is a Path of
And immediately, the reader has some impression that
tells him/her it isn’t the path for them.
Why? Because the mere use of
the word “dark" conjures up images contrary to what we want to believe is
“right” or “wrong”. In the
long run, to say this is a path of dark enlightenment is more accurately saying
that it is not a path to be undertaken by those looking for fluffy, frilly,
sweetness and light explanations or exercises that guarantee not to usurp more
than 5 minutes of your valuable time. A
true evolution of consciousness doesn’t respond to 5 minutes a day any more
than a successful career is built on 5 minutes a day.
It is not a journey for those looking only for validation of their
existing beliefs and an I’m-okay-you’re-okay justification for their
weaknesses. It isn’t a path that
will tell you there are guardian angels looking over your shoulder, but a path
which will show you that you are ultimately your own guardian, your own angel,
your own destruction, or your own evolution.
This journey isn't just a way of looking at life, but the way in which we choose
to live, and as such it requires an unbending commitment to the Self.
For that reason alone, I
have never attempted to put these ideas in the form of a book.
People want to be told that it’s okay to smoke today as long as you
intend to quit tomorrow. It’s
okay to sit in front of the tv 7 nights a week as long as you go to church for
an hour on Sunday morning. It’s
okay to bury oneself utterly in one’s job or hobbies, because that’s what’s
expected of productive members of society, and yet still think of oneself as a
deeply spiritual person by virtue of having read the first chapter of OUT ON A
Of course, this isn't to say we can't find pleasure in the pleasures of
life. It's the dissipation and self-indulgence that are our greatest
enemies. For example, as I said on another page of this site, I'm not
living the life of a monk with some glassy-eyed stare. On the other hand,
one way I avoid the glassy-eyed stare is also by not living the
traditionally "normal" life of the consensual reality. Going to
a movie - even a really bad movie - might give me some things to think
about. On the other hand, immersing myself in mindless television night
after night would insure that I never think. So it's a matter of
making the impeccable choice.
Knowing that we are creatures who thrive on
pleasure and shun pain, it is our nature to feed the one and avoid
all avenues leading to the other. And yet, what's important is not to confuse
pain with hard work on the spiritual realm. It's
our definitions that rule us every bit as much as how we apply ourselves to our
individual journeys toward evolution. If we choose to define
"pain" as anything requiring effort, we have fallen victim to the
lowest common denominator of what it means to be human. While I generally
have no use for slogans, there's something to be said for the idea of "no
pain, no gain." We can no more expect our immortal "soul"
to be healthy through neglect than we could expect our bodies to be healthy if
We have to do the work, and it is a moment-to-moment, day-to-day mindset
that guides us to always be making the choices that will further our
cohesive consciousness instead of detracting from it.
Whenever we succumb to our lowest common denominator, whenever
we decide, "Well, I'm only human," we have admitted defeat
before ever taking the first step on the path. Whenever we decide to live down
to that lowest common denominator instead of living up to our highest
potential, we are consigning ourselves to the dust, and this is clearly not
But impeccability requires hard work, and that's not what
anybody wants to hear. It wasn’t
what I wanted to hear when I first talked to Orlando and he began by asking one
simple question: “Who are you?”
The answer I gave at the time was some pathetic recitation of what I
believed to be a very impressive list. “I’m
a professional writer. I’m in a relationship
that’s lasted for 20 years. I’m
a martial artist and a horsewoman and a real estate agent.”
To which Orlando replied, “Yes, I’m sure all of those things are true,
but they’re what you do. Who would you be if there were no more books to write, if your
relationship were to end tomorrow, if you could no longer be involved in martial
arts or horsemanship, if you did not define yourself by your job?
Who are you, Della?”
I could not answer. And it
was that single question which launched me on this dark and treacherous journey.
I call it dark because it is not a traditional path.
It cannot be called a path to enlightenment alone, for I’ve discovered
that light can only be perceived from
the darkness. Without the existence
of the darkness, light itself would not exist.
And, ultimately, to deny the darkness within ourselves is to deny at
least half of who we are. We are yin and we are yang, and another dark
truth is that it will take both working together in balance and harmony to
propel us into our evolution of consciousness. Why? Because it is
often from the so-called dark side of the human soul that our strongest
motivation comes. If we are not hungry, we have no reason to hunt or farm
and so we perish. If we do not experience fear when presented with danger,
we fail to run and so become prey for predators, whether human or otherwise.
But perhaps most importantly, if we do not feel real grief when we stare our own
mortality in the face, we have absolutely no reason to want to live
forever. On other pages on this site, I discuss the fact that
unconditional love is the primary motivating force behind this journey.
The love I have for life, for all its beauty, and for the ones with whom I share
this journey is so profound that I am compelled to turn over every
proverbial rock in search of an answer that might allow us to continue this
wondrous existence into infinity. So in that way, it is truly love which
motivates the journey, yet without turning to face the opposite side of love
(loss), we live in a false and an all too temporal garden.
therefore, only when we realize what we stand to lose that we find reason to
wholly embrace the commitment to the Self - the commitment to some form of
evolution, some continuity of consciousness that will preserve and protect this
love which motivated us in the first place. Yin and yang. The dark
and the light working together to create not only harmony but forward momentum
as described by Orlando's quote at the top of this page. Without some
friction, the wheel won't turn.
Sadly, most people simply will not look at the darkness at all, and it's
interesting to note that one of the primary programs currently being uploaded
into all of us in this Western culture teaches us to live for the right now,
grab what pleasure we can, to hell with the environment, to hell with
tomorrow. The results of this are obvious. We live in a fast food
world of indescribable pollution, irreparable damage to the planet, destruction
of the rainforests, the extinction of thousands of species due to Man's greed,
and horrors so heinous no sane individual can look at them head on and not
feel outraged, horrified and overwhelmed. We've lost respect for ourselves
as a species, and so most people don't even look at what they're doing or what
they can do, turning instead to the false security of inane sitcoms or
organized religions. (Is there really any difference?)
What can we do about it? On an individual everyday level, we have to acknowledge
the problems before we can even begin to solve them, and that's a matter of each
and every person making a commitment to themselves in whatever manner they feel
appropriate. On a more spiritual level, we have to turn and see the
darkness before we can even begin to realize what's at stake. We have to
acknowledge that we can lose the very air we breathe before we have any
real motivation to change our behavior. But more than that, on a far, far
deeper level, we have to acknowledge that we can lose the Self - the very
"I Am" consciousness which looks out on the world - before we will
find any reason to turn off the t.v., get up off the church pew, turn off
this computer, and go take a long look in our own mirror, asking ourselves the
"Who are you, Self?"
I once said to a fellow traveler that it has taken 10 billion years of collective
evolution for the molecules & cells of my being to come together in exactly
this manner which I recognize as "Della". I have no conscious
awareness of having existed before, and though I realize a great many people
subscribe to the ideas of "reincarnation," I see little evidence for
its existence beyond a mere molecular level. Yes, the
"molecules" of Marie Antoinnette and the Marquis de Sade are still
here. They have always been here and always will be. Perhaps there
are even ingrams of sentience still attached to some of those energetic
molecules, thus we might have a "feeling" that we were once part of
Marie Antoinnette and mistake that "feeling" for some sort of proof
that we live again, when in actuality it's only a recurrence of the molecules
and not a recurrence of old Marie herself.
Each of us
ourselves the molecules of eternity. We might just as well say we were
once a tyrannosaurus rex as to say we were once Cleopatra or Queen Elizabeth I. Both
are equally true. Both are equally irrelevant to the survival of our
individual consciousness, the "I Am" we are right now.
I offer these ideas not to open a potential debate, for those who Truly Believe
in reincarnation will not be swayed from that belief system any more than a true
Christian can acknowledge that perhaps Jesus found the way, the truth
& the light, but he himself was not the way, the truth & the
light. I offer these ideas, instead, in the hopes of encouraging every
seeker to turn and really look into their own mirror and see what will be
lost if we don't evolve. It's you. All that you are.
All that you love. All that you have ever seen or experienced or known.
In the movie, BLADERUNNER, Roy Batty (the Rutger Hauer character) makes an
incredible speech as he sits poised on the rooftop, on the edge of the abyss,
knowing he is about to die. Something to the effect, "I've seen
attack ships on fire off the shore of Orion, seabeams glittering in the dark
near the Tenhauser Gate. And all these moments will be lost... like tears in
This is the voice of consciousness railing at its own mortality, and until each
of us turns and looks in our mirror to confront what we have experienced
that will be lost like tears in the rain, perhaps we are depriving ourselves of
our strongest human potential - the potential to choose and embrace our own
evolution of consciousness into eternity.
How is this done? you ask. That's the question and that's the
journey. But without first asking that question, without first
confronting that the thing we stand to lose is the Self, no journey is
possible. For until we grieve our own mortality and go to our own funeral,
we exist in the comfortable world of illusions, safe in our individual temporal
garden. So in that way, the old legends of being thrown out of Eden might have
some value as allegory. Until we stand naked before ourselves, tiny
insignificant creatures looking out at a vast and infinite void, we simply have
no reason to take action.
Of course, part of the journey is coming to recognize that we are really not
the tiny, insignificant creatures we have been programmed to think. For on
the other side of that "dark" molecular structure is the realization
that we are far more than any tyrannosaurus rex or Marie Antoinnette or QEII.
We are the entire universe, for the simple reason that we are comprised
of exactly the same molecules as the universe itself, and the universe is
imbued with sentience. We can become eternally conscious if we can
figure out the puzzle. Or we can surrender our molecules - but far more
horrifically, we will surrender our very consciousness - back into that
void if we don't evolve.
The sentient universe is neither loving nor hateful. It is neither god nor
devil. It simply exists, containing all possibilities. What determines
which of those possibilities actually go through the formality of actually
occurring is entirely up to the Creator. There is only One
You are The One.
enthusiasts like to refer to humans as “beings of light” or “beings
of goodness” or “beings moving toward becoming wholly light.”
And yet, these are only hollow words, for as much as we are moved by
beauty or art, we are equally as affected, perhaps even thrilled in a negative
sense by extreme ugliness or the human capacity for destruction. In fact, we are far more likely as a species to watch the
latest video of the bombing of Baghdad than we would be to tune in to PBS to see
the collected works of the great masters simulcast with Mozart or even Pink
Floyd. In short, we are
creatures of darkness every bit as much as we long
to be “beings of light”, and it is the two halves of our souls working in
creative balance that will eventually enable us to answer that question:
Who are you?
That isn’t to say this is a path that promotes negativity or dark
thoughts. But neither does it
attempt to downplay those parts of ourselves by pretending they don’t exist,
or by trying to disguise them as flaws to be overcome.
We are human, and as such we are as much enthralled by an airplane crash
as by the flight of the eagle, and there is a very good reason for this.
We perceive in opposites - light/dark, good/evil, black/white, on/off,
true/false, life/death, pain/pleasure. Without juxtaposition of
perception, we cannot begin any real exploration. So to those so-called
"wisdom methods" coming into current popularity which teach "only
the light" or encourage participants to "banish the darkness"
within themselves... I would advise you to run like hell, for the bottom line is
that any teaching which encourages us to ignore literally half of our
perceptions is not a teaching we can afford, for it is a method that is
attempting to re-program us into acknowledging half of what we truly are.
Without friction, the wheel still won't turn.
deny that this is part of our intrinsic our nature is to ensure we will never
evolve. To see these darknesses as
flaws in our character instead of simply part
of our character is to try to put a different definition on what it means to be
a human being.
It's what we do with the darkness and what we do with the light that matters,
not trying to pretend one or the other doesn't exist.
Though I once thought myself rather odd and even completely out of step
with my fellow humans, I have come to realize that many, many people in this world
are simply “plugged in” to a leaning toward autumn over spring, a love of night over day, a
preference for the minor-keyed melodies over Sousa marches, a case of
feeling more alive on a rainy night than a sunny afternoon.
And since researching shamanism, I have come to understand that some of these
tendencies are simply part of what is referred to by Arnold Mindell, Michael
Harner and others as a “shamanic personality” or “shamanic initiate."
It is a case of hearing a different drummer, and many of us who choose to dance to his rhythm often find ourselves in the
position of being seen as witches, heathen, devil-worshippers, or simply
“weirdoes” in the eyes of our consensual society peers.
In reality, of course, it’s all a matter of perception.
A witch is nothing more than a healer or someone who seeks to use all the
tools of perception with which the human organism has been gifted – call it
magick or sorcery or simply self-empowerment.
A heathen is only someone with whom we ourselves do not agree as to
ideology. And in order to worship
the “devil” I would have to believe in the traditional version of
“god”, so to my perceptions,
assigning such labels to someone drawn to the shamanic path is ludicrous.
Reality is perception. The
world will see us how it will. We
will see the world through the eyes of our own perception.
They will seldom if ever be in agreement.
I walk this darker path because it is the only road to enlightenment I
have ever seen. I was raised in a
strict Southern Baptist environment, and as a result was exposed to Christian
philosophy and theology all my life. Two
of my uncles were ministers. And
despite all of this, despite my (somewhat unwilling) baptism at age 7 and my wholehearted attempts
to believe in God as a means to salvation, I suspect that the brains this
so-called “god” gave me prevented such a system of blind faith from ever taking
hold because it is counter-productive to self-survival.
I’ve often said to my Christian friends that if god exists, surely he
gave us this grand computer on our shoulders to use in order to better
ourselves, in order to evolve to be more than we were when we came into this
world, to become more than the sum of our chemical and mental processes.
In short, if god exists at all, he gave us the ability to evolve – not
by waiting for him to save us, but so that we could save ourselves.
One of my most profound shamanic visions came one
night in meditation. It revealed to me that the Universe (what some would
call "god" or "nature" or "the all") gave all she
had when she sprang into being in the first place. Nothing was
withheld. The Universe gave us the blueprint for eternity, for the
Universe herself is struggling to evolve in all possible ways - to become
greater than the sum of her parts, greater than the combined consciousness of
all her individual lifeforms stretching backward and forward into
infinity. The Universe is struggling for eternal cohesion of
consciousness, just as those
of us on this journey are.
And in her bid to evolve, she gave each of us our highest potential, building it
into us through the molecular structure of "reality" itself. It
was crystal clear to me - the Universe withheld nothing. What this
means, quite simply, is that we are on our own, but with all the power of
the Universe imprinted onto us down to a sub-atomic level. In other words,
in that grand burst of energy that cause the very Universe to spring into
existence out of whatever nothingness had existed before, everything was
used. No sentience was withheld to function as "god".
May 25, 1998
Before anything we currently think of
as being part of the universe existed, there was only an immense void – a
nothingness, the abyss, a black hole which had gathered into itself all matter
and energy. It was all there was.
Yet from the nothing – literally a thought which created itself in an act
of spontaneous parthenogenesis – the “universe” sprang into being.
A thought creating itself because it wanted/needed to exist as an entity
separate from the void. It required identity. In essence, it demanded
life, yet the only way for it to achieve life was to create itself from the
nothing and hurl itself out in all directions, a sudden sentience breaking apart
from whatever non-reality had held it previously.
Because it was a thought/creation of will, it created itself with
perfection – i.e., it gave itself all possibilities needed for survival and,
even moreso, it gave itself and its component parts (all of those parts,
including us) the ability to evolve in order to adapt to changing
circumstances within its own continuum.
If we think of the void as containing
all of matter/energy, then the universe is the stage of time – and both together
create the continuum of space/time and matter/energy.
Before the universe existed, it was perhaps contained inside a single
particle no larger than an atom – yet from that single component sprang all of
creation, willed into being because the “entity” we recognize as the universe
had to expand beyond the sum of its individual parts – i.e., it had to evolve to
be more than it was before, much like an infant being born.
In its creation, it gave all the beings who would eventually exist within
itself the ability to continue through evolution – for the ironic thing about
the creation of the universe is that it gave all it had.
It won’t interfere in the affairs of man because it can’t.
There is nothing left of “it” except all these individual components that
comprise the all – so, in other words, there is no “intelligence” sitting
outside the universe who can intervene in its destiny.
In its original creation, it used all its “parts” to create the whole –
which also means that it used its full intelligence, its whole awareness, its
absolute will, and in doing so, it automatically created each individual “cell”
of itself with those qualities.
For that reason, each of us – whether man, animal, stone, vegetable, air
or distant sun – has the “blueprint” for our own unique evolution.
In creating itself to survive, the universe gave us the ability to
The “problem” is that “the universe” and all its individual components
are at constant war with “the void” in that it’s the nature of the void to take
back what came from it and it’s in the nature of the universe to attempt to
avoid being taken. For example,
through death, man is returned, ultimately, to the void in that his
consciousness would appear to be obliterated from
universe and, in time, even the flesh and bone turns to ash and the ash
deteriorates to atoms. Beyond that,
Man cannot perceive.
The only way to avoid such a fate is for each individual creature to
create its own continuity in the same way the universe seemingly created itself
from the void. We must strive to
become our own individual continuum, expanding beyond the reach of the stage we
currently inhabit – i.e., we must create our own continuity by saying –
“I Am”, just as the universe itself originally detached itself from the
void when it sprang into being from the nothingness.
Perhaps one way to do this is to achieve what we think of as
“immortality” – but even more than becoming a long-lived organism existing
inside the existing universe, it seems we must strive to become a creature
the existing universe,
the space/time matter/energy battlefield, in a separate continuum where it is
the nature of all things to survive, a continuum where death/disintegration is
no part of the equation. Call it
“the seventh sense” – a “place” (or, perhaps more accurately, a non-place/non-space/non-time
continuum) – where the rules of existence are entirely different than they are
in the currently recognized universe.
It seems inconceivable that the universe came from anything but a thought, an
incredible force of need/will breaking free of whatever “reality” held it
together before its “birth”.
Because we are part of that creation springing from the same exact molecular
“source”, we also possess that same strength of will within ourselves – the will
to survive, to be more than mere “fate” has sanctioned us to be by virtue of
existing within the known universe.
Just as the known universe must have existed within whatever continuum
previously held it, so do we exist within
it, but just as the universe had to break free of the void in order to
achieve its own separate continuity, so must we break free of the known universe
if we intend to evolve/survive beyond it.
As parents, we teach our children survival skills.
We don’t tell them to jump in the river without knowing how to swim,
and rely on mommie and daddy to save them, or to carry them to
heaven after they are dead. If we
are truly loving parents, we teach the children to swim so that they can save
themselves. Surely the Universe would do no less for her children.
Evolution through intent and will is the swimming lesson.
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