Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Alchemical Retort

I’ve given up depression, my favorite addiction. The revolutionary insight that brought this about was an unexpected and astonishing recognition that there is a choice. I recently discovered that happiness is an immense creative power both personally and as a cell in the body of earth---and that we can choose it.  For most of my life, I’ve allowed outer circumstances and their personal influence to set my moods. How is it possible to be happy in a world full of suffering, violence and injustice? Isn’t it even a justification of evil to be happy under such conditions?

The kind of happiness I’m referring to is the vibrant aspect of peace. In our current world culture, peace seems to be an empty and powerless state and frequently its only dynamic quality is the tension produced by holding disintegrative forces at bay. 

Closely related to happiness is beauty. Our world, and for that matter the universe is a glory of fractal splendor from the sub atomic level to the solar system outward to infinite universes. This is the truth of creation. Our world of struggle, corruption, death and taxes in the tradition of PQ’s tribe and in many esoteric teachings is the middle world.  In this middle world, we have the stimulation of dark versus light, destruction versus creation. It’s so easy to forget (or never know) that dark is the absence of light not it’s energetic equal, yet the tension of contrast is the dynamic of evolution.

I have all the material I would ever need to defend depression as an existential perspective. On sleepless nights, I can inventory all the inherited disadvantages, bad experiences, difficult circumstances, bad schools, oppressive religious background, family dysfunction, relationship heartbreaks and lost hopes.  After many false starts,   I have arrived at old age with nothing tangible to show for a lifetime of struggles and ineffective attempts to extricate myself from the situations and reactions that placed me in a bad starting position on this racetrack called life. I tried many times to turn lead into gold but the alchemical formula was a secret I never discovered—but perhaps it was never a secret but merely unrecognizable in the gloom.  Then I learned that sadness and depression were the very dynamic that kept the alchemical magic from working. Negative produces negative, not gold. 

I no longer feel depressed about the state of the world or the state of the country. I know I can’t change these things that play out over large swaths of time and involve the karma of nations over millennia. I can’t change the massive social storms brought on by this karma known as history, or the weather storms that physically act out our planets troubles. However, I can quit contributing to each hapless drama by succumbing to its mood. It is all too easy to be sucked into a black hole.  

As one must realistically expect with all addictions, I fall off the wagon now and then but there is amazing freedom in the discovery that there is a choice and I’m not just a victim of circumstances with the unfortunate position of being born into this world that is currently unfolding in an extremely dysfunctional manner.

Not only is happiness a life enhancing power, it has a healing effect on the personal environment that then radiates outward in all directions. There are many tragic, horrendous, cruel and stupid things going on around us, and they seem to be increasing exponentially. People without any mooring doing crazy things, corrupt governments, wars, confused and narcissistic leaders, human predators, “fake news”, all contribute to and seem to justify downward mood swings.

Some people respond to both irritants and defeats with anger rather than depression. However, it’s all depression in essence. Men often prefer anger while women more frequently prefer depression but they are both negative moods that lead to more negativity. There is already too much negativity. The reaction to negative experiences with negative responses doubles the negative power base until it is dense, dark sticky goo that entraps everyone who places a foot in it. It brings forth a mental image of the La Brea Tar Pits.  

Along with this discovery, is the revelation that real power uplifts. It isn’t power over someone or something, which weakens and degrades a victim. True power permeates the life force with creativity and healing. This world we live in is the middle world engaged in an eternal battle between dark and light and we are grist for creations mill.   We get a detailed view of our situation when the inner lights are turned on.  There is always the choice of offering ourselves to the illusions of false power or pointing our attention toward an enlightened world.  Whether we know it or not we are involved in creating this world.  Now and then, I remember that our world and the universe are still in the process of creation, and we as cells in the body of earth can be healthy or diseased and thus influence the outcome. 

Depression often hides under other emotions. It can shelter judgement, unfulfilled expectations, loneliness, resentment and unexpressed desires, among others.  Depression is static at best and otherwise a downward spiral. Many people in our manic culture deny that they are depressed and take pills and illegal drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Others stay frantically busy, or perhaps overeat and oversex. I think in retrospect that I’m thankful that I didn’t deny being sad and sometimes in despair, it drove me to keep searching for the cure rather than a cover up. Behind sadness, pain, despair and rage is an unacknowledged drive to find peace and wholeness.