Welcome to the latest of Time & Ritual
harry j. stead
If a man stifles the King within him, he will refuse to take control of his life, he will never ground himself to the present moment, nor will he embrace his true gifts and knowledge. Other people will be able to see his insincerity; they see his immense potential, they see his power, but they also see how he cowers behind others and never accepts responsibility for his purpose.
We each have a definite and set limit, a nature that cannot expand or change in any way. We hold onto prehistoric and primitive drives that have kept alive our ancestors since the beginning. The past flows through us. And if we do not explore and re-discover this volatile energy, we lose touch with our ancient helpers and rely instead on our mind, trapping ourselves in the weakness of consciousness.
The challenge of the artist, then, is to turn his heartache into inspiration, laughter, hope, anger, joy or glamour. And as he brings new worlds into existence and destroys only what needs to be destroyed in order for something more alive and virtuous to appear, he feels the increased strength and vitality of kingship and mastery. Suddenly, the ephemeral is replaced by the eternal, by that which does not leave us, by the beautiful.
For the natural journey of life demands that the young boy rise beyond the flowers and chocolates of childhood. He should, with great awareness and hunger, sacrifice his former life of oblivion for the fear he will remain imprisoned in the warm certainty of infantile servitude, slouched into adulthood as a slave of every impulse that blooms in his body.
Because when you are in love, you are in touch with the divine; you have the sensation that you are standing in the centre, that you have discovered what has been waiting for you all this time. Those who know better understand that they ought to trust this feeling even when, especially when, it seems irrational or foolish. For love has the power to create heroism from timidity, to make even the most uncertain path feel certain.
Language is powerful for it allows man to express their own story and truth to the world, but with such a gift comes a duty that we must be mindful of. This recognition is crucial if we are to avoid the horror of ‘Nineteen-Eighty Four’.
Orwell was encouraging writers to be clear, communicative, simple, strong and purposeful. Obscure, complicated, scientific, hollow and senseless writing betrays the greatest power that God has given to us.
“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
The dragon represents the greatest of all predators — a primal figure of that which lurks outside the unknown. But, the greatest of all predators, the creature that will cause you the most harm is, of course, yourself. The dragon, then, is within you or, rather, it is your ego, the image you have been taught identify yourself with.
It is, then, precisely our irrational, ungrateful and stupid character which makes people valuable and worthwhile. Life, by its very nature, is never free from suffering because we do not actually wish to free ourselves from suffering. We are unable to take away pain entirely, only change the instrument that is causing the pain.
The prophet is one who has experienced the will of God. It is he who has chosen to dance with his own soul, who trusts in his divinity, his true power, and refuses to sit quietly before a preacher. To rage against God is to rage against himself, and so he believes in and celebrates his own religion, unmoved by those who have spoken for a thousand years.
I do not think it is an exaggeration when I write the world is in a bad way. It seems we are in a period of flux where what we once believed to be right no longer holds any truth. The world is redefining itself, as it has done in the past, leaving its people confused and alone, without an identity or purpose.
Meanwhile, since the world is turning at such a pace, there is still the sense that we are moving forward. But, people are beginning to ask, what exactly is it that we are moving towards?
The wise man, the truly good man, Aurelius thought, is in control of his own soul. This is all that concerns him — to be at peace with his own spirit. He only fears making chaos of his soul for it is the only power that he has responsibility for. If he loses control, then he loses himself and is powerless to fulfill his obligation to nature.
Extraordinary men — William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle to name a few — hold a great faith in nature, they embrace a deep commitment to their true, authentic self. They do not tame the chaos within, they do not reduce themselves to facts and statistics, nor do they follow convention merely because someone tells them to do so.
Nilch’i translates in English as “air, wind, or atmosphere”, but to the Navajo it refers to Sacred Wind, Holy Spirit, even to the Supreme Creator that gives life, thought, speech, and motion to all living things, serving as the means of communication between all elements of the living world. Of course, no English translation can truly express the depths of Navajo philosophy.
“Being someone is all very well for smart parties where everyone is telling their story, it’s all very well for psychologists’ consulting rooms. But isn’t being someone also a social obligation which trails in its wake — for one has to be faithful to the self-portrait — a stupid and burdensome fiction?” — Frederic Gros
The journey, as Pressfield writes, is internal for art is not about self-expression, but self-discovery. No artist truly knows what it is they wish to express before completion. No, instead, the creative mind is moved by the unconscious.
No inmate could rely on their own expectations of how life should or should not be. Instead, for a chance of survival, you had to view life as a constant struggle for answers.
Life, then, should be seen as a responsibility, a call to fulfil all that is expected from you.
The search into your heart requires that you are alone. Put yourself in a place, as Thoreau did, where no one is able to speak into you, and you will find yourself isolated and unaided. You will be encouraged to seek within and scramble amongst the depth of your soul.
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