We, human beings have a tendency to complain about darkness, to run away from it. Look at our dictionaries for instance. Apart from being « that which is devoid of light », dark also means « arising from or showing evil traits or desires » in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Same song in our good old French Larousse, where « sombre » (dark) is associated with dullness (« l’obscurité ») and evil (« le mal »). Our religious mythologies and cultures also convey this malicious dimension to darkness, which I began to question when I decided to become a philosopher.
I wanted to solve the mystery of Oneness behind duality. I wanted to prove duality wrong and Oneness right. I wanted Light to win over Dark. So I kept reading, and studying and thinking, amazed by the depths of the human mind and appalled at its ability to create facts out of stubborn ignorance. A fact is a strange entity of knowledge. It is an information that stems from something that was once a whole, now used only for itself because it suits us better. It is the embodiment of this duality that used to wear me out. 2017 is ending and I am pleased with it. It was a year of seclusion, immense creativity as always, hard-work, intense questioning. Still, a year that is leaving me with a fact that I cannot ignore: I have changed.
Meditators and psyche-nauts sometimes forget to pause to assess their evolution and celebrate their victories over darkness because they are too busy reaching out for IT. But there is no IT outside of us, WE ARE IT and our progresses on the spiritual, material, relational, psychological planes (all related, all spiritual by the way) deserve that we throw them a party.
For most of us, 2017 has been a time of isolation comparable to what a yogi does when he removes himself from the ambiant noise of this suffering world to meditate in a cave. For me, 2017 was exacly like that too. During this dull year, I went deep down within, being almost invisible to people and yet experiencing life power-fully: I got angry, I learned vedic astrology, I got lonely, I translated beautiful pieces of american poetry unknown to french-speaking people and weird pop songs, I meditated more than 4 hours a day to ease residual existential pain and meet the Marvelous He-who-Shall-Not-be-Defined, I met a shiksha guru who gave me a lot of knowledge, as expected, and a lot of confusion that was not expected. I experienced unconditional love and a winter walk in powdery snow under -22 celsius deg. I discovered fascinating shape-shifting yantra-s, I realized my guru needed to find himself a guru as well, I began to learn this poetic-holistic language called Sanskrit, I lost interest in academic philosophy, I quieted my reckless mind, I ended a poetry book of my own, I became vegan and stopped wine and rhum, I began writing something that looks like a novel, I welcomed my kids in America for the first time knowing that this wasn’t the last time, I saw what evil can do when it is ignored and so I drank wine again, then I received diksha in a very modern way from a very Pure Soul who happened to have left his body, then my boyfriend proposed me, then we spend delicious and rainy holidays in Europe. What a year !
How was yours, by the way Dear Reader ?
While I was busy doing all these things, I reconnected with some old friends, excited to be back in the friendship business, excited to share memories of our me-s, old me-s that weren’t there anymore…
In one of his famous San Francisco lectures on the Buddhist path and Self Discovery, Alan Watts assumes that we cannot become more sensitive to pleasure without becoming more sensitive to pain. Beautifully put. Being a psyche-naut and choosing to make one’s life a spiritual exercise makes you more sensitive to pleasure, indeed. The pleasure to « Know Thyself ». It also makes you more sensitive to what is genuine, it raises your emotional and intellectual awareness.
In other words, walking the spiritual path gently creates a sophisticated, efficient and highly reactive authenticity radar within you. And once you come to experience something that is less than clarity, your radar immediately turns on and you feel off.
Reconnecting with the Old thinking it will turn New because you have changed does precisely that. It pushes your buttons, it clouds your sensitivity to life and sensitivity to life is probably the highest form of intelligence and what yogi wants to be deprived from that?
Relationship toxicity is a big issue nowadays. We have friends. All kinds of them. Friends from work, friends from bars, friends from the neighborhood. And we more than often end up being hurt by those friends which causes us to resent them for the things we think they did to us and sometimes we hurt them back. Until we come to realize that it is highly probable that something within us is a perfect match to relationship toxicity. That something can be a lack of courage or simple ignorance of our true vibrant selves. So being trapped in the entanglements of the narrative ego, we feel insecure within and try to fill in from without.
These states of being bring about the worst of relationships and one day, you end up on the couch of an analyst. It happened to me. Yet, that analysis is the best thing that ever happened to me because it triggered my quest for knowledge about the Self and changed me deep down within, for the better.
I discovered the amazing work of Viktor Frankl a few years ago and something in this ending year brought me back to it. The excerpt from his book Man’ s Search for Meaning in which Dr. Frankl explains that most human beings are not ready to live by high standards stroke me. Seeing the way of our world right now, I have to admit that this assumption is painfully true.
Fear of beginning the work of knowing oneself might be a reason for this existence of stagnation. Most human beings fear the pain that can come with Self Discovery and inhibit themselves in all kinds of logical arguments, hurtfulness towards one another, neglectfulness of their own lives or even in the practice of surface spirituality. Searching the Self hurts because the Self has nothing to do with the personality and that species of ours seems to cling obsessively to personification, however destructive.
Yet the reward that comes when you transcend your personal story more and more each day is an exquisite nectar and once you have tasted it, you already know to much, you cannot go back. So going back to old ways and old relationships simply becomes impossible. Still, there is a way in which reconnecting temporary with the Old serves us: being more sensitive to disharmony empowers us to address it quickly, which proves our awareness has really been sharpened in the process. Now isn’t that great? This year, I have decided to address a form of in-authenticity that we are all accustomed too, which makes it even more harmful and insidious: jealousy.
In African and Hindu mythology, jealousy is considered an area of black magic or sorcery. It is sometimes called evil-eye, probably because of the way jealous people look at you sideways. That look can be very subtle but the malignant intent behind it is immediately felt by us, body, mind and soul, even though we tend to ignore it. In Congo, each time someone witnesses jealousy or feel he is experiencing it, we use the word « ndoki ». « Ndoki » literally means « sorcerer », « sorcier » in French.
Kindoki or sorcery is often seen in relatives or close ones who will hurt you directly or indirectly each time they crave to possess something that is yours. Often, they wish you ill for it, seem incapable of rejoicing when something good happens to you and will even enjoy something bad happening to you while staying close to you. That which they want from you can be an object, any material possession including money, but also a mindset, your happiness, your cheerfulness, your brightness, your resilience. The sorcerer aspect of that kind of jealousy appears slowly here isn’t it?
A long time ago, I found myself surrounded by people who adopted that ambiguous behavior towards me and realizing that has been quite a shock. Jealousy is dreadful, not because people envy something you possess. Whatever you possess you can still give it to them.
Jealousy is dreadful because in its most subtle and destructive form, people don’t envy what you have. They envy who you are and yes: they want to possess just that. So what jealous people actually want is to deprive you from yourself.
An interpreter of Vedic texts and a phenomenologist once told me that in Vedic philosophy, jealousy is a karmic impression stored by the soul, waiting to manifest in life experience. My question to all of us is: what is the purpose of tolerating ambiguous behaviors that will surely hurt our peace?
In the luminous Finding and exploring your spiritual path, Ram Dass tells a great story about Gandhi. While he was walking with a huge crowd to protest, he felt that this demonstration was not going anywhere so he told his assistants that he would stop and go home. In a state of shock, they replied:
– « Mahatma Ji, you cannot do this to all these people who have left everything to follow you today! »
Gandhi replied back:
– « I am human and as a human, I only know relative truth. God is the one who knows absolute truth and my commitment is to Truth, not to consistency ».
A jealous friend is a paradox and a very wise friend told me that paradoxes only come to masters to help them exercise their power. So in this new year full of promise, let’s choose to be grateful for the many opportunities to evolve, thankful for the gift of clarity that we are receiving from the Universe when our radar points residual in-authenticity around us (or within) so that we can clean it and lovingly move on.
I’ll end this written meditation with a book that I absolutely recommend to everyone: The Greatness of Saturn, by Robert Svoboda. Robert Svoboda, an Ayurvedic doctor, an inspired metaphysician and a great storyteller, introduces us to the fascinating concept of mytho-therapy, the hidden healing power of stories, and encourages us to dwell in them, to meditate on them and to pass them on secretly to initiates who seek their liberating nectar. The Greatness of Saturn shows how Shani enters everyone, even the Gods, and causes them to leave what they thought was home and how « they come back » transformed, radiant, vibrant with Life, Love and the necessary Intelligence to identify illusions.
I think 2017 was a Saturnian year in many aspects. A time of thick shadow, a time where limitations were brought to their climax only to help us let go of what is not Authentic.
On this New Year of 2018, let us celebrate our ability to dissolve paradoxes mindfully, boldly and let us revel in our renewed Sensitivity to Life, let us sing silently or out loud the songs of the victories to come !
Happy Evolving to All,
And a Happy New Year, full of Success on all planes.
Tell us about your Old obsolete and about the inauthentic issues you have decided to address this year ! Do not hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email. And here are a few goodreads on authenticity, as a suggestion.
- The Greatness of Saturn, A therapeutic Myth, Robert Svoboda
- Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl
- Finding and exploring your spiritual path, Ram Dass
- Being and Time, Martin Heidegger, paragraphs 27 and 37 untitled « the They » and « Ambiguity » (for those of us who like a headache that will turn into deep intellectual understanding about the intricacies of the inauthentic self and its debilitating effects on Being) –