by Marcus If, May 2014
An abridged version appears in Black & Grey Magazine’s Satori issue, July 2014
Many years ago, as a young man newly stretching his limbs in the world, I was faced with the dilemma of conformity. First, it was the “behave yourself while we correct you, boy” of our megalithic social institutions and then it was the “welcome to our secular spiritual educational community” of upper academia, and both left a sour taste on my palate. The variance in prescriptions didn’t change the fact that both exhibited hierarchical structures destined to overlook the individual intelligence. I felt neither encouraged to conform nor welcomed by masks. Both sought to indoctrinate philosophies that superseded my actual experiences and refused me the right to act at will upon my thoughts, to even consider them in a light not bent towards the ‘greater good’ of their enthroned ontologies. What I did find, a symptom I had carried since childhood defiance, was what later became a precept I refer to as the Guru Falsehood: “No being can tell a man his mind; if you dare.”
The Zen Buddhist concept of Satori illustrates this point well. The major religions of our societies, vaunting themselves as being the last bastions of spirituality, spend the relative capital of entire national economies to indoctrinate their followers with a cursory understanding of the psychological programming that their belief system represents. These dogmas provide a simplified means of communication for members who are yet to experience a direct understanding of the ‘religious life’ the ecclesiasts attempt to describe in cryptic allegory. However, when an aspirant actually “glimpses their true nature” (Satori), this is not an event of any social relevance, it is not even communicable to others of the same tradition. The experience of this higher consciousness is not sharable at the mundane level, and so once it becomes part of the function of an individual mind it is entirely an internal paradox. Any surviving religion (or quantum mechanics) can put that experience into a neat metaphorical box, explaining that you’ve just had a chat with God, but these placations of tenured priests are no solace to the previously omnidimensional life-map that has just been fractured. Yet when we do ‘receive’ our first interactions with superconscious mind, we are so overwhelmed we scramble about like children attempting to confirm the winner in a game with no rules, no teams.
Throughout this experimental process of life I’ve watched my cohorts seek desperately around them for some place where they might be accepted, fit in to a pre-established hierarchy, work their way up some dubious ladder, get accolades, position, distinction from another dusty hierophant’s acknowledgement, and all the while I have thought: how can some other person truly judge what happens in this cortex of mine? What is this ‘enlightenment’ good for if said beings can’t even refresh my spirit-screen? Never have I met a living person or even literary ghost that taught me a notion that was not already available to my own internal inquiry. Not that I didn’t look for it; as that proverbial young man I desperately sought someone to confirm the elusive Truth.
Try as I might I could find no ‘wise guide’ to comfort me, not priest nor shaman nor scientist. It seemed as if every great teacher capable of engendering original thought had been co-opted long ago by the agendas of the thought police, and whatever truths they might have known were now corrupted into blatant advertising for the established consensus. For some decades I had a close friend who acted as a check & balance, each for the other calling “Bullshit!” when necessary, but as the lengthy years passed even he grew dormant and preoccupied with the Game of Life. So, like many of us, I ended up wobbling alone thru the minefield of socially-encrypted stratified meaning, occasionally getting my ass blown off in a futile attempt to “Be Somebody”, fulfill the American Dream. And in the varied phases of defiance that found me in prisons of my own making (marriage & substances) and those of society (dogmas & literal cages), I emerged with the same contempt for histrionics that had characterized my youth: there is no Other, no savior, who holds the Golden Key: we are each alone in the dis-covery.
Now by ‘dis-covery’ I imply that the truth is hidden, which in some senses it is, most notably by anyone who claims that your current array of truth is inaccurate, or that their dogma supersedes every other. However, your understanding of reality has been highly corrupted by a thousand generations of engrained religious doctrines and secular philosophies that were directly designed to contain the chaos of societies, and that must raise the question of do you agree with the given truths you operate under? Do they coincide with your actual experiences, especially those events that defy Logical explanation? Herein lies the problem of trying to plug individual empirical experience into the framework of polished ontologies. Was I just touched by a Christian Angel or an Extraterrestrial Scout? The layers of metaphor that we as a now linear thinking race have applied over non-linear events to justify them back in a linear world has left us with a tangled field of meaning that inadequately describes higher consciousness, and forces us to pull back the sheafs of many paradigms in order to compare the fruit of each to our own.
Friederich Nietzsche may have invested this quest as the Will to Power of the sociopathic Ubermensch, and Aleister Crowley may have downloaded it as the Will to Love of ancient avatars; both ontological constructs are indicative of the terminal result of our seemingly endless search for usable meaning. Robert Graves, a poet capable of ‘remembering the future’, found in the obscured wisdom of our pre-historic past a formula hidden, perhaps even forgotten, since the dawn of that tyrant Logic. That to become truly human takes guts / Will / let’s call it the embodiment of Hercules the demi-hero of so many cultures, whose basic tale of transformation from man into god is so deeply entangled in ancient cultures that its secrets were safeguarded in the design of the first alphabets. But to become such a human takes an infusion of the earthly Dionysian Ecstasy which empowers our desire to better ourselves, combined with the celestial Apollonian Grace which allows us to present individual results in our community. The esteemed occult researcher Colin Wilson said “How does Dionysus (formless energy / life-force) become Apollo (visible beauty)? Through ordering matter harmoniously, in accordance with secret laws of proportion, like the one Pythagoras stumbled on in music.” These three aspects, Ecstasy, Grace, and Will, guide us to our humanity, and we need not call it enlightenment or ascendance to recognize that the balance of our intelligence weighs on the scales of these attributes. And who shall proclaim that your Ecstasy or Grace is valid? Who but your own defeat of Ego can claim that your Will is Undivided?
The moment of Satori is the experience of the cosmic-level Ecstasy, a multi-verse-wide quantum wave function that never collapses, and it immediately makes irrelevant former power, gender, and survival issues. The human mechanism is geared for two responses to this event: to keep it as a ‘memory’, perhaps even repress it out of existence, in order to get back to business with those base drives; or to ride that wave when it hits, baby. Here’s where that Grace comes in, all your life-training, all your prior decisions, your entire capacity to Do not what you want but what is required to peak that wave. If you manage to ride the wave that internal paradox I mentioned, Free Will vs. Predetermination, is the board you use. The wave takes you right where you need to be, because ‘Destiny’ is a verb describing the combined potential of everything you were and will be, but it is only your own discerning Will that guides you further into the maze. This energy, Destiny, is that cosmic Ecstasy pushing you towards full realization of consciousness. There are no coincidences, only opportunities for Grace. And we, humble individualized beings, are afflicted with the concept of Free Will to allow us to completely disinherit living our own Destiny simply by vice of fear or sloth. Of what use is a text, or priest, or psychotherapist, when the time comes to make a Choice?
It is not necessary to wallow in prescribed traditions that have guided feeble minds through history’s nightmares; what have these paths done to stop the thought crimes we represent? It takes nothing more than perseverance, a willingness to destroy our own ontologies when they become no longer necessary, a steadfast yearning and determined movement forward to resolve the riddle of our existence: you exist Now in your current and hopefully ‘present’ state; deny this truth at your peril. There is no other Place, no divine reward, no jackpot in Vegas: you are as true to yourself as you allow, as ‘free’ as is pragmatically possible given the programs running in your brain. Programs that are now entirely your responsibility; how unfortunate that many were involuntarily installed in your bio-computer by social engineers molding your youth. Best I can suggest is to skip any concerted involvement in mass-produced psycho-spirituality, and instead give your dome an occasional reboot to check in on who has the license to your soul.