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Sunday February 20, 2005: The Mystic's Path of Destruction

...This is the final entry in a series about mythology, at least pertaining to the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet and the Indian goddesses Durga and Kali. 

       One always begins a spiritual life by searching out and accumulating the right attitudes and understandings.  Think of this as the positive approach.  Life becomes better because you add more love, more compassion, more devotion.  You follow traditions and absorb the wisdom of teachers and enlightened ones who have journeyed before you.

        Somewhere along the line your spiritual development will hit a point of stasis.  You can become ever more faithful to the positive habits you’ve established, but to actually move your understanding and spiritual awareness forward, you will need to starting letting go of old attitudes, the ones still buried beneath the outer actions of spirituality.  Rare individuals on the positive path are able to do this by focusing so completely on the divine that past attitudes dissolve from lack of attention, but most people leading secular lives end up continually reactivating their defense systems, and deeply buried negative attitudes remain entrenched.

        Counseling and self-help groups can remove negative attitudes that have occurred through specific events in your past -- unresolved issues, emotional wounds or scars.  Some issues may be harder to attack head-on because deeply buried fears have established reinforced or interconnected defense systems, or because these fears arose out of events which would not routinely be seen as negative.

        This is Blood-seed Demon – an seemingly endless battle arising in a hostile world.  Because each situation that triggers an emotional reaction is seen as a separate demon existing outside yourself, the illusion is that new battles are continually springing up.  No matter how strong your resolve, how enthusiastic or powerful your motivation to focus on positive spiritual attitudes, new conflicts keep arising. 

        When negativity cannot be sidestepped or reasoned away, then perhaps the underlying fear needs to be rooted out.  The negative approach to spiritual enlightenment directly confronts old habits, attitudes and defense systems by reaching back down into the lowest level of one’s nasty brutish human nature.  It’s the exact opposite of traditional advice that prefers ignoring human nature and simply rising above negativity.  I don’t suggest the negative approach until you’re well-established in a path, when you know how a spiritual life should be lived and the attitudes you want to feel, when you are confident in the inner reality of eternal being.

        I’ve come to realize that my use of the negative approach evolved after (or correlated with) the appearance of goddesses of destruction in my life.  This technique is a deep turning inward to aggressively remove the source of negativity, and the method is not for wimps. I’ve described it earlier in blog entries from October 14, 2004 and October 15, 2004.  You may want to read these first so you understand the basics.  Then, we can compare the method to the myths of Sekhmet, Durga and Kali.

        When the myths talk of male deities being unable to control or defeat demons (a chaos-creating source), they are addressing basic, sometimes innate human fears.  Once triggered off, these deepest fears not only block your access to the divine, but feed defense systems capable of spinning off an endless supply of negative emotions.  

        The goddesses of destruction absorb chaos back into themselves. The focus of this approach is to totally accept and embrace the negative emotions and bring them into the center of your heart with total love.  That’s why I say this is not a path for wimps. 

        A natural fear arises that one will become overwhelmed by the negative emotion, pulled under and lost forever in its power.  The strength of these fears is a powerful illusion.  The tricky part is that you cannot use blazon courage to attack the fears.  That is a masculine approach, which locks onto negativity and can actually give the fear strength — it is a clinging to one’s opponent in the midst of a wrestling match.  The god-approach keeps the attention focused on the outer manifestations of fear, while the underlying source continues to pour out chaos.

        The goddess-approach sinks down to the ground level of one’s emotional being.  It is a fearless, detached state of digging deeper and deeper into the negativity, ripping it apart while --at the same time -- loving and encircling the negativity with compassion and understanding.  To immerse oneself in so much negativity and come out the other side victorious means being able to accept all parts of yourself, including the parts that wallow in negativity. 

        In the early stages of this process, as described in the aforementioned blogs, you focus on the emotion until it dissolves or shifts to another emotion.  This is like Durga’s battle with Mahisa, when Mahisa keeps changing and Durga must continue fighting no matter what form appears before her.

        Suppose your superior makes a snide remark behind your back and it gets back to you.  Knowing this individual’s personality, you realize the folly of confronting the situation head-on, especially while your own emotions are unstable.  Perhaps your best choice is to ignore the remark entirely.  Yet, how do you get back to your own center of peace and well-being once the irritation is lodged beneath your skin? 

        You can start by accepting and embracing your anger or hurt until that emotion disappears.  Don’t be surprised to find the original emotion replaced by new feelings, a switching perhaps between anger and hurt, a surprise appearance of guilt or embarrassment.  In the battle of Mahisa you addressing each emotion as it arises, until at last you are able to look at the original situation with calm detachment.

        The tougher path is to delve deeper.  This signals the appearance of Kali springing out of Durga, or of Sekhmet arising out of Hathor.  What fear lies beneath the surface emotion?  Are you mad because you don’t deserve to be treated that way, or are you afraid that people won’t like you?  Is your deepest fear that you may not be good enough, or you may be rejected and end up alone?  These deep fears are not the kind that spring to mind from the original confrontation.  They come to the surface after one has ripped away the surface fears to get to ground zero, when one is willing to completely absorb the life force or blood of the demon.

        This part does require divine passion.  It can feel very wrong to take negativity inside, to absorb it and make it part of your being.  It seems like you’re undoing all the cleansing and purifying previously accomplished in your spiritual disciplines.  As it was explained to me – that you have had these experiences enter your life means they are already part of your being, like it or not.  Even as you attempt to hold them away from your heart, to deny them acceptance, your arms end up rigidly locked, your hands gripped around the fear. 

         Good or bad, all experiences are a part of who you are and how you have come to this point in time. To accept all parts of your life with love and compassion is to make yourself whole.  It never seems to make logical or emotional sense during the process.  To put black ink into clean water should turn the water murky.  The miracle is that the 'absorbing with love' process purifies the ink and turns it into clear water.

        You’ll know when you’ve reached the end point of absorbing fears.  Suddenly you will break free of the active, passionate state and find a resolved calm that comes from completion.  At this point, Sekhmet and Durga/Kali stand back from action.  There is no pride in a great battle won, only a quiet resolve that the work is finished.  The passion that attacked the problem does not turn and look for new challenges but rests, ready to be called on again if the need should arise. 

        If you are going to do this technique, I suggest you end with a meditative celebration.  Cutting through emotions is a physically draining experience.  Spend the last part of meditation opening to divine radiance and bliss.  Let the divine fill you so you are replenished with the joy of life.  That would complete the process of living Sekhmet’s or Durga’s myth.

Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 06:54AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

" The goddess-approach sinks down to the ground level of one’s emotional being. It is a fearless, detached state of digging deeper and deeper into the negativity, ripping it apart while --at the same time -- loving and encircling the negativity with compassion and understanding. To immerse oneself in so much negativity and come out the other side victorious means being able to accept all parts of yourself, including the parts that wallow in negativity. "

Yes I understand this. For me it feels like splitting my awareness like I am in touch with the pain but I am also in touch with the compassionate, loving Self...and yes the second wraps around the first to allow for the pain to be expressed! Validating to hear someone else say that!
June 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterK
I am thinking yes to you saying we have to embrace the negative. I think alot of what we are taught is negative hides in the shadows of our being. Until we look at them and embrace them only then can we love them into evolving. The more we reject parts of ourselves and relegate them into "hell" the more they will be mirrored back to us through others so that we can she them and be aware of them again. For me the aim is to embrace my so called negative parts and to leanrmn from them, embracing them into my whole Self so that "I" can evolve.
June 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterK

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