A.I.R., But I Thought There Is, Was, Something Wrong With Me

Go to next Chapter . Back to main page of Course .

But I Thought There Is, Was, Something Wrong With Me

The truth of the matter is, there is not, nor has there ever been, something wrong with you. You, my friend, are not broken. This might seem like a paradox, because we are, after all, working on things about our selves that we want to improve, elevate, or spiritualize. However, as I said early on, this practice is one of self-discovery. At the heart of this discovery it will be found that there is nothing wrong with you, and you yes you are perfect just as you are.

Describing the work of Inner Alchemy as a process that elevates or spiritualizes might seem to imply that at some time there was a state of inferior being. However, in the biblical story of creation you do not read "and God saw that it was bad." The concept that somehow at this present moment in time we lack perfection or have some tint of unworthiness within us is the root of our problems in Alchemy and in life. The spiritual perfection idealized and desired in the minds of many people today is a state of extreme unnaturalness. It appears as an almost zombie-like state in which there is no resistance, no problems, no anger, and sexual desire is all but extinguished. This last one is the deepest mystery to me, especially since the placing of libido in a subject was the biblical culmination of any of God's manifestative acts.

But I digress. Take for example the picture of a young grape vine. Though the vine strives towards the production of its own fruit, does that mean the fruitless young vine has something "wrong" with it? Or perhaps observe the seed of the Drosera. Years may pass without germination. Can you say there is something wrong with it? Will it not become what it is destined to be? Is the caterpillar imperfect because it does not yet have wings? In the tumult of the restless mind, it is too easy to imagine the future and compare it to the present. The resultant discrepancy leads us to an erroneous perception of the inherent perfection of what is.

If you were born in the west you have at the very least been exposed to the Judaeo-Christian concept of Original Sin. Most religions have some similar story to illustrate the perceived imperfection of humanity and a need to gain enlightenment, salvation, or what have you. While from a certain perspective this may be true, the concept of Original Sin needs to be understood in the true light which the story of the Adamic Fall tried to impart. The original meaning of the word "Sin" in Hebrew was to "miss the mark." There are other subtle meanings to the word, but they all mean essentially the same thing. A miscalculation rather than a blazing, intentional immoral decision. "Sin," or "missing the mark" was a term used in archery when one missed the target. It intimates that there is a problem with perception hand-eye coordination in archery, or misperception of truth when dealing with matters of the soul. The Original Sin then was not that Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The sin was that in the opening of their eyes (coming out of an innocent, child-like state, into self-awareness of me and everything else) they experienced shame about their nakedness (a metaphor about how society seeks to get us to conform by suppressing natural instincts, intuition, etc.), and they sought to hide themselves from God.

Now it needs to be realized that one of the attributes of the Judaeo-Christian God is that it is omnipresent. Omnipresent does not mean "all-seeing" as most people will tell you, it means being present everywhere at once. This is not some disembodied, stand-off, all observing presence, but rather omnipresence indicates that from the greatest universe or multi-universes we can imagine down to the smallest subatomic particle, all of it is the being and body of God. We have another word for this that might help you wrap your mind around the concept: We call it Matter. However, we refer to both physical and non-physical matter from the sublimest thought to the densest material, it is all this Omnipresent Oneness.

So in seeking to hide, we can see that by metaphor Adam and Eve built around the true nature of themselves all manner of misconceptions, about the innate truth of who and what they were (are). A lie therefore is not real. Truth is eternal. It is things as they are, were, and are to come. No matter how many times a person asks you to write two plus two equals three, it will never have any basis in fact, truth, or being, because it isn't, it never was, nor can it ever be. Cover yourself in as many fig leaves as you may, you cannot hide from the Omnipresent Oneness of which you are a part.

And consequently, the sooner we realize ourselves as one member of the Universal Being, the sooner we realize our inherent perfection. I define this work of Inner Alchemy as the "Art of Realizing the Perfection of Life." I say realize, not discover, or make. When you realize something, you gain understanding or grasp of that which is. Realizing the perfection of something, implies that there is a completeness or wholeness to its existence, and that any appearance to the contrary lies in the observer, not the observed. Yes, Alchemy is about bringing into perpetual conscious realization, the unique inter-relatedness and wholeness of creation. But not in some obfuscating release in which we lose our identities. If we look around us it is apparent that Life is in the business of manifestation. Truly all that is manifest by life is good. This realization of life's perfection, of Divine Providence's beneficent grace, begins with the acceptance of our perceived imperfections. This acceptance is not acquiescence, it is not saying that one can never realize something different than what they know now. The paradox is that regardless of our erroneous perception, the immediate expression of life we see before our eyes is perfect, complete and whole.

Now, the animating force we call life emits a certain pressure on Creation. Though the ever-present "now" of life is always perfect, this "expression of life" invariably gives rise to cognition of seemingly more complete and whole states of being. By the very nature of its design, life continually plays a game of one-up-manship with itself. From perfection to perfection the One Thing transforms.

Our work really then, is clearing away the untruth about who and what we are. Again, these untruths are what cause us so much frustration and pain in life. Most of what we believe about ourselves (the sins of perception), are accepted not as second nature, but as our undisputed true nature. They are well ingrained and inculcated firmly into our psyche or into what Hermetic terminology would portray as the "murky waters of the deep." In this regard, our work is to draw forth from the waters these misconceptions so that they might be exposed to the light and allowed to evaporate. This brings us to another story from the Judaeo-Christian mythology.

The name of the Hero in our next mythological story is Moses and his name oddly enough means "to pull out, or draw out of the water." Moses was raised in the house of the Pharaoh, a privileged life to say the least. In Pharaoh's house he learned the truth about himself and was by all accounts an exceptional young prince, master of himself in the temple, on the battlefield, and in all other aspects of life. This part of the story represents the true nature of yourself, before the need to conform to society made you wall-off (hide like Adam and Eve) from certain aspects of yourself. As in all good stories of this kind, the Hero must face a rather unpleasant test, and so, at the height of his growth and fame, Moses is cast out and he falls from the heights of being a Prince of Egypt in the line of succession to become Pharaoh to end up walking around a mountain in the desert named Horeb (Sinai). The name of the mountain around, and on which Moses walked, actually translates to "desolation." A fitting metaphor, I am sure, for the mental state in which he found himself. One can imagine that at these moments, he pondered "Who am I truly", "Why am I here", "Why has all of this happened me?" These questions would have burned at him incessantly, and with no respite from such mental torment, he would have felt like a bush that was burning, but that was not being consumed.

That mental desolation Moses felt, is the same that we all feel when we do not live, and express in fullness, the truth of who, and what we are. The more we contort ourselves to conform to any predetermined behavior that forces us to deny ourselves and our purpose of being, the more we will feel this mental discomfort, or the desolation of Horeb. These inner burning bushes are there for no other reason, than to draw our attention to the truth at the center of the flame. Like Moses, when we turn our attention to the center of the flame, we will find that we stand upon holy ground, for we will find ourselves in the midst of divinity, of our True Self.

As daunting as it may initially seem, we all carry a finite set of volatile items to be worked on, purified, and fixed. On the other side of the ugly desolation, is a place of enormous freedom, power, and peace. We all would prefer not to have to go through pain, or snap our fingers and have things become a utopia in an instant. But this is, after all, an Inner Hero's journey. Like all such mythical journeys, the Hero must be tested by looking into the well of the soul, which to say the least, is frighting and uncomfortable. But remember: most of the terror is a result of an ingrained erroneous perception which it is your battle to draw out and transmute.

Remember when Yoda asked Luke, "Are you afraid?"

The brave, young, ignorant Hero replied, "I am not afraid."

Yoda replied gravely "You will be. You will be."

Aspiring Hero, you must ask yourself what is more important to you? Do you prefer the comfortable ignorance which has long been spoon-fed to you? Perhaps you are enticed by the pretty lies and illusions of a volatile transformation without much effort? Or do you hunger and thirst after the peace of a fixed freedom? If the latter, ask yourself what are you willing to do what terrors will you face and uproot to attain said freedom? Remember neophyte: Comfort is not truth, comfort lies within truth, and within the freedom it brings.