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A blessed change of heart
I stopped writing a few days ago. I’d been experiencing issues for some time, having just recovered from a cold. I had also been dealing with a nasty case of tennis elbow, a metallic pain that flared up whenever I started to write. I’d written myself into a corner producing weak imitations of other people’s ideas. No sign of my own lived experience being expressed from the heart.
The theme of this article was going to be self-sacrifice. For me, self-sacrifice is the intentional giving up of something worldly and important. It has no justification and is to be done for it’s own sake. There is an implicit act of faith that in offering up one’s attachments to the world, one may be led closer somehow to the divine. But this is by no means a guarantee, and one cannot know in advance what form this will take.
I’d just undertaken a meditation vow that allowed me to put this idea into practice. The vow involved a compulsory daily meditation, while sacrificing social media, news and a smart phone for two months.
In truth I’d been preparing to make this jump for some time, and was pleased at how easily I was able to give up technology, and how little I missed it once it was gone. Excited by the extra time I had, I started a daily yoga practice, and did more reading and research in order to focus more fully on writing. But then the physical ailments started. Immediately as I tried writing, my tennis elbow flared up and the pain dragged on for weeks. This situation would be summed up in a dream I had one night, which demonstrated the dilemma I was going through.
There is a treasure that causes a sharp metallic pain to radiate through my body whenever I reach for it. I’m dating a blonde woman. I pass my wife on the street and I give her a half-hearted wave, it appears in this world she is just an acquaintance. Later we are all having dinner together. I embrace the blond woman and somehow our passion allows me to overcome the pain, and I’m reaching ever closer for the treasure. My wife looks on with a shocked and sad expression.
The symbols here are very standard when it comes to dreams. My wife represents the anima, my other half, wherein resides my repressed emotional being. The treasure represents the growth unlocked by integrating this repressed element. This repression is reflected through the pain caused by interacting with the world in a metallic, robotic way. I attempt to circumvent this through the false sacrifice I’ve made, summed up in the blond woman.
My self-sacrifice was a lie because I’d wanted to give up social media and technology anyway, meaning my real intention was not sacrifice but productivity. I also discovered the same behavior underlied my issues writing. I was settling for machine efficiency and rationalism in place of genuine emotional connection.
I poured myself into writing with all the free time I had. But even after all the copious research and background reading, piecing together other people’s words into a coherent whole, I ended up more muddled than ever before. Even as I continued to stay up late, fighting through the pain that emanated from my arm, I persisted until I became so absorbed one night I forgot to meditate, and broke my vow. Now this was of course not the end of the world. But I suppose the advantage to this type of practice is when you make a commitment and you break it, it puts into stark relief what had to happen to lead you there.
The next day as I discussed what I’d been going through with a friend, I came to see clearly what lay at the root of my behavior. I appreciated what a burden I had created for myself, and the emotional distance within me, and as a result something beautiful happened. A profound sense of wellbeing arose within me as I had a change of heart. Christians label this experience a metanoia, wherein one is bought to a transformative experience through a simple act of faith. A clarity in my being had resulted, even though I had failed the vow.
Suddenly it seemed so obvious how I should operate from my heart, both in self-sacrifice and my writing. This emotional distance sabotaged the vow and was the same behavior driving the supposed objectivity in my writing. This distance underlay the idea I should defer to those who had came before me and regurgitate their ideas, not seeing the best way to honor their work is to carry their torch, and extend what they have done through my own experience and writing. As a result of appreciating all this, I noticed the pain had vanished completely from my arm.
The next day again I was struck by a beautiful occurrence. My wife and I were both contacted by our employers regarding the next step in our careers. While it’s easy to speculate, it does feel like this fortunate event had curious timing, as if it had waited until I had freed myself of this unnecessary burden I labored under, such that I’d be ready to take on this extra responsibility.
When I started my religious journey, I hungered to read and learn from others who had experienced the mysteries for themselves. But such accounts have always been in short supply.
I started this blog with the intention of sharing what I had looked for when I was younger, but slowly I feel I’ve been falling away from this intention. I see now that it’s so easy to rely on the accounts of others as a substitute for articulating your own journey. I see now this is a vestige of the old world, to defer to those who have come before as representing the ‘tradition’ that we should adapt ourselves to.
However the new age we live in now calls us to speak our own truth, to take responsibility for articulating the unique seed that lies within us. This means no longer writing about myself as some distant objective entity that participates in the western mystery traditions. It means acknowledging the subjective element of who I am, a middle-aged man with a young family in one of the most white picket suburbs in Australia. However mundane my outer life may be, I’ve been blessed with a rich inner life. I feel I’ve been blessed to see more clearly than most the Goddess that operates within, and feel called to share this now in a more genuine way with you.
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