The Lies. The Truth. The Answer.
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Chapter 3. Refusal of the Call: Being Sensible
The previous chapter was a call to adventure. An invitation to seek the Grail. Like all soul callings, it may evoke the fears of the ego which go something like…“Change the status quo…who, me? I think you’ve got the wrong person.” Yes, it’s human behaviour to play small, when faced with a big challenge. This is why so many potential heroes won’t take the first step to become a greater version of themselves. Why? Their fears eclipse their courage, indicating a lack of belief in oneself to overcome adversity.
It’s worth remembering, we only find courage by directly confronting our fears. Without the willingness to feel the fear and do it anyway, we offer a list of excuses. Many are plausible, sensible reasons, as to why we cannot get involved in a cause greater than us. Usually, we’ll refer to our existing responsibilities as the reason for our refusal. Such reasons make sense, so we’re not likely to be called out on our cowardice unless we cross paths with a mystic. In fact, quite the opposite, we may be praised for ‘coming to our senses’ and refusing the call by those closest to us, who fear change.
What’s In It For Me?
We tend to avoid taking the road less traveled and entering the mystery of life because it offers no guarantees. In fact, quite the opposite, such a quest demands complete trust and surrender. This is counter-intuitive for an ego-dominant individual who won’t commit, unless there’s a proven formula, a specific outcome or a prized goal ensuring a good return on their investment of time and money. For time and money are the two masters the ego serves. Not because the ego is bad, but because it is scared of losing what’s most valued in society, fearing it will never have enough of either. This is why time and money are the two reasons we most commonly cite to refuse an opportunity that calls to our soul. Time and money are the knee-jerk excuses that sabotage our inner growth. Why? The mind sees time as linear rather than cyclic and eternal, so it fears not having enough time to prove its worth by achieving its ambitions. Equally, the mind cannot perceive one’s true value without taking the quest within. So every day is a race against time to prove one’s worth. Hence there’s a predominant belief by those looking to fast track their success that there’s no time to go delving into the meaning of life…unless it will directly assist them in achieving their goals. This is why the vast majority won’t seek answers to the meaning of life until their ego has been humbled through some kind of major loss, usually the loss of what they valued most. Until such an ego-death occurs, taking time out to listen to the advice of a mystic seems utterly foolish, even crazy.
I Am Not Mad
Ironically, those who most harshly judge others for expressing less conventional viewpoints are often the ones who most fear being seen as mad. Such as the trolls on social media who abuse those expressing counter-culture viewpoints because they threaten their rigid worldview and self-identity. These are the folk who subscribe to the idiom, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ This kind of pubescent bullying is akin to those in the closet of self-denial about their own homoerotic urges, who enact hate crimes of violence on those who have liberated themselves out of the closet. Why? It is human nature to externally attack our disowned aspects.
Those afraid of losing their mind will similarly make excuses to avoid intimacy. Why? The act of falling in love is considered a temporary madness. To be available to the experience of falling in love or experiencing the mystical rapture of devotional love with the divine, one must abandon their rational constructs and directly face their fears. Namely, the fear of looking like a fool. Especially to those who are rationally dominant and therefore, hyper-critical. Those who cannot conceive of life beyond the rational mind’s constraints will dismiss those they can’t comprehend as inferior, on the presumption their mind is weak and therefore susceptible to delusion. This arrogance of the ego is what keeps many in a perpetual state of ignorance, judging what they cannot understand.
One must abandon the fear of not having enough time and money to serve something greater. This means risking harsh judgement from others to be true to one’s own heart. When our heart is more dominant than our mind we will follow a higher calling to pursue love, truth and wisdom at any cost. Only through accessing love, truth, and wisdom can we lift the cloak of gloom and cynicism that torments the ego and manifests as a morbid fascination with the dark. This is why prime time viewing features a glut of forensic crime shows and murder mysteries. To transcend this voyeuristic exploration of the darker side of life we need to confront our fears directly. Only then can we restore our lost state of innocence. Innocence is not to be confused with naive ignorance. The return to innocence is when one comes full circle and experiences liberation from their own negative thinking. It’s a lightness of being that comes with renewed trust in a higher power as an all-encompassing intelligence. This is why the oracle states the only cure to heal the ailing Fisher King, who represents the wounded masculine, is a meeting with a young fool.
Parsival, the name of the youth in The Fisher King, means Pure Fool. A derivative of the Arabic, fal parsi. That he is considered the one most likely to succeed in curing the ailment of the king signals we must risk looking like a fool to discover the true Grail. What appears as foolish, is in fact, receptivity to true learning and growth. This is perhaps, the greatest challenge for the learned mind which is full of preconceived ideas, so-called facts and opinions. For such a mind often seeks to bolster their identity and status, by debunking the mysteries of life. I refer to those who delight in proving others wrong in order to prove how clever they are. These are the science fundamentalists. Those who worship the mind and seek to accumulate facts, often to avoid the feeling function of the heart. Without realising it they deflect the opportunity to learn by asserting how much they already know. By way of contrast, one whose mind is open will ask questions like a curious child to discover what is not readily seen or has been deliberately concealed.
The closed mind of the Fisher King is what results in him being his own worst enemy. Like the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” he is old and cynical, unwilling to risk his status and reputation to bow to the wisdom of the mystic feminine. He has lost connection with his inner youth, his joy of learning and delight in discovery. This is why, in mystic traditions, truly wise sages often appear light-hearted and foolish, like young children. They have transcended the critical mind, liberating them from the fear of what others think, so their manner is uninhibited and spontaneous. Like the archetypal fool, the Fisher King must learn to drop his prejudices, his intellectual knowledge, his pride, and his arrogance. Only then will he be truly able to listen to the feminine part of his psyche and the guidance of feminine mentors to discover the riches of the Grail firsthand and heal his unbalanced psyche. It is interesting to note, the word, mentor was the guide’s name of the questing hero in the epic, The Odyssey. While the character known as mentor was male, his mentor was the Goddess, Athena, indicating the wisdom of the feminine is the ultimate guide of the soul.(1)
Why Don’t We Stay in Kansas, Toto?
The rational mind, our appointed protector, likes the comfort of what’s familiar, where the risks are known to us. This is why we may tell ourselves we’re being responsible by staying in a job or a marriage that’s unfulfilling. However, our inability to move forwards indicates irresponsibility to ourselves, as we demonstrate an inability to respond effectively to our authentic feelings and needs.
We may avoid this acknowledgment by casting ourselves as the martyr, seeing ourselves as noble, protecting others, and not burdening them with what we know or feel is true. However, even if our concealment of truth is well-meaning, such deceit robs others of the choice to make truly informed decisions. Alternatively, we may avoid growth by casting ourselves as the victim, blaming others for our circumstances and misery, rather than acknowledge our power to choose.
Often we will swing between the polarities of victim / martyr rather than avoid the fear of stepping into the unknown. So if we’re really honest with ourselves, what we may perceive as our comfort zone, in reality, is not very comfortable at all. This is why those sabotaging their growth tend to disconnect from their true feelings with countless distractions. As we age, this becomes less possible, as our soul seeks to become more dominant, urging us to seek greater connection and meaning. Inevitably, we become aware of how empty our life feels if we’ve ignored the call of our soul. This is why many men and masculine-dominant women experience are more likely to experience a mid-life crisis. Now, with the world in a state of crisis, we’re all having to examine our choices, regardless of our age.
The Handless Maiden: The Betrayal of Love
This is another Grail wisdom parable that speaks to the power of choice. Both this story and The Fisher King are included in Robert Johnson’s writings on the Grail. I recommend his writings as I find them very insightful, although his strong Christian bias influences his interpretation of the Grail. As a counterpart to The Fisher King, The Handless Maiden speaks to the wounded feminine and identifies the origins of her wound as the Devil’s bargain. This is the ultimate reason we refuse the call of our soul, and fail to uncover greater meaning in our existence. It is a lesson for men and women alike.
The story opens with a fateful meeting between a miller and a stranger, who is the Devil in disguise. The stranger offers the miller an opportunity to mill more grain, much faster and with less effort…for a fee. This captures the attention of the miller whose daily work is labor intensive. The proposition of more return for less output makes sense, so he asks the stranger, “What is the fee?” To which the Devil replies, ‘Just that which stands behind your mill.”
The miller presumes the stranger is referring to the old tree behind his mill, so in his haste to seal the deal in his favor, he readily consents to pay the fee, unwittingly making a bargain with the Devil.
The Devil promptly holds up his end of the bargain by providing the miller with the mechanical knowledge needed to establish a waterwheel to power his mill, thereby increasing his productivity and profits. This agreement greatly enhances his standard of living, and he and his wife quickly become accustomed to their new lifestyle. So much so, he forgets there is an outstanding price to pay.
One day the stranger returns to make good on his claim. Dressed in his finery, he arrives on the doorstep of the miller’s home and announces he will now take what is behind his mill. The miller takes him out behind the mill where they find his only daughter. The Devil declares she is his due payment. Only then does the miller realize the true cost of his bargain. It is a cost far greater than he could’ve imagined because his mind could not have conceived of such treachery. The Devil promptly takes the young woman as his property and cuts off her hands and carries her away. This signifies the stunting of the burgeoning feminine and the theft of her potential.
This symbolism is repeated in various tales, such as The Merchant of Venice, who seeks a pound of flesh in exchange for his favour and the myth of the Inuit Goddess Sedna, whose hands are cut off, and thrown into the ocean.
The Devil’s Bargain: Our Power to Choose
These tales show us how easy it is to sell our soul for something much lesser in value when we are naive, and unaware of the shadow side of human behavior, in ourselves and others. Like the saying, ‘Better the Devil you know’ unless we see our own dark side, we won’t identify it in others. Such naïveté is more likely when we’ve not received an initiation to confront our own shadow, our unconscious behaviours, when we come of age. This is what the Grail tradition once provided. Without this, we remain like a child, easily tricked by those whose motives aren’t pure.
So long as we are unaware we will attract those who seek to take advantage of us. This may be someone who flatters our vanity, placates our insecurities or promises the fulfillment of our desires. As I write this the criminal global cabal is seeking to introduce its dystopian New World Order through threatening exclusion from sporting events, restaurants, cinemas, travel and even work for those who won’t submit to be impregnated with graphene oxide, a lethal toxin and nanotechnology that hijacks the nervous system overriding cognitive autonomy so one is directly programmed by a hive mind supercomputer. This is done by altering human DNA with an AI gene sequence, an experimental medical procedure masquerading as a vaccine. Those who cannot contemplate such abuse of power are submitting like lambs to the slaughter in the most devastating Devil’s bargain humanity has ever seen.
Those who haven’t taken the road less travelled to explore their own psyche in depth are more susceptible, as the rational mind looks to external authority rather than observe the intuition of their higher mind. Since the ego seeks power and comfort, we are therefore more likely to hastily agree to offers that promise us what we want in the short-term, without ensuring we have all the facts of the long-term impact so we can scrutinize the terms. When we are self-aware and soul-dominant we are more likely to discern intuitively those who are offering us a Devil’s bargain. Rather than being enchanted, seduced or intimidated we will pay attention to the vibe we get from them or the uneasy feeling in our gut. If we hear an offer that promises us the world if we just submit our will to another’s bidding we ought to then ask, ‘What’s the catch?’
In the story of The Handless Maiden, the daughter is betrayed by her father’s greed. He places his desires above consideration of all other possible factors. Perhaps it is significant he has no idea of the likelihood his daughter being behind the mill. This could imply he was unaware she liked to spend time with the tree behind the mill. This is significant when we consider the Tree of Life is a sacred feminine motif. His lack of awareness of other suggests he is so focused on creating wealth he has lost sight of what was of greater value; quality time and connection with his family.
Such a betrayal of others only occurs when we have betrayed our own soul. In this case, by valuing material gain over time connecting with oneself and others. In the industrial age, we have been conditioned to betray the true self. We are indoctrinated to overlook our inner needs for external gain. This is why it’s considered normal to stay in a job we loathe or appease societal expectations at a cost to ourselves. The more we betray our soul, the more soul-sick we become. Each subsequent betrayal clouds our ability to discern what is true and right for us in any moment, leaving us susceptible to manipulation and deception.
Like The Fisher King, the story of The Handless Maiden encourages us to awaken our power to affect our fate. We do this through increased awareness of the effect of our choices. This awareness empowers us to take the time needed to scrutinize offers and negotiate fair terms on our own behalf. This describes one’s ability to take responsibility for their harvest. If we neglect to do this, we will forever see ourselves as the victim of circumstance, casting all the blame on perceived perpetrators rather than seeing our own part in the dance. This refusal to acknowledge our own shadow is how we stunt the growth of our feminine and remain immature, symbolized by the loss of the Handless Maiden’s hands. The part of us that can seize opportunities and create our heart’s vision.
Ultimately, whether we exist in a state of Heaven or Hell is determined by our ability to apply this lesson. This runs counter to the way we’ve been conditioned, to view fate as fickle and arbitrary, leading us to fear, blame or appease an external Divine force rather than examine the karmic fallout of our own thoughts, words and deeds and be accountable for our choices.
Just as the feminine element is water, one of the functions of the Grail tradition was to assist initiates to reflect upon their choices and take responsibility for them. This ensured no experience was wasted, as the lesson learned could be applied to avoid future losses and deception. Without acknowledging the cost of our own ignorance, we have continued to blindly allow deception on a grand scale as a species. Fortunately the more grand the deception has become, the more people have awakened to it.
We take back our power when we realise it is our betrayal of ourselves that results in our betrayal by those benefitting from the corruption in our world. So rather than focus our energy vilifying those at the top of the pyramid of power, we need to consider how we are each holding such an unsustainable hierarchical order in place. For unless we are willing to identify our part in the dance and unplug from a system that serves a few, at a cost to the many, we will remain in Dante’s Inferno without a hall pass.
Is It Just Me, Or Is It Getting Hot in Here?
Yes, the real cause of global warming are our good, but naive intentions that lead us on a slippery slope to Hell. This occurs when we collectively make childish choices, often motivated subconsciously by FOMO; the fear of missing out. For instance, we may continue to work for a corrupt enterprise in exchange for the security of a regular wage and benefits. We may overlook unethical policies and a toxic work culture to ascend the corporate ladder of success to create a better life for ourselves and our families. However, the more self-aware and connected to our feelings we become, the stronger the call to honour our conscience. This increased awareness creates an inner conflict between our thoughts and our feelings, the ego and the soul, until we submit to the will of the heart, that intrinsically knows the difference between right and wrong. Such inner tension is why most Fortune 500 CEOs suffer insomnia, muscle pain and headaches.
This is how all the dystopian crap currently happening on the planet is actually serving our evolution. As more of the shadow truth is exposed, we are challenged to act accordingly. So those who are abusing their power are simply a catalyst, like the irritating grain of sand that results in an oyster creating a pearl. Without their corrupt covert agendas coming to an alarming climax, we would undoubtedly continue to trade our personal power for the illusion of safety and security.
The world will change only when the collective consciousness shifts, or least the tipping point of the majority. Our current world crises is the catalyst for that consciousness shift. When more people make the shift to bow to the authority of their own conscience its inevitable we will create a society that is self-governing rather than deferring to external top-down governance. I’m not suggesting total anarchy is the way forwards. Rather, a new approach. One where we decentralize power and put it back into the hands of the people at local levels and flood the airwaves with consciousness-raising content that supports people to attune to their conscience and do the right thing. After all, even a child knows right and wrong. The truth is simple, unlike a lie which is complex, incongruent and rife with inconsistencies, such as the regulations being imposed worldwide in UN member states that don’t make any sense. And for those who say a Utopian ideal isn’t realistic, I offer the example of the Earth-based people who lived peaceably for thousands of years during the Neolithic period, before the rise of the empires.
The Truth Will Set Us Free
Without consulting the wisdom of the heart, it is inevitable internal pressure will build if our choices don’t align with our core values. We may try to silence our conscience with mind-numbing distractions or substances, but ultimately, we cannot escape ourselves. While an internal showdown may be initially painful, when we bring the light of understanding to the fears that underpin our self-negating choices, we inevitably liberate ourselves with self-honoring choices. When we honor ourselves, we honor those around us, even if they initially protest. Like the great quote by Gloria Steinem, “The truth shall set us free…but first, it will piss everyone off.”
It’s important to remember when we are summoning the courage to be true to our own heart, that when we betray our souls, we inadvertently also betray those around us. A lie to ourselves is a lie to those nearest to us, and vice versa. So too, not making a choice, is still a choice, albeit a passive one, and any denial of our deepest truth puts us at risk of our soul opting out via a sudden accident or illness. This tends to happen when we resist the call of our soul and our daily life becomes a living Hell with our unwillingness to acknowledge the need for change.
The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
It is a bitter irony that we may not seek the Grail, the wisdom of the soul because we fear looking like a fool, and yet, if we do not, we are more likely to be taken for a fool by those seeking to take advantage of others. Just as the Devil appears to the Miller, as his saving grace, the answer to his prayers, we must learn to discern truth from illusion or we will invariably make a bargain with the Devil on the false assumption one who seeks to harm us is our Saviour. For example, having blind faith in those afforded high status like doctors or politicians, whose motives may be clouded by their own bargain with the Devil, such as commissions from pharmaceutical companies or financial payoffs from private investors.
Use Your Antennae
The fastest way to avoid being taken for a fool is by attuning to your intuition. This is what often manifests as our first impression. Considered a woman’s sixth sense, it is a subtle sense that both men and women have access to when they develop the mystic feminine within. The Grail practices once assisted both men and women to develop this gift. This helped them to pierce illusions and know in an instant what is true in any given situation.
While intuition has recently become a buzzword amongst ethical entrepreneurs, the vast majority of the group mind still defer to the external voice of authority, such as the media, academia or science, rather than attune to their internal guidance system as their primary authority. Honing this skill is essential if we are to break free of the constraints of third dimensional reality and become self-governing sovereign souls. This requires investing time in knowing ourselves.
If we are not willing to have an authentic relationship with ourselves, we cannot hope to have any real form of authentic, soulful connection with another. Without a connection to our souls, we have no real capacity to love, so we may give up on love and settle for co-dependency. When we don’t believe love is possible, we are more likely to seek power as a substitute. This is not usually a conscious choice but an attempt to stay safe or bolster our self-esteem when we experience disappointment, loss and grief.
Compassion For Those Eclipsed By the Dark
We need to remember that those who seek to dominate other life forms do so because internally they feel small. Like the wizard in the story of The Wizard of Oz, who is a small man hiding behind a large projection of power. A tyrant’s greatest fear is being truthfully exposed for their weaknesses. In a patriarchal culture what are perceived as weaknesses are usually feminine traits, that humanise us. When we understand power and control are sought by those who are most fearful of being dominated, we can view them with compassion rather than feel intimidated by their displays of grandeur and assertions of power. Once we know their Achille’s heel, all we see is their lack of true empowerment. Like the Fisher King, they may appear to have great power and privilege, but they are plagued by inner torment. So rather than fearing or despising those at the top of the power pyramid, we can pity their own enslavement to compulsive desires, such as the need to achieve to accumulate proof of their value. Such maniacal activity is not sustainable, as one can’t ever outrun their own sense of inadequacy without facing it directly. And those who disconnect from their feelings to avoid their insecurities are as self-destructive as they are abusive towards others.
Those who have a seat at the table in the patriarchal halls of power have, for the most part, fallen prey to the adage, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This speaks to their loss of personal integrity, the erosion of their soul. This occurs when one compulsively tries to placate their ego’s fears. Like the Star Wars villain, Darth Vader, meaning dark father, who appears more machine than man, the more these individuals climb the power pyramid, the less human they become. The more bargains they make with the Devil, the more they become like him, an agent of the dark. Those responsible for heinous acts and corruption will inevitably pay the ultimate price, even if they appear to have gotten away with murder. As no one can escape their own conscience or the repercussions of the universal law of reciprocity; cause and effect. When we understand this we don’t feel a compulsion to enact vigilante justice, which simply perpetuates a karmic cycle of war.
Love or Power: What Is Your Choice?
If the Grail’s main intention is to promote a culture where love prevails, and we live in a society where the Grail has been oppressed, it stands to reason that love holds the key to healing the existing paradigm where power reigns, destroying all that we love.
Love is, therefore, the ultimate form of activism. If our actions are motivated by love for the greater good, not ourselves, we all win. Those who have amassed the most power during the longest-running game of Monopoly ever played have done so at the expense of others. Whether that’s sacrificing the innocent, making profits via sweatshop labor or assassinating whistleblowers and those who stand in their way. Yes, the ruling elite are those who have dominated others to serve their own interests. Ironically, those who claim to be philanthropists and benevolent monarchs are often the worst offenders!
“We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
If love, as the answer to the world’s problems sounds like hippie, flower power nonsense, consider how Mahatma Gandhi successfully ended the rule of the British empire in India. He inspired people to rise up against their oppressors because his love for his people was so fierce, he risked his own life, repeatedly engaging in provocative acts of non-compliance with unjust laws. This is the behavior of a sovereign being. One who follows the conviction of their heart’s conscience, rather blindly comply with rules imposed by an external authority. Secondly, he emphasized non-violence when attacked by oppressors. Non-violence in the face of injustice further highlights inappropriate abuses of power and promotes fellowship by appealing to the perpetrator’s conscience. When Ghandi’s compatriots did retaliate with violence, he risked his own life by going on a hunger strike. He did this so his people would see the pain that their violence caused to his own heart. This action touched their heart and the violence ceased. Gandhi illustrated love in action and showed we can achieve miracles when we trust in the urgings of our hearts and follow them earnestly, even in the face of grave opposition.
Our challenge now as a species is to find our way back to love. We inspire those around us to rise to the occasion and be the best version of themselves when we are loving. Equally, when we lack self-love, we project our unresolved issues onto those closest to us. When our core wounds from childhood are unhealed, we inadvertently perceive, speak and act from a wounded place, and this wounds others, creating more pain and conflict. So the healing of past trauma is the most crucial contribution we can make to the world around us. For it is lack of healing, borne of self-neglect, that undermines our belief in love. It is our cynicism about love that leads us to co-create unconscious power dynamics. Whether that’s in our families, schools, workplaces, sports or social clubs. When we lack healing and empowerment we are unwittingly complicit in contributing to group dynamics where a dominant ego rules, overtly or covertly. A hierarchy then forms according to the levels of allegiance to the top dog. This subtle compliance is done to ensure one’s own social survival, to avoid being the group scapegoat. The more power on offer at the top of the pyramid, the more ruthless the tactics employed.
Unconscious group dynamics create a culture of fear, corruption and endemic trauma, as disempowered individuals seek to dominate to avoid being dominated. This is the lowest expression of humanity. However, even if we come from a conscious and loving home environment, at age seven, our locus of reality shifts from internal to external, and we become more aware of how others see us. This is when we are more likely to succumb to social pressure to enhance our status. This intensifies during our teens and twenties when the ego is most dominant. Toxic group dynamics are fed by destructive mind programming that’s disseminated via entertainment targeting the youth generation. How? Through social media, virtual games, TV shows and movies that anchor the belief that everyone loves a winner. Yes, we are repeatedly instilled with the concept that we must make something of ourselves, fit the projected model of social acceptance and prove our worth to be worthy of love. This results in a preoccupation with achieving the perfect body or a great job to attract a partner or great grades to gain parental approval. This sends the message we are intrinsically worthless. Only when we accept the call to adventure will we discover our worth is infinite as divine beings whose essence is eternal love. Only then do we break this enchantment and stop trying so hard to fit in by appearing acceptable or impressive.
(1)The Hero Has a Thousand Faces. Joseph Campbell