Part Five: Self-initiation
the bridge between worlds; what drains the power of dreaming
© 2005 Antero Alli (updated 12/14/17)
ON THE BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS
Ongoing paratheatre practice opens a door to direct experience of the Infinite. We stand awestruck and astonished in a state of enthralling enchantment. However, this magic spell can also seduce us into making ritual time more meaningful than our mundane existence, especially when it feels that way. Though these inspired trance states can feel more truthful and significant, after the ritual is over everyone still returns to their daily lives and responsibilities. And, then what ?
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of paratheatre work rests with its application to daily life experiences. Insights, realizations, and epiphanies erupting in paratheatrical processes can disappear if they can not find a life beyond the workspace. Without the integration of "Lab" insights into daily life, these rarified experiences can dissipate like fading photographs. For paratheatre work to have lasting value, we must find ways to build and maintain a bridge between worlds -- between the internal and external landscapes of our existence. How to arouse ecstatic moments amidst daily toil and drudgery? Where can we find No-Form when snagged into someone else's soap opera melodramatics ? When and how to engage verticality in a crazy world that can look like a horizontal feeding frenzy? Questions worth asking...
We humans have always, will always, seek out and invent new ways to alleviate boredom, get high and/or attempt to escape the banality of mundane life. How to escape? Many escape attempts lead to dispersion and self-destruction, where no true escape happens at all. If this need for escape really is integral to humanity, how can we truly escape? Escapism itself is not the problem. The problem is this naive assumption that we can escape from reality. Nobody escapes reality. To truly escape, we need only to shift the context -- from trying to escape from reality to escaping into reality...to escape into reality through the very heart of the human condition. By choosing to escape into the existing conditions of our lives, rather than away from them, we tap the pulse of mystery at the very heart of existence itself. However, it takes a particular kind of self-empowerment to do this.
A certain kind of power is needed to maintain this bridge between worlds, the kind of power experienced in paratheatre processes - a power, not of our will but, of surrender to sources greater than ego: the power of dreaming. The power of dreaming must be restored before paratheatre methods can be applied in daily life. Why? Because these methods were applied in rituals animated and charged by the power of dreaming -- not the power of personal will.
Building a bridge between worlds can be achieved after exposing where and how our power is being drained. Many habits of power loss are unconscious and/or stem from impersonal cultural origins. We can wake up to how we are losing power by our willingness to expose, minimize, and eliminate the drainage points in our lives - what drains our power? Many habits of power loss are self-imposed and thus, can be self-eliminated. Other sources of power loss are imposed on us by others and by the impersonal dominator culture at large. Once our power drains are exposed and removed, the power of dreaming returns on its own volition. Nothing else has to be done. Remove the drains and the dreaming power returns by itself; this power is not of our will. Restoring the dreaming power helps sustain the bridge between worlds -- an ongoing ritual of Self-initiation.
HOW THE DREAMING POWER IS DRAINED
Perhaps the two greatest drains to the dreaming power are: 1) The Victim Syndrome and 2) The Courtship Compulsion. Both drainage points diminish the energetic body, the chief conduit for the power of dreaming.
The Victim Syndrome corrodes the will. This power drain is driven by self-pity and the immature refusal to accept one's personal shortcomings, inadequacies and flaws -- a self-denial often accompanied by constant complaining and whining about feeling "not enough". Poor Baby! When afflicted by the Victim Syndrome, we become as emotional vampyres feeding off the sympathy of others while hosting a Pity Party in private and with other Poor Babies. The Victim Syndrome expresses a disempowering cycle of debilitating self-indulgence that shrinks the decision-making muscle, resulting in self-made anguish of immobilizing indecision. The mass culture of advertising feeds and controls the Poor Baby syndrome by appealing to the unmet needs of the emotionally immature consumer, i.e., you are not enough without our product.
Self-denial keeps the Victim Syndrome intact. Defusing the Victim starts by earning trust in your own firsthand experience as a source of authority. This can happen by becoming more accountable for our own experiences, feelings, ideas, beliefs, choices, actions, and consequences. As self-accountability increases, so does the confidence to stand your ground and not take any shit -- either from yourself or anyone else. As self-acceptance replaces self-denial a powerful foundation of self-support is established allowing for greater personal freedom and creativity.
Taking everything personally feeds and fattens the Victim. Taking everything too personally is a symptom of bogus self-importance. Like with the tendency to be easily offended, we remain Victims of any strident self-preoccupation. Don't take everything personally -- it's never all about you. Unless you're developing a Clown character for a performance (taking everything personally always makes any clown funnier), know what is actually personal to you and what is not. Now Thyself. Not everything is personal; most of life, society, and the world can be pretty impersonal.
The Courtship Compulsion ravages the imagination. This more complicated power drain occurs with any increasing emotional investment in an idealized image of the "dream lover", or any obsessive preoccupation and search for "The One" or the "soulmate", or any psychic projection of charged emotion onto any external person that matches one's inner "dream lover" - what Carl Jung refers to as "the Anima" in men and the "Animus" in women. These power drains require tremendous psychic energy, belief and blind faith to maintain themselves. They also occur, for the most part, unconsciously - while we’re not looking, as if by themselves. It's not courtship itself that drains power but the out of control compusion.
The Courtship Compulsion veils a sophisticated ritual of self-torment where love is always wanted but never truly found. The mass culture of advertising feeds and controls the Courtship Compulsion by the Beauty Myth oppressing every woman and man mistaking glamour for true beauty (see The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf). Glamour casualties become assimilated into a vapid world of appearances that drains their inner lives of power and substance. A narrowing of consciousness feeds the negative spirit of Envy and its endless comparisons of oneself with others -- a meaningless life of inner desperation.
The Courtship Compulsion results from a loss of vertical integrity. When we seek and expect unconditional love from another person, it places them under immediate pressure to deliver the impossible. What flawed human can love unconditionally all the time? As this projection of unconditional love persists, we overlook something essential to our very being -- who we truly are at essence: Love. We are love at essence. By realizing as much, we can engage more fully in romantic liaisons and longterm loving relations -- not from any desperate need or search for love but -- from the offering of self as love.
Imagination expresses the secret language of the soul. Imagination, once previously projected and wasted on unattainable and self-tormenting fantasies, then becomes liberated to dream more freely from the fertile source of love itself. When nourished by love, Imagination resurrects and makes a home for the Soul. Imagination is like the canary in the coal mine of modern culture. Imagination death precedes death of Soul.
Part One: Orientation
culture, paratheatre, verticality, asocial intent
Part Two: Integrity Loss and Recovery
the force of commitment, what feeds the being
Part Three: The Performer/Audience Romance
talent and skill, the total act, the No-Form technique
Part Four: Self-Observation and Ego
function of ego, embracing contraries, the emotional plague