That post yesterday, about riding the struggle bus? It’s amazing what a little energy work will do. Last night I released my negative energy in a formal ritual. I got peace in the neighborhood, my phone works correctly again, and a bunch of other things started lining up just so. Even returned to pleasant sleep. My allergies are still on the warpath, and the lights in my work space are still too bright, but I’m less sensitive to these things today than I was yesterday. Nature abhors a vacuum. When you release negativity, it allows the positive to flow once more.
Ritual work is one of those powerful tools that most people do not truly understand at the deepest levels. It’s one thing to “get it” at the mental level, but it’s something else entirely to make it work at the spiritual level. People get hung up on the form of it, trying too hard to do every little thing right according to whatever book they’ve read last. Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what form you give it, so long as you’re sincere about it and feel the energy behind it. It’s the same kind of mentality as behind prayers, but with more intent. Some might call it spells, but that makes it seem more esoteric than it has to be. Besides, I don’t need props to focus. For those who do, whatever floats your boat. So long as it works for you, it’s the right approach for you. Personally, my own rituals are a combination of the two ideas, both prayer and spell. It’s a complete cycle of both esoteric and exoteric, yin and yang. Or as the world’s oldest axiom states: “As above, so below; as within, so without.” Let me tell you, being trans makes understanding that axiom harder than it has to be. That’s a blog in and of itself. But… I’m figuring that out too. Another tale for another time. In any case, it’s all about restoring peace, harmony, and the natural flow of Qi. Being one with the Force, if you will, and allowing it to flow through you.
Today, I find myself in a state of forgiveness, which is to say I am learning to forgive myself for years of forgetting to implement such a simple idea, for years for exterior torment that I brought upon myself. I’ve missed “the best years of my life” to internal torture. As Morihei Ueshiba says in The Art of Peace, “Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” Well, I’m standing towards the end of my 44th year in a state of poor health, living in a poor neighborhood, and working a job that sustains that poverty. Mission: proceed into my 45th year undoing the damage, restoring the flow of Qi, and allowing my spirit to thrive.
The next step is going to be a challenge, but one that I think will ultimately be worth it. You know that inner voice, the one that tells you how bad things are and gives a running monologue about every little nagging thing? In Eastern philosophies, they sometimes call it the monkey mind. It occurs to me that I don’t have a roommate for a reason, and I don’t really like my neighbors for much the same reason: pretty much all of my experiences along these lines are obnoxious. Likewise with the movie theater. I can’t handle it anymore. Sensory processing disorder magnifies every little thing, and it has seemingly gotten worse with every passing year. But even when I find quiet, I still have that monkey mind, chattering away incessantly. If this thing existed as an exterior being that always sat beside me, I’d have probably wrestled it to the ground and put a sword to its throat by now. And then it hit me. “As within, so without.” So simple, and right there in plain sight the whole time.
It’s time to evict the monkey mind, at swordpoint if need be.
No, not literally. In the symbolism of Tarot, for example, the sword represents the focus of the mind and intelligent thought. The training that goes into the use of the blade is like that of any other martial art, and thus the same discipline of focus applies. The blade ceases to be a tool in the hands of an experienced swordfighter and becomes an extension of the mind and body. I know one of the Western disciplines along these lines. While not the same, and certainly not as eloquent, it’s helpful to have something like this to serve as a foundation as I explore Qigong and Tai Chi. To get the most out of these disciplines, that monkey mind needs to be dealt with.
My understanding is that this is one of the ultimate goals of meditation, which is part of my daily practice. But I don’t think I’ve ever actually harnessed the teachings at the deeper level of understanding. Actually, I know I haven’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about this right now. The best description of meditation I’ve ever heard is to laser focus on exactly one thing to the exclusion of all else, and then dismiss it. In the emptiness that remains, we are free. For most, the easiest focus is the breath since breath is life, so it’s not a literal dismissal there either. It’s the technique. Focus on it until it’s as automatic to breathe in that controlled manner as it is to breathe normally. Like so many things in this line, it’s easier said than done… until you achieve mastery, at which point it’s easier done than said. That’s why there are so many teachings and so few masters.
I’ve decided I am a master. I will train my mind, body, and spirit to believe it as well, which, of course, will be the day I achieve mastery. I have to keep my focus in the now, otherwise past experience will define future outcome, and that is unacceptable. The more I train, the more aligned I will be with the divine essence that separated these ideas in the first place, and the less divided these concepts will be.