the abyss of aloneness
– another metastory –
The grandfathers waited. So did the grandmothers, and the fathers and mothers, and the young men and women, and the children – the little boys and the little girls. They all waited.
Then Teller-of-stories began to speak…
“So, we understand that the Stories of Spring are to be found in the Mystery. We also understand that the Springtime of our civilization comes when It will, not when we wish it to. How is this to happen? How will the Mystery unfold this Newness? Are human beings completely passive in this?
“Let us first remember that this Spring is not like the one before, or the one before even that one. Each Spring is unique. The similarity is that it is always the Mystery that gives forth the New; how that happens in this particular coming Spring – that will be different.
“This is the difference.
“Before, the Mystery came on Its own. In the ancient Spring times the Mystery had servants – priests, magi, sages, prophets and initiates. But now this is no longer the Way. Now each individual personality must stand before the Mystery on their own – no intermediaries.
“Before, the ordinary human being looked up to the keepers of the Temple, to the shaman, to those who spoke for the Mystery – who served as interpreters of the Mystery to the People. But now, the individual must face the Mystery on their own – alone.
“How does this happen? Why does this happan this way – this new way, and not the old?
“The answer is this: Because we too are mystery. The Mystery is not something outside us, floating in the air, a ghost hiding in invisible realms. We are mystery, and it is only through that Gate – the own mystery – that the Source Mystery is found.
“So we look within, or we can. Not everyone has the will to look into this dark place, to bring the light of one’s own insight into the soul’s raw primal nature. Even so, this is the first choice – to look, or not to look.
“Here, in the face of this threshold choice, is revealed much, for just here the mystery, the small personal self, unveils its unlimited potential. This potential is written in the truth that the personal mystery is free to choose.
“Mostly we focus on what curbs our freedom of choice. We can’t have this, can’t do that, are not permited to go there, forbidden to try this. We often pay, being human, more attention to what is limiting, then to noticing what having any choice at all means.
“We are not like a rock, rigid in our passivity. Nor are we a plant, bound to place and fast asleep, lacking even dreams. Nor are we an animal, fixed in nature and only able to utter moans, and cries and wimpers.
“Rather we are human, self aware, awake, gifted with the word – inwardly in thought and outwardly in speech. We are capable of choosing: thought, speech, desires and action. We can end our life, or another’s. We can sing songs, write poetry and great plays, fight wars, build bridges and dance on the surface of the Moon.
“We can give birth, love, and hold each other gently.
“Many, in our age of confusion, will believe themselves diminsihed, jealous of another’s beauty, or wealth, or gifts of mind. And blinded by this comparing jealousy will not notice at all what a bright miracle they, themselves, are.
“Many others, however, will not be so blind. They will marvel at existence, wonder at self awareness, and ponder deep the mysteries of the mind and heart. To be human, what an astounding grace filled gift.
“So we come to the Gate of the Mystery, the small mystery, which is the own self.
“Some, confronting the mystery will choose to explore it. Each path of exploration is individual, but even so there are many dangers, delights and riddles that are common. While each individual will encounter these tasks and wonders in their own way, one particular common aspect stands out above all the rest.
“We do it alone.”
“Yes, we may walk side by side in life, with others who also are exploring the mystery, but each of us can only look within alone. Moreover, and this is central to all that is, or will, or has happened, we first confront our self as an individual.
“We confront desire, yes, but only in the form of our particular individual desires. We confront unwanted thoughts, yes, but something in us has generated those thoughts and only we can solve the puzzle; because, while it is universal in existence (the puzzle), it is always personal and particular in fact of experience.
“Choices, always choices. Some choices – the most difficult – are made alone, without guidance or support.
“Now not all choices are so bleak. Many occur in a social context and others, who share our life can play a part. But the most crucial choices, the deepest, the most difficult, these will be personal, particular and made alone, in the “dark night of the soul.”
“It is here then that our mystery makes its final preparations for meeting the Mystery. Because in facing choice at the abyss of aloneness, we accomplish an act, which cannot be prompted, supported or shared.
“Now it may be that when we are at this abyss, that Mystery will be there with us. Even so, we will not know it, or believe it, or feel it. We will instead, be utterly alone, empty of faith, or hope. We will have no knowledge, no pattern, no grace. We will, in fact, have to step off into the abyss in total uncertainty.
“You see, it is essential that our choice, this particular choice, not be induced with vague dreams of glory, or even the belief that God is with us, believes in us, or waits for us.
“This choice is to take place out of something in us that can only awake in this way, stimulated into being by stepping off into the abyss. Before this moment, it is not. Only this choice, only this primal act unfolds within us this essential core of our individual mystery.
“This abyss of aloness is not new. Others have experienced it, and it is their experience which gives our language such phrases as: “to be or not to be”; “the courage to be”; and, “the dark night of the soul”.
“Is it a single experience? Yes, it seems so, but is it also an experience we may approach many times and turn from because we are not yet ready and the time is not ripe.
“We approach it many times, dancing up to it only to back off and turn away. The darkness and uncertainty is fearful indeed.
“So we could ask, with good cause, why the Mystery places this before us. What purpose is served to be so alone in the deepest darkest regions of the self?
“We are, in the self, a given. We are, we exist, as a gift. But in this stark and lonely choice, in choosing or not choosing to be, we give birth to our true self, as our own act, shedding the given self much like an old skin, no longer needed.
‘The small mystery, as gift, dies, and a new small self-intended mystery is born.
“This then is the deep secret of the Age of Confusion, the riddle at the heart of the Strange Fire of the Day of Purification: From out of the given self, as an act of creation, catapillar becomes butterfly. We become mystery, because we so choose.”