The Hell of Easter
“The extended self, which we think of as our self, is essentially a story. It’s the story of what happened to our body over time.” — Paul Brooks
Looking around this Easter, wether you celebrate the Christian holiday or not, you might recognize that we’re all in hell. We like to consider our society and culture as something outside of us, that we are victims to, but it is in fact generated by the collective unconsciousness we all share. This culture of endless war, partisanship, and constant terror reflects back to us who we are inside. It is sad, to be sure. But in my sadness this Easter I find hope. Regardless of your religious affiliation, or lack there of, you can find this hope to.
Collectively and Individually, each of us lives in a hell of our own devising, constructed from our own personal stories. We exist in our narrative as if it is binding, a structure from which we must continue to function. “I am American!” I say with certainty. “You are Black!” I say, as if these differences have meaning outside of the ones that I lend them.
We believe ourselves free to choose, and we act as if we are already free, but we are not free. We are bound to our personal hell as if it was all that was available to us. If the house is burning, you can’t put out the fire from inside the house. And our houses are burning. You may be roasting marshmallows on the fire, but the fire is there. So - if you want to put out the fire, you have to get out of the house, outside yourself, outside your personal story.
So let's start with - what is hell? The definition of hell is: no love. No love is hell. Forget the images of fiery pits, dancing devils, or punishment from some omnipotent being. I am here to tell you that hell is very real, and most of us our in it - and we have created it for ourselves. I have seen deeply into the the hell that I have created for myself, and I live in this hell each day, unconsciously and mechanically, by identifying with my overbearing, unrelenting intellectual-emotional complex. The many "I"s of the ego - constantly wanting, needing, fending off and isolating myself to prove that "I can do it myself" and that "I've got this". This is hell. This is the wasteland many of us live our lives in, accumulating, conquering, manipulating those around us to satisfy our needs. The unsatisfied needs of the child create the reality of the adult. This is the war zone that most of us live in.
Personally, I have chosen to practice aligning myself with a different but not seperate force within me — the part of myself that yearns for love, connection, and intense communion within myself. The conscious self. This desire for alignment creates the growth and change that fuels my creativity, my fire, my life. It is the sun towards which I grow.
You cannot align to consciousness unconsciously. It is only through a practice that you train yourself to remember yourself; to be present in time and space, and to have your energy in movement. It is only through practice that you can put out the fire and step out of your hell. It is only through practice that you grow. There is no quick fix, no pill, no class you can take on the seven answers to the mystic blah blah blah. For me, I find a suitable practice in psychic meditation, psychic seeing and psychic energy healing. Through this practice I am brought back again and again to the place where my spirit and body fractured, and each time I am able to retrieve some of my energy from that place, re-unifying and re-energizing the whole. That I can give others healing, piece of mind, clarity of vision along the way is fun and interesting. It keeps my attention.
In my practice of meditation, seeing, and healing, I do not find perfection or an answer to all my troubles — In my practice I see myself as I am, generally making a terrible mess of things, failing all over the place, finding moments of unexpected grace, unable to hold my attention for long, subject to indulgences of all kinds, identifying consciously with the various intellectual “I”s within me — I am emotional, irritated, complicated, and irrational. I am human. All I have to offer this world, and my fellow travelers on it, is a willingness to work. Each and every day, when I sit to meditate, when I practice seeing by giving a reading, or move energy in a healing, I offer this work to no one but myself; my practice is entirely selfish. I lay before the feet of myself as a conscious offering to the presence of that space — even when it is in session with another.
As the teacher Osho says, “I practice, it works.”
In my practice, in order to allow my own wounds to be healed, to be restored to my full energy in movement, I can’t work from the mind, or from the identities that form me. I must become the work. To become the work is to marry body and spirit, always, in constant motion, instead of seperation and isolation. What is called for is a life of waking up, constantly. Meditation is my practice—it bring me always in the time/space of the here/now as body, and yet also always creates presence in the stillness, expansiveness, and infinite creativity of my own will as spirit.
“I am not long for this world, and too much time has been wasted already.” says the author Red Hawk. The only path forward is truly through — not forcefully through the world, rather ruthlessly inward towards my own self. I practice being in my own space, running energy and having my psychic awareness as if my life depends on it — because it does.
So what is to be done about this hell that we find ourselves in? The answer is the message that Christ brought forth in his teachings, and I am taking a moment here on Easter to refresh my understanding of it. As I noted above, the way forward is not outwardly through, but instead inward — and not fighting inward, forgiving inward. Forgiving ourselves for being hurt, angry and disconnected. Forgiving ourselves for being at war within. Forgiving others for fighting their own internal battles that we can never know. This is the work. Any attempts to solve our cultural or societal problems on the large scale will fail until an overwhelming majority of individuals emerge with the tools to deal with the destruction we have wrought on our world, on ourselves. This is the work. This is our work together, but we must do it each alone.
With the promise of the ressurection in the Christ story we are given the opportunity to emerge from our tomb (hell) and reclaim our lives without the story of our bodies, outside of our limiting and oppressive personal narratives. We then have the opportunity to grow and become more than. We have the opporunity to bring our bodies and our spirits together in ever increasing harmony. But one’s identity must die on the cross before one can be reborn in this way. To grow, one must give up a small part of oneself, abandon their story - the prison, the hell. However you choose to see it. You have to give up the fight and simply release.
I may not identify as Christian in the dogmatic sense, but the message and awareness that was brought forth in Christ’s teachings (wether fact or fiction) is that I could be more that the unconscious, mechanical, ego-driven self; that I could be both body and spirit, both physical and energy, truly the embodiment of heaven on earth —and for this teaching I am eternally grateful. I do not want to sound as tho I know something you don’t, or that I am somehow “more than” you. I have no superiority. I have no idea what I’m doing 98% of the time, just like most everyone else. I am winging it. The only thing I do know is that (as Osho says) “I practice, it works.”
If you are interested in a practice that will shift your attention inward and re-align you to your own energy, check out my upcoming Psychic Meditation classes both on-line and in-person in Portland, OR. Click here.
(This article is heavily influenced by my reading and re-interpretation of passages from the book “Self Remembering” by Red Hawk.)