What we will be doing from here on is disentangling you from all inner and outer attachments of your life—that is, all the things that you believe are real and necessary to life.”
“Uh, excuse me, professor, but with all due respect, you seem to be quite attached to your collection of junk spread out on every surface around here. I mean, there’s chaos everywhere! “
“Ah, but there is a symmetry to my chaos; everything is sorted by how high the stacks are.”
“That sounds to me like the definition of ‘clutter,’” said Adam with a slight grin.”
“Never you mind, young man. One man’s clutter is another man’s filing system. Now where was I?”
“I think you were talking about disentanglement,” Adam said with a slight indictment while he moved his hand across the room covered in all the whatnot.
The magus frowned and went on. As he talked, the room seemed to clear itself of all the so-called clutter, leaving all the surfaces free and clear. Adam was about to say something but then thought better of it.
“Right now you operate as though the only part of your mind that is of real importance is your conscious mind. The conscious mind is that part of you that thinks it knows what is real, but it is like a wall between you and reality. It literally creates the reality that you see, and that reality is often a false experience. Reality is not just one but many. Your mind is caught in only one of those many. By this limitation you are looking through a dark window into your deeper mind—what an old friend of mine called ‘a glass darkly.’
“When your idea of self is able to disentangle from the false identity, the current center of your consciousness, and open to the space between it and the unconscious mind, you will create a new center of being that will then allow you to tap into and include the unconscious, become fully human, and be magic. This is a place of spiritual emptiness—that is, a space of silence where only the real can enter. Spirituality must engage both the conscious and unconscious mind, and magic demands it. Do you understand?”
“I … I do, sort of, though I … I’m still confused as to how I get there.” The boy stammered as he trembled at the thought of what “there” might mean.
“The first thing you will have to do is to give up your attachment to all things,” affirmed the old man rather dryly and without emotion.
“What? What do you mean? Give up my attachment to everything? You mean give up everything I own? Are you kidding?” He noted that this was beginning to sound a lot like all those boring sermons at church when he was a kid. He wasn’t any more likely to give up all that he had worked so hard to get now than he had been back then, when he thought it meant giving up his action figures collection and video game console. He didn’t think at that time that it was much of a heaven where one couldn’t have those things, and the stakes were even higher now.
“I mean, you must give up your attachment to these things, including your ideas about them. You are attached to the outer world, and that is your greatest obstacle to the introspection necessary for discovering your magic. You believe that you need these things in order to survive or be happy, do you not?”
“Most of them, yes … yes, of course!” The boy exclaimed emphatically.
“Most of them?” queried the old man as he raised one eyebrow.
“Well … food, water, breathing seem like necessary attachments, don’t you think?”
“You are talking about being attached to living and to the avoidance of dying, am I right?”
“Of course! I would think avoiding death at all costs would be an obvious goal,” said Adam defensively.
“The many thoughts of death are unique to the human animal. While other animals just instinctively react to any potential death threat, humans think about it a lot prior to and after any actual threat. However, for humans the thoughtful concept of death actually organizes one’s life. It is what brings vitality to one’s living when one acknowledges the presence of it at every turn. Life and death is just another polarity where when one resists the struggle it’s apparent conflict fractures the whole and limits the expression of the magic. The whole idea of free will depends on the struggle and the embracing of death. Your attachment to its avoidance can limit your full expression. Do you not see this?”
“I do, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to stay alive, though I can appreciate the value that this desire can have upon the way I live my life.”
“Okay, for now let us move on.
*The third and final part will be in August.