Part Six: Self-initiation
a bridge between worlds; drains to the power of dreaming
© 2005 Antero Alli (updated 3/26/12)
ON THE BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of paratheatre is applying the Lab work to daily life. All the insights, realizations, and epiphanies can go for naught if they cannot somehow be applied beyond the workspace itself. Without integration into our mundane daily existence, these in-depth experiences find retreat in the depths of our cellular memory (where they can also be recalled). When we discover in paratheatre is not applied to our daily existence, our work parallels a kind of church-on-Sunday ritual where we repent once a week and then go back to business as usual.
For paratheatre work to have lasting value, there must be some process of building and maintaining a bridge between inner and outer worlds. This bridge-building process requires an awareness of how to apply the mysteries of the internal landscape to the mundane responsibilities of daily survival. How to maintain ecstatic moments amidst daily drudgery ? How to integrate the asocial experience of verticality with our social community activities and involvements? Questions worth asking...
Ongoing paratheatre practice opens a door to extended glimpses of the Infinite and, like any effective ritual, we discover our participation in the cosmos. We stand awestruck and astonished in a state of enchantment. However, enchantment creates its own trance that can easily seduce ego into assigning a priori status to this magical experience, making it more meaningful than our mundane existence. Though these ritual events can feel more truthful and significant, after the ritual is over everyone still returns to their daily lives and responsibilities. And, then what ? There is no escaping mundane reality.
If we approach paratheatre as an escape from our mundane lives, the critical process of integrating its numinous soulful influence will be frustrated. Please understand; I am not anti-escapist. Escapism remains integral to the human condition. We have always, and will always, seek out and invent new ways to alleviate boredom, get high and/or transcend our mundane toil. But what if the human desire for escape can be redirected ? Instead of trying to escape from reality, why not choose to escape into reality, into the very heart of the human condition? Escaping into the existing conditions of our lives can weave the refined thread of numin into the rougher fabric of mundane existence, infusing vertical presence into our more horizontally-based activities. This is what is meant by bridging the worlds and a more progressive escape into reality -- an escape into the existing conditions of our lives.
It takes a strong, supple, and flexible ego to traverse between inner and outer worlds. Like the ancient Greek god Hermes, we are all capable of moving between the daytime upper world and the underworld of the soul's domain. However, to do so requires a certain kind of power. The power required to freely enter the inner worlds and then return to the outer daytime world is not a given; that power must be earned. I refer to the power of dreaming ourselves awake, the power to dream ourselves into existence, the power to make our dreams come true. This power can be earned by first exposing how it has been drained. Many are the unconscious habits of power loss. Once we become conscious of how we are losing power, we can empower ourselves by minimizing these drainage points and eventually removing them from our existence altogether. Since most habits of power loss are self-imposed, they can also be self-eliminated. Once power drains are exposed and removed, the power of dreaming returns on its own volition and presence. This return of the dreaming power maintains the bridge between worlds and constitutes a dynamic ritual of Self-initiation.
HOW THE DREAMING POWER IS DRAINED
Perhaps the two greatest drains to the dreaming power -- our power to dream ourselves awake and into manifestation -- are: 1) The Victim Syndrome and 2) The Courtship Compulsion. Both ravage the energetic body, the chief conduit for the power of dreaming in the current era.
The Victim Syndrome corrodes and destroys the will of the individual. This power drain works by self-pity and any immature refusal to accept one's personal shortcomings, inadequacies and flaws and all its incessant complaining and whining about feeling "not enough". Poor Baby! When afflicted by the Victim Syndrome, we can become as emotional vampyres feeding off the sympathy of others while continuing the Pity Party in private or with other Poor Babies. The Victim Syndrome expresses a disempowering cycle of debilitating self-indulgence that atrophies the decision-making muscle, resulting in the self-made agonies 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.
The Courtship Compulsion weakens the heart and wastes 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 said "dream lover" picture. All these processes require tremendous psychic energy, belief and blind faith to maintain themselves. And all occur, for the most part, unconsciously - while we’re not looking.
The Courtship Compulsion veils a sophisticated sadomasochistic ritual of self-torment where love is always truly wanted but never truly found. The mass culture of advertising feeds and controls the Courtship Compulsion by the Beauty Myth that masks the widespread oppression of women and men who mistake glamour for true beauty -- the mirror reflection for their true self -- and become absorbed in a vapid world of appearances only. The narrowing effect this has on consciousness attracts and feeds the negative spirit, or emotion, of Envy and its endless chain of meaningless comparisons with others. The resulting dilemma of a meaningless life...
The spiritual root of the Courtship Compulsion dwells in the authentic yearning produced by any significant loss of verticality -- the greater the loss of vertical connection, the greater the yearning. If we can restore personal communion with our vertical sources, what some might call "God" or 'divinity', this courtship compulsion can be transformed by revisioning love as true nature. Love may not be something we need, as we have so effectively been conditioned to believe, but who we are at essence. Realizing our true nature as love, we can engage more openly and fully in romantic liaisons and longterm relations with ourselves and others, not from any desperate need or search for love but, as an act of love itself in the offering of self. Self as love. The imagination, once previously projected and wasted on bleak, unattainable and self-tormenting fantasies, is liberated to dream itself more fully from a fertile source of love itself. When nourished by love, Imagination flourishes and makes a home for the soul. The life of Imagination precedes the life of the soul.
Perhaps the final challenging consequence of consistent paratheatre work manifests as a sensitizing of the human instrument -- physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, somatically and psychically -- for anyone living in a society veering towards depersonalization, desensitization and demoralization of its people. Traditionally this problem has been addressed -- with greater and lesser successes -- by sangha, monasteries, ashrams and other spiritual communities and microcultures that are set up to support the awakening Self-realizing human being. Those awakening from the nightmare of history necessarily seek solace and refuge in the community -- the common unity -- of kindred souls and like minds. Whether this occurs through virtual online communities, real-time communal living and/or through creative and artistic group ventures and projects does not matter. What matters is that we find each other.
What matters is that we find each other.
Part One: Orientation
culture, paratheatre, the emotional plague
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
on the function of ego, on playing contraries
Part Five: Double Vision
on the interaction of the first and second attentions
Part Seven: A Cultural Overview
the war in heaven and a society gone mad