I recently received this question:
“Who am I?”
A very good question, and one that it is about time I answer.
This question implies another question by virtue of what it means to be a thing. It implies who I am at this moment, but it also asks, “What have I become,” relative to what I once was, because we all evolve and develop over the course of our lives. A question of who I am also asks to know what I did to become as I am today.
Therefore, the short answer is that I am the sum of all of my experience to this point. All of my choices, and decisions, whether objectively good or ill, they too are a part of me now. But I am also the fullness of my own potential at this point in the Eternal Now, looking forward into what I may yet become as a result of what I am at this moment. Incidentally, this also applies to you, the reader, for you too represent the totality of all you have become through the course of your experience, and only you can see the world through your eyes, as only I can see it through mine.
With that said, I am one who has been given a great deal of time to think. I have thought throughout my life upon things of relatively great significance, and only now do I fully understand what it is that has compelled me to think so much.
My very birth was surrounded by turmoil and distress. Of course I didn’t know this at the time, but only learned it later in adulthood. My mother fled my father, found a suitable stand-in and then wove a tale so intricate in its details and lies that it has taken me decades to unravel them all. She, still in my early childhood, had an affair, divorced, married again, annulled the marriage and remained in anger and solitude for the remainder of her life, never being able to quit the man whom she first married and never quitting the abusive relationship she maintained with the man with whom their marriage was annulled, literally to her death bed.
As a child, I was literally left on the sidelines and used as a piece on the board to be maneuvered and controlled at the whims of my parents who hated each other (my mom and my stand-in adopted father) after the divorce, and these events most-certainly provided me with unique perspective and understanding of the greater world at large, and yet it did much more than that. The sorted nature of these events created in my mind a sense of greater purpose: to understand why. What was the actual source of all this chaos, pain, suffering, and distress? I was never satisfied with what someone merely told me, because I learned early on that people would spin, adjust, or gently nuance even the most mundane information for personal gain. Both my parents were pathological liars (mom and adopt-a-dad), which taught me to listen very carefully and keep my eyes open all of the time.
When I was 12, and developing into the first sages of manhood (and interest in girls), my mom decided I needed religion and so I was suddenly going to catechism to be baptized Catholic with the intent to later have me confirmed. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF CATECHISM. I loved the scriptures. I loved that the stories held a greater meaning, and I loved that I was able to ask questions that neither the priests nor the nuns could adequately answer, leaving them to quote me the saying that “Those mysteries are for God alone to know.” I was 14 when I realized that the Catholic Church was in full on apostasy. See or read any history of the House of Borgia and you will get a sense of what I had encountered in my studies of the history of the papacy. I also realized that the concept of “The Fruit of the Poisoned Tree” applied to every religion which developed as a result of the Protestant Reformation, which sprung from the bed of Catholicism.
Yes, I did a lot of thinking as a teen. People thought me strange, mostly, because I thought so much.
Of course, knowing all this meant that I needed to think outside of the box regarding my next steps toward greater enlightenment and pursuit of the divine … but I was still pretty conservative, and so I was not as yet prepared to fully appreciate eastern religions. After much searching I decided to investigate Mormonism and found their willingness to seek for answers and the truth, and the idea of modern day revelation, to be rather refreshing. That, and they represented or facilitated a kind of larger family (something I really needed at the time) where everyone was brother this and sister that, and the Bishop was “Dad,” and the Relief Society President was “Mom.” It was here that I some time later met the woman who would be my wife at a Church dance. I seriously said the immortal words, “What’s a pretty thing like you doing in a place like this?” (which worked every time back in the 80’s), and we started a conversation that night that has continued to this day, some 30 years later. I raised my three children in the church, served almost always as a teacher within the church, and continued to learn and think, learn and think; as has ever been my mantra.
What sparked my leaving was a quote in the Elder’s Quorum Manual, wherein Brigham Young (the second Prophet of the Church, he succeeded Joseph Smith) essentially said it was the duty of the Elders of the Church (literally speaking to me at that point) to go out into the world and seek Truth, and bring it back to the members of the church for their edification, etc. I was inspired. I was literally given permission to go out and get some (more knowledge)! Prior to this time I had invested over eight years of study at the church Institutes of Religion (four at the University of Washington, and four at Utah Valley University, while attending each school respectively), spending most of my time in the Old Testament. Now I needed to see the rest of the world, and eastern religions, and the esoteric opened up for me like a lovely lotus flower.
In the time I have spent in the pursuit of my education, I have learned or rather developed this incredible ability to see patterns, patterns in things that most people see nothing in at all. In the realm of psychology it is called Apophenia, which is the human tenancy to see patterns within (apparently) random data. Of course that is considered a mental illness, and I’m just fine. How do I know? Because I am my hardest critic, and won’t stand for anything that is even remotely close to sounding like bullshit. Truthiness, as Stephen Colbert brilliantly put, is our greatest adversary in the pursuit of real knowledge, because it is the Ego that is doing the “uh-huh-ing,” and all of the talking. I have had some brilliant mentors who taught me long ago to consider the implication of whatever new knowledge I may have developed, and if it did not fit the picture I had developed about the topic (or the world), deal with the incongruity by recognizing that “All Truth can be circumscribed into one great whole,” and if you are not seeing the big picture, it is likely because you lack the proper perspective.
And so it went. I would find new ideas, new concepts, new realizations about the world at large and that which did not fit within my current paradigm was tenderly kept within the range of my sight, as I made an effort to expand my knowledge so that I could place those apparently incongruitus pieces into their proper position, much as one does with a rather large and complex puzzle.
Eventually, I left the church, being one of the last to go, largely because I did not want my influence to sway my kids in one way or another. By the time that my family engaged in its exodus from religion, I was already well on the road of the esoteric, and leaving was more a matter of just not going anymore, for me, because I had learned as much as could be taught by a religion steeped in literalism relative to the scriptural account presented within the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It was then clear to me that the original writers of scripture were almost always speaking in terms of metaphor and symbolism, all I lacked at that time were the necessary keys to interpret them correctly.
More time passed, and the universe gave me a few hard knocks – physically, especially over the last ten years resulting in my having even more time to do what came naturally to me, to think. By then I had developed my own concept of thinking, and how to do it effectively, and knew that thinking outside of the box demonstrated two things, the extent and evolution of the sphere within which your current knowledge was contained, and the command you now possess over it. That within the box was known, understood, and used to great benefit, that which remained outside stood as beacons to beckon me even further toward that which was unknown seeking to be known.
I studied everything, because I suddenly realized that everything actually was connected, and everything interested me! I saw that there was no event involving human interaction which could not be traced forward and backward to another event: that which let to and that which developed as a result of the object in question. Thanks to my parents, I understood that those in change, like our parents, would have no issue lying to us – outright – and concealing Truth from us “For our own good.” So I in addition to being a cultural anthropologist, an historian, a theologian, a physicist, a symbologist, and an occultist, I would also apply my interest toward Conspiracy Analysis. This too became a part of a larger whole which manifested in greater understanding and priceless fruit! It was the final piece I needed to make sense of it all, and it all made sense.
I had finally come to terms with everything, and had discovered my own particular eye within the storm. I realized suddenly, albeit a bit humorously, that it was like this when I got here (was born), and I realized quite seriously, that it doesn’t have to be this way. Still, this stuff, and those behind it all, are old, ancient, persistent, resilient, wise beyond belief, powerful beyond powerful, and not to be messed with, not even a little bit. I had stumbled upon the nose of the crocodile, like some fool mouse thinking it was just more debris in the murky waters I was exploring, but rather than run away, I decided to contemplate the crocodile, as it most-likely gazed upon me. The vision of the mouse and the crocodile was the impression I had within my meditation the day that final piece of the puzzle fell into place. I was a mouse on the nose of a crocodile.
I learned a great deal while sitting quietly and observing this great beast within the murky waters. I learned its language, and how it operates with the other crocodiles in the river, and strangely enough I had found a peculiar kind of peace, because as I said, it was like this when I got here, and the powers that be are so old, and so incredibly powerful, they are virtually intractable … and yet … I also knew that it didn’t have to be this way. I even understood that most of the crocodiles in the river would prefer it differently, but had become so accustomed to things as they are that change seemed impossible.
It was, and is, a bitter pill to swallow. For a time, I kept to myself, and dealt with my ego which was screaming at me to risk everything and just join the few out there and do something. And yet, I knew that activism was not the right course for me.
I needed to think.
At this point a comparison to the Buddha would be highly appropriate. When the Buddha received his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, he pretty much wanted nothing to do with everyone and live out his life in the knowledge that he finally had the larger picture. For the Buddha, the gods were necessary, and their appeal to the Buddha was sufficient for him to break his isolation and go out into the world. Since the gods were unavailable for me, I needed something better, I needed a loophole, or I risked being eaten by the crocodiles.
The answer came to me in meditation: “If we are to carry our own water in the Age of Aquarius, we can not do so in ignorance,” were the words I heard again and again, whispering. In other words, I realized, we can not enter into the coming age of new consciousness in ignorance or superstition. This, plus the revelation that in order to perform a Craft of Living Consciousness – which is happening every hour of every day, pretty much everywhere there are people who rule and are ruled – one must fulfill three criteria: There must be a director, an audience, and actors. What is not widely known today is that within the acting troop there were those who performed the role of the Chorus, which are not actually actors, but who are permitted to explain to the audience what is actually happening.
I suddenly realized, that would be me. I could perform the role of the Chorus amid our human drama and bring some light to some rather murky topics. Furthermore, I knew because I would only be sharing that which was being openly displayed to the audience, the public, I could do so freely and without fear. I could be a part of the solution by providing perspective, insight, and light.
Having found my loophole, and my bliss, I am where you find me now, doing what I do best, and doing something that I know will help more people than I can possibly imagine. For me, there is no greater joy than dispelling the darkness of ignorance and bringing some light.
It is my joy. It is my Zen.
I call myself “The Modern Alchemist” because I realize that I am not separate from my environment, but completely a part of it, right down to the precious thoughts I love to think about. And since I have come to understand this, I know also that hatred is not the way, fear is not the way, violence of any kind is not the way. We are a complete body, and any act of violence, anywhere, for any reason, is self-inflicted torture. We, what has now become the human race, we need to stand together, not in contest against oppression, but in love … real, genuine, authentic love; love without fear. I know that this is the only way for our collective future to be brighter: to put away our hatred and our fear, which is bred in the bed of ignorance and superstition, and come to a sense of ourselves, of who and what we really are, and finally Be.
If I have any part in this dream coming to fruition, it will be the greatest gift for which I could ever have hoped; because I will have shown love and compassion upon my greater self, by provided some much needed light to you amid all this darkness.
Who am I? I am that voice you hear in your mind as you read this. I am you, and you are me, and we are all in this mess together. Seems, to me, like all the ingredients necessary for heaven, all we need to do is to make it so!
And that … that is the ultimate Transmutation, the restoration of a Golden Age through the Transmutation of the Leaden Heart of Humanity into Gold. In this way we all can fulfill our potential and become all that we are to become, filled with faith, hope, and compassion bred of enlightenment and love, not fear, hatred, or distrust! What could possibly be a better or more noble pursuit?