Part Five: Self-initiation
the bridge between worlds; what drains the power of dreaming
© 2005 Antero Alli (updated 3/22/18)
ON THE BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS
Ongoing paratheatre practice can open a door to direct experience of the Infinite. We stand awestruck and astonished in a trance 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 how it can be applied and integrated into daily life experiences. Insights, realizations, and epiphanies erupting in paratheatrical processes can disappear if they do 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, the infinite and finite, landscapes of our existence. How to arouse ecstatic moments amidst daily toil and drudgery? Where to find No-Form when snagged into someone else's soap opera melodramatics ? When and how to engage verticality in a crazy mixed up world ? 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 do it ? 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 of escape -- from trying to escape from reality to escaping into reality -- escaping 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 can tap the pulse of mystery at the very heart of existence itself. However, it takes a particular kind of power to do this, a power to maintain a kind of bridge between our inner and outer worlds. This kind of power does not originate in our personal will but from surrender to sources greater than ego. I call this the power of dreaming. It is not the power of personal will.
Building a bridge between worlds can be achieved after exposing where and how the power of dreaming is being drained. Many habits of power loss are unconscious and/or stem from impersonal cultural origins. When we wake up to how we are losing power, we are faced with the choice to minimize and eliminate the drainage points in our lives or keep suffering power loss. What drains our power? Many habits of power loss are self-imposed and 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; rememeber, this power is not of our will. Restoring the dreaming power helps sustain the bridge between worlds and expresses 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 maintains itself by self-pity and the immature refusal to accept one's personal shortcomings, inadequacies and flaws -- a kind of self-denial of 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 or with other Poor Babies. The Victim Syndrome expresses a disempowering cycle of debilitating self-indulgence that shrinks the decision-making muscle, resulting in the self-created anguish of 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 enough trust in your firsthand experience as a source of authority. This can happen by becoming more accountable for your 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 develops -- allowing for greater personal freedom and creativity.
Taking everything too personally fattens the Victim with bogus self-importance. We are more easily offended to the extent we suffer from too much self-preoccupation. Unless you're developing a Clown character for a performance (taking everything personally makes any clown funnier), it's a good idea to discover what is actually personal to you and what is not. Now Thyself. Not everything is personal; most of life, society, the culture and the world at large can be pretty fucking 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", and/or any obsessive search for "The One" or the "soulmate", and its psychic projection of charged emotion onto any external person that matches that inner "dream lover" image (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 and can leave us feeling drained like nothing else. 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 one-sided courtship 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). The consciousness of glamour casualties becomes assimilated into a vapid world of appearances that drains the inner life of power and substance. This narrowing of consciousness feeds the negative spirit of Envy and its endless comparisons of oneself with others, resulting in a meaningless life of inner desperation. The Hungry Ghost life.
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 any external projection of unconditional love persists, we overlook who we truly are at essence. We are love at essence. By realizing as much, we can engage in romantic liaisons and longterm loving relations -- not from any desperate need or search for love but -- from the offering of self as love. Being in love - resting in our essence as love itself -- takes on new meaning here.
Imagination expresses the language of the soul. Imagination, once previously projected and wasted on unattainable and self-tormenting fantasies, can become 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. In tis way, Imagination acts like the canary in the coal mine of modernday 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