt this fear, felt this very real fragility in myself over acknowledging this fear of being consumed by my emptiness and what that actually means when it comes to my motivations for my choices. In feeling that fear, as opposed to just thinking about it, I got closer to emptiness than I have before.
Later in the evening, I did a tarot experiment where I determined my life/soul card, which turned out to be the Hermit card. We did a pathworking, where I ended up going really deep and allowing the hermit archetype to possess me. He didn't speak much, when questioned by the person doing the pathworking, but he did have a lot of information to give me about not only the emptiness working, but also, if you will, my destiny in this particular life. And what he told me made a lot of sense...answered a lot of questions...what it really boiled down to is being able to let go of what I've held onto for a long time, so I can take that next step on my spiritual path. Truth to tell that's just a really brief summary, but that's all I can offer on the experience.
3-14-09 Sometimes what you hold back eats at you more than what you are showing. When I can't share with someone in my life what I'm going through I feel like that person is no longer really a connection. And when I feel that way...I feel lost with that person. It's the end of this month, the second month focused on compassion. I feel more compassionate toward myself than I used to and maybe even somewhat compassionate toward other people. And I feel less combative toward this emptiness in my life...and yet also find myself on quite the precipice with it. I was telling someone the other day how tired I feel right now...this emptiness work is hard, harder than the love working, and while the progress which has been made has been so worth it, there comes a point in time where what I really look forward to is simply letting go. I am letting go of so much, but the path to that letting go is full of barbed wire and hard realizations. My feet bleed and my emotions hurt...I hurt. And I have seven months more of this...but what those seven months could be...is anyone's guess. I'm learning, I'm living, and yes, I'm experiencing my emptiness and my issues with it. That's something right there I've never done.