"If every Initiate would only attend to his own development before seeking to perform all sorts of activities far beyond his capabilities, the Mysteries would be much more effective among humans than they are at present. Good intentions are insufficient substitutes for good sense." (W.G.Gray)
Before you proceed with this phase I hope you have taken time to pass through all previous three. You will not walk this path twice, so every step matters. Moreover, in this chapter I will have painfully bad advise for you in case your soul and personality haven't been shaped yet by the experiences that advance the stage of Realization. As you move from one phase of the journey to the next the rules of the game change. And what was a recipe for disaster beforehand can turn into a gold-mine of Realization at this stage.
The previous phase Darkness is an essential pre-requirement for successfully gaining access to the state of Realization: It was in Darkness that many things have been taken away from us. Many ideals and dreams and ideas have faltered and died away. From the ashes of our old everyday lives a new person is emerging. Buried inside the cocoon of our old desires and substitute cravings another being had been waiting. This is the phase of Realization where we will being it to life. We will find out who we have become - now that we have let gone of everything that we were not.
W.G.Gray shared the wonderful formula above in his Inner Traditions of Magic. During the phase of Darkness we have deeply immersed ourselves in our 'Won't', i.e. into all the things we feared and tried to keep away from us.
"In other words, what might happen is the outcome of Will over Won't." (W.G.Gray)
Now our fears have come to rest. They are still with us, probably even more so than before. Yet now they have a place next to us, they have stepped out from behind the veil and into our line of sight. Thus there is no need for them anymore to assault and undermine our lives in order to be seen. From now on they will receive the attention they deserve, that is the same attention as our pleasures. We have created balance and taken away a lot of unconscious influencing factors that previously got in our way of solving the equation of I Want/I Won't=I Might. By no means are we completely free of our fears at this point - and we might never be in the future (realize the Might here?). Yet we have turned them from invisible ghosts into partners of co-creation. Some of them more difficult than others, yet partners still.
Having dealt with our defensive factors intensly during the previous phase, now is the time to focus on what we 'Want'. However, the important point to understand is that it is not for us to 'decide' what we Want. That is why I chose to change the name of this phase from Self-Service to Realization. During the previous three phases we have spent a lot of time cutting away brushwoods and weeds to clear out our inner gardens. Now is the time to foster the seeds that kept sleeping hidden underneath. We are just servants to bringing our inner beings to sprout.
Think of your new life as the creation of a Golem: you have received the inner seed of life through Trust and Joy and Darkness. Now is the time to form its outer body. Now is the time to create the body of your new life. And this is done from clay and water and with your very own hands. The body of your Golem is built by your everyday actions and choices.
My HGA once said to me:
'Be a gold digger. Collect the seeds from the stream of life you are standing in. Then chose which ones to swallow and which ones to return. By swallowing them you will turn them into realities. Each seed swallowed will come through from within yourself. Your body is their soil.'
So which choices is life presenting to you right now? Which ones do you chose to swallow and which ones do you return into the river? Choose wisely. Because you will become the soil for them to grow their roots into. You will be your own Golem, made from the clay of your everyday choices.
Here is the trick: The most advanced skill of mature adults is the ability to take care of their own needs. Not to require others to look after them, to serve them, to foster their healing and becoming - but to become their own guide and healer and teacher. That is the true sign of Realization. Only once we have realized this will we be able to give back to others. Understand this wisely: True giving can only come from a position of not-needing, of being free of ourselves. True gifts come from giving without intent.
The idea of selflessness as a fundament to service is the biggest logical flaw that Christianity introduced to Western philosophy. It is not selflessness that builds the fundamet for service but 'Self-Service' as a preceding step. The resources of fulfilment on an inner level are unlimited. Only once we have started to still our own true desires of becoming have we become rich and blessed enough to be able to pass on anything meaningful to others.
Any gift handed out before that is a sign of misunderstood self-sacrifice. Don't get me wrong: Self-sacrifice is a good thing if your children are starving and you allow them to eat before yourself. But it clearly isn't if it is abused as an excuse to shy away from the tough decisions required to face your own fears and move through them into Realization of your own true desires. True mildness can only be exerted from a position of strength. Before that we didn't have a choice - and our mildness was a function of weakness.
What I am trying to say here is this: underneath the surface of your Ego you'll find some true, silently sleeping desires of fulfilment. You will find the seeds of your life to come, the seeds of Realization. You have no duty in life other than to realize these - and to never mix them up with your Ego's vain wishes. The desire for fulfilment I speak of lies sleeping underneath your Ego. For most of your life it might actually have been the source of your darkest fears. Thus often our fears are much better signposts towards fulfilment than our desires are.
Following your True Will is a rough and stony path - yet also the only one that will lead to ultimate Joy without cause and a true sense of belonging and freedom. It is the path that has to be walked all the way, before we can start giving back anything meaningful to others. Because by then our gifts will be free of ourselves.
The nature of the Everyday Path is that we take each step in Malkuth. We don't move out of the confined space of the physical realm, at least not for now. That means we consciously refrain from manipulating energies on a higher realm. But we simply prepare the vessel that we are in Malkuth. And by changing some of specific fears, habits, motivators and drivers we will naturally start to attract specific forces and beings. Beings that match to who we have become on the material realm. As below so above.
"The spiritually unawakened says: 'There is no Divinity, nor am I more than animated flesh, nor are there other states of existence than mine, because I have found nothing to make me believe so. It has not shown Itself to me.' The fool says: 'There is no God.' The wise says: 'I cannot discover Deity.' The Initiate says: 'I cannot discover Divinity any more than another human - but I will cause Divinity to discover Me.'" (W.G.Gray)
A major step in the work on the vessel has been accomplished in Darkness. Now it's time to fill the vessel with life. So at this point on your path you will begin to realize forces that are approaching you fromwithin. Not because they weren't present before, but because you were blocked by your fears and negative motivations of fulfilling unfulfilled needs. It's only once this noise recedes that we are ready to listen and be talked to. It's the time of Realization.
This is also why I cannot give you 'Exercises for Realization' as I did during the previous stages. At this point of the path your journey becomes so personal, so much guided from within that you'll have to allow your life to take over and show you each step. What I can do, however, is to give you some 'operating principles' or stories that illustrate what type of changes you might expect in this phase of crafting your own Golem from the clay of everyday life...
Our fear of being something to someone we cannot afford to be has loosened its grip on us. Now we are in the wonderful situation of being able to afford to be anything to anyone. It simply doesn't matter anymore. This journey no longer is about us, but being the best possible version of a camera in the body of the patient we can be.
That is why the flaws that decided to stick with us since we emerged from Darkness have lost a lot of their relevance. Wether we feel we are still not beautiful, not courageous or strong enough, it simply doesn't matter to the Path we have dedicated ourselves to. Thus our flaws turn from obstacles on our path into fellow passengers. They don't obstruct the way anymore or inhibit progress. Yet, they enrich it in their very own way and create character and diversity on our journey. Some of this dieversity we will like and other we will need to bear.
Suffering from a chronic disease e.g. is tough and often it will slow us down. Yet it doesn't keep us from becoming a better version of the camera we used to be. Sickness just might be an area in the body of the patient our HGA needs us to explore at the moment. Maybe we will move through it, maybe we won't. But in every case being sick will be part of our journey, not an obstruction from it.
This one I guess is best illustrated by a personal story...
When I emerged from Darkness the incredibly intense conviction of moving to New Yokr City followed me out of the night. I had moved countries before and for some reason I was suddenly deeply convinced that NYC was the place where I had to be in order to continue this path. My wife and I discussed relocation plans and I started to look for jobs that would allow me to transfer. A feeling of deep satisfaction and happiness encompassed any thoughts about my future life in NYC... Then one day and several months later in meditation my angel said to me: 'NYC is an inner place'. It hit me like a brick-wall! Suddenly I understood what my desire really aimed at: it was a change of life that was necessary. And because the language of my limited mind didn't had any vocabulary for this new inner place my HGA wanted me to go to, it used a physical location to represent this inner destination. NYC was an inner place.
So I sat down and imagined my life in NYC: If had moved there already, what would I imagine to be different? What would I hope to be the same? This feeling of satisfaction I had felt when thinking of NYC where would it come from exactly? In which moments would I feel it most strongly? Which changes in life that might be hard to achieve where I lived at this point would have been triggered naturally by the relocation? How would I have re-invented myself once landed in NYC? I asked myself all these questions and noted down the most interesting insights about my 'new life in NYC'. Then I took a new paper and wrote down all the actual desires I had identified. I was most surprised how many there were - some of them seemingly superficial and others most profound. There was the desire to declutter my life, the desire for design and clear shapes to be present in my life, the desire to constantly explore new things, to be much more creative again, the desire to take more risks, the desire to spent more time with my wife, the desire to cut down time with people I felt held me back...
So often we pursue our desires by changing things on the physical plane, instead of tackling the required changes directly. We hope a change of location will bring about all the changes we hope for and are desperately frustrated if the new home, the long planned vacation or the exotic country doesn't live up to our dreams... Walking the Everyday Path comes with the responsibility to revert these dynamics. My HGA had absolutely no intention of moving the camera within the patient to a physical location called New York City. Yet, it absolutely needed the camera to change some of its features in order to transmit its signal better. And so I followed the actual desires I had realized: I decluttered my entire life, my house and habits, I cut down time with people that failed to inspire me and vice versa, I also changed jobs and I ultimately ended up changing many values I lived by. This was also the time when I started my blog simply as a means to be more creative again. My friends kept on asking where all the sudden changes came from. I told them I had moved to NYC.
When it comes to realizing our True Will - or building the Golem of our lives from everyday clay - it is important we rule out any biases based on one-sided gender imprints or social gender stereotypes. Unfortunately this is a hard point to tackle during Darkness. Even though connected to some of our fears gender really represents a category of filters in its own right. And the goal for this phase is to overcome this filter as much as possible.
So here is an Exercise in Realization for you: Wether you are male or female, imagine there is another You of the opposite sex within yourself. So in my case I would split into Acher-He and Acher-She. The exercise then consists in considering both voices equally before making any decisions in your everyday life for several months. Simply ask yourself: If I were still me but a woman how would I decide in this very situation? And if I were a man would I consider any different criteria? What has Acher-He to say about this and what advise would I hear from Acher-She? Bring their voices to life until they start talking to you from alone.
I practiced this exercise over many months based on an inner contacts advise. It was quite stunning - as I discovered that Acher-She actually had pretty different decision making filters from Acher-He. For her pleasure was much more important in life than performance. She took a lot of joy from being in the present moment, taking long showers, long breakfasts, long walks with the dof and looking for social interactions that would proof to be enjoyable. Acher-He on the other hand was much more solution orientated. For him any social contact had to be a means to an end, and Competition would be written with a capital C.
Sometimes I would lie in bed in the morning considering both voices: Acher-She would want to stay in bed and enjoy time passing, or listen to my heartbeat or just hold my wife in my arms. Acher-He wanted instead to have sex or get up, read, write or work out. Listening to heartbeats or cuddling seemed like a clear waste of time? I am painting this black and white here to give you and idea of the nature of the exercise. Yet, when it comes to e.g. decision in business the impact of considering both your sexes' voices can be both confusing and a demand for a lot of courage to say the least...
I played this game for a long time. Then after several months of exploring Acher-She mainly it dawned on me: By opposing these two voices so clearly I realized that neither of them was an appropriate guide for good everyday decisions. Both of them were deeply biased and limited in their perspectives. The question of real relevance wasn't what Acher-He or Acher-She preferred to do. It was which attitude was waiting for me once I stepped out of this dynamic entirely? So my search for a third vocie, essentially my own began...
At this stage fulfilling your true desires changes from a necessity to a gift. The state we are in now should have lost the sense of urgency to fulfill our needs that pushed us forward all those years before - as our fears and false cravings have been calmed down. Every next step from where we are at this point shouldn't be an urgent necessity but a gift. Remember each Adept takes the oath to perceive every event in their lives as a direct interaction with the higher realms or gods? Thus there is much to be learned from everything the gods are saying to us - may it be through the language of pleasure or pain. It less about what happens next and much more about our ability to listen what the events are conveying to us. It is from a point of inner calmness and awareness that we can start to fulfill our true desires in humbleness.
What becomes very clear here again is that a recipe for success at some stage in your life can be a recipe for disaster at another: Not controlling your life's direction and taking charge of where and what you aspire to become is pure foolishness at an early stage in this process. Drifting along with opportunities that present themselves without taking the lead yourself is a sincere mistake e.g. when you are about to enter work-life. However, once you have covered some ground, moved from Trust through to Joy and into Darkness and out of it again, the rules of the game simply have chchanged.
Someone who has dedicated themselves in service to a higher principle cannot push for direction through their own limited perspective anymore. If they would it simply would mess up their lives. Basically there is a requirement to let go and trust once - and onlyonce - you have developed the ability to direct your trust towards a fixed point beyond yourself. Well, I guess this doesn't make sense unless one has experienced it? It kind of reminds me why the Mysteries protect themselves?
Isn't this interesting? So many people I know would argue at this stage your focus should move the other way around: from the outside to the inside. Well, from what I have seen and learned so far I have to disagree. You still might work on an inner level yet the focus shifts away from yourself and onto the world around you.
Once we have managed to stop our self-obsession we actually become ready to truly engage with the world. We are free of our own motives. Wether we engage in an inner or outer realm, with spirits, humans or animals doesn't actually matter so much. Yet in every case the focus of our lives will move from within ourselves towards the outside - the wonderland that laid undiscovered for years around us. What I am talking about is actually becoming ready to live in Service.
Here is the last point with regards to Realization. At this stage we start to realize magic as it materializes in Malkuth. Looking from behind the veil of physical matters it suddenly becomes less important wether the veil is lifted or closed? You now know what is going on on either sides and how forces echo and communicate with each other through the veil of physical substance.
The angle of the camera isn't just as limited anymore after all. It has learned that the everything it encounters within the patient is part of one giant complex being. What seemed separated before slowly becomes united.
<-- Step 3: Darkness Step 5: Readiness - for your own exploration