Being Free And Being Yourself In the New Year

January 6, 2010 § 5 Comments

Happy New Year!  May you be happy and peaceful.  May all of  your good intentions and highest wishes come to fruition.  “The ‘Causes of Existence’ mean not only the physical causes known to science, but the metaphysical causes, the chief of which is the desire to exist,” writes H. P. Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society.   “This desire for a sentient life shows itself in everything, from an atom to a sun….According to esoteric teaching, the real cause of that supposed desire, and of all existence, remains forever hidden….”

“A ‘sentient life’ is impossible without sensation, and sensation is impossible without consciousness–the capacity to relate self and other,” writes Richard Smoley in The Dice Game of Shiva.  “So the root of all existence is the primordial distinction between self and other.”    Even hydrogen and oxygen atoms are conscious in this sense know how to “recognize” each other  so they can bond and become water.  When did this “selfing” all begin?  Smoley quotes the creation hymn of the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world: “‘Whence this creation has arisen–perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not–the one who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows–or perhaps he does not know.”

The drive to be, to affirm or define ourselves in relation to the world around us–there is no getting to the beginning or the end of it.     At this dark, cold, still time of year,  this time of resolutions and affirming new beginnings,  the yearning to get down to the serious business of being the “real” self, clearing away all the distractions and obstacles that stand in the way really stands out.   It suffuses many inspiring and useful blogs like “Zen Habits.”  Yet there is always another yearning that is harder to articulate, to return to the source, to be free of the isolation of the ego and connected with the whole of life.

Even as a little girl I can recall yearning to reveal the “real” me (at five years old I pictured her as a cross between a cartoon superhero and Mowgli from Disney’s version of Jungle Book, strong yet connected to nature).   It’s harder to remember exactly when I noticed the opposite wish–to go beyond myself.  It appeared first as wondering, looking up at the night sky and wondering when it all began and what was it for.

It would be really lovely to be able to divide a life into “selfing” and “unselfing.”   In a way this is the truth, since I no longer daydream about flying into my classroom like super girl or demonstrating my power to communicate with animals to the amazement of my friends.  These days,  the dominant wish has to do with wishing to be connected with others and with the whole of life.    But in reality the experience is mixed–on the very deepest level there is affirming, denying, reconciling.   There is no escaping life as long as we are alive.

For humans, it is even more complicated.  In the words of Madame de Salzmann:  “We participate in life with both a divine nature and an animal nature.  Man is double; he is not one.   And as such, he is only a promise of man until he can live with both natures present in himself and not withdraw into one of the other….A conscious man is he who is always vigilant, always watchful, who remembers himself in both directions and has his two natures always confronted.”

What can this mean?

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§ 5 Responses to Being Free And Being Yourself In the New Year

  • I hope never to discover the real me. By which I mean, I hope I always keep discovering the real me. Removing obstacles and fostering talent does not uncover a final product, but a creature constantly becoming.

    My hope for the human family in the new year: that our magic and creativity become ever more evident, leaving less and less room for falsehood, irreverence, cruelty and greed.

    My hope for myself: a will for the work patience with the process.

  • artxulan says:

    No ordinary person can understand what it means to be aware of both natures, always. Even to have this experience for a moment is rare. Almost all of humanity lives in the one nature, the so called animal nature, blindly unaware that there is another world available to him. Talking about this will not bring anyone to experience it. For some it takes many years of work with guidance from those who know the way. Even then nothing is assured, nothing is guaranteed. All the years of work may come to nothing. But for some it is finally seen, only a glimpse, and one is not even aware, at first, that one is finally in touch with the second nature. Then the experience becomes more clear and with that the feeling of lack of being aware of both natures more comes the Wish. The Wish to know what is Man?

  • tracycochran says:

    Patience is key, for me…and knowing that I may never know my real self…and a wild willingness to come to nothing.

  • Elizabeth Stock says:

    Patience is really something that I am working on……..
    I think that , like you, I may never know my “real self”, at least completely in this life.
    However, I do see glimpses “dimly as through a mirror”.
    I think that it all comes together in death, when “I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” (In Corinthians)
    Meanwhile, I am still working on my patience! :~)

  • Great blog post. I enjoyed the read. The website is great as well. Joseph Campbell still influences me today and I am glad you mention him on your site. Michael

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