At this time we’re living through the collision of multiple crises. Politically, socially, economically and environmentally things are increasingly falling apart. I think we have probably reached a stage where no one is really in denial any longer. Even is someone claims things are all ok, it’s likely that they are feeling the multiple stressors on an emotional level and are acting out in some abhorrent way.
It’s clear from the way many people are behaving that the stress of these times is almost unbearable. From political leaders to our friends on Facebook it seems clear that common sense and common decency aren’t really playing a part. This is what happens to the human psyche when things get beyond the egos ability to control and direct it’s future.
The human ego is a set of conscious, and automatic but consistent, responses to the world. For many people, for much of the past, it has been a sufficient way to deal with the world. Our egos are programmed from our time in the womb, through early childhood and into our adulthood by our families and the society at large. For the most recent past that kind of programming was sufficient to enable us to be able to be functional in the world. There were rules that worked and well worn paths to follow. Knowing how to navigate them was easily passed on. We may look back and see huge error in the way humanity has lived, however it got us through the day, until round about now!
Up until our current time, holding onto the status quo was acceptable, even ideal. At the very least it was normal! Change was slow and incremental and nothing much changed in the basic structure of how things are.
Times have changed!
Right now we are sitting with a collision of crises. The ego as it has been developed over the last few hundred or even thousand years is of little use to us anymore. The paradigms of good and evil, inferior and superior, heaven and earth and actually any of the dualities but especially good and evil no longer hold. We are being asked in no uncertain terms to go beyond the house that ego built.
If we look at any of the great mystical traditions, however, we’ll see that actually there is a path for times like these. Or at least a pathless path!
We are in the Sacred Space of Intiation.
So what happens in an initiation? It’s easy to kind of vision what the end result may look like. At that point we have found a new path, a new way of being, one that is much more appropriate for our current circumstances and position in the world. What a relief that would be!
So how does the path into that mythical future place look?
The first part is to note how we hang onto what we think and feel is ‘right’.
We hang on to our favourite ideas about how things should be. Perhaps, like much of the right wing world, we hanker for a patriarchy, where men were men and women were women! Perhaps were holding onto an apparent far distant past. An ancient matriarchy where everyone co-operated and women’s power was fully acknowledged! Perhaps we hang onto science, believing that if we only apply the new technology and the proven results of the experiment we’d all be fine. Perhaps we hang onto the written word of some other other religion. And then we get onto FB and fight with each other for the supremacy of our own point of view! Religion will save us! Science will save us! Capitalism will save us! Communism will save us! And you! You with your point of view, you are wrong, and what’s more, you are making my life go down the drain with your stupid opinions! If you would just see what I see, it would all be fine! Really!?
It’s kind of unbearable! I’m sure you have all felt the energy drain that Facebook is on most days in most places! Or you read the news and despair at the futility of it all. It’s a drain because convincing each other of the rightness of our way is not going to get us anywhere at all! It’s really just a reflection of how insecure each of us is in our egoic position.
Insecurity does not feel good. It’s not really much fun at all! But that is where we are at. We are living in world system that is no longer secure. No matter how much we push for control, it’s not getting any more secure. The environmental crisis alone should make that clear but any place you look is good enough.
I think despite ourselves we all agree on one very big thing. Where we are at is untenable. It’s not going to see us through.
Any experienced mystic will know and recognize this place. It’s the place where the ego can no longer make things work. It’s quite simply too limited. It lacks capacity. Nothing we can think or from where we are at now works. The mind is useless! If you’re not used to this place, it is terrifying. Even if you familiar with it, each time you approach the initiatory gateway it’s an abyss. It’s dark and it’s at least a little bit scary. Practise may make you jump in a bit quicker. Practise may make you accustomed to the idea that your fear is not as real as you might think. Practise may make you know that what currently feels like annihiliation has always in the past lead to a rebirth. No matter how many times you have walked though this kind of doorway, it is scary and it feels, at least a bit, like you might die. You’d also know with experience that your choices will increasingly diminish, there are no escapes. Even if you find one, it’s at best temporary.
All is not lost though! In these dark places you do have some allies!
The first is having a ‘beginners mind’. It’s, ‘I don’t know the answers here’. I am currently not capable of dealing with this and I actually don’t know if I ever will be capable of dealing with it. It may just annihiliate me but it also may not. I just plain and simply don’t know!
It’s a tricky place to go to, especially the first time. It’s important to stay present with what comes up for you. There can be no initiation without coming face to face with your fear. What you fear is individual although there are some very common fears: Like facing the guilt, shame and regret of upholding something that actually may not be true or facing the fear that I may be a useless, inadequate being. Whatever your fears may be though, you really have little choice but to look at them in the eye and say ‘have your way with me’. Choosing anything else will only have the effect of darkening your world. The wisest choice by a long shot is the deepest surrender of which you are capable.
Another great ally is to rely on the wisdom teachings. Nothing that I experience is permanent. Everything that appears to and in me is illusion, ephemeral and just passing through. What makes an appearance is not real and has nothing to do with my Sacred I am Presence. I am the space where this happens, not the phenomenon passing through. Neither Am I the reaction of my ego to the phenomenon passing through. I am Sacred I am Presence.
And then just remember to breathe! You can’t die if you breathe!
“Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, We will fall!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
― Guillaume Apollinaire