Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The usual giveaway is a word like “attainment.” He (it’s a peculiarly male thing in the online magical world) challenges my attainment after I offer a comment. Am I demonstrating the correct Thelemic stuff? Is my experience the genuine article? Can I prove I’m awakened?
It’s the same nonsense that happened in the schoolyard decades ago, and later on in adolescent debates and squabbles. But here it is again, as dismally vital as ever in a supposedly ‘conscious’ environment.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t just work intellectually in exchanges of online comments, but operates on an empathetic level too (even if some of your ’empathy’ is in your own head), it can be hard to resist being pulled in. Your own emotional response, and the knowledge that your own experience is necessarily not absolute, draws you into the game.
And underneath the goading, there’s also a pleading; a desperate need for validation. “My experience is the true one, the actual one. Right? Right …?” It triggers your own uncertainty, your own blank areas and doubts, and even a perverse desire to help the person who’s being obnoxious. After all, that should confer a sense of superiority of your own.
Spiritual experiences come, and in time the high passes. The mundane self resumes its habit-patterns, and you wonder, Did I actually change? Was anything in that substantial?
A key factor in spiritual work is what Crowley called stabilising in the grade. Ego inflation is par for the course with many openings, followed by a corresponding ego deflation with the passage of time. We still need to watch our own responses and reactions, our own pride, and our own iffy zones. Nobody gets control of all of it.
Additionally, for me, some key experiences are years in the past. The one that most transformed my life, the total mind-blower, came 46 years ago. It’s now an established part of my worldview, not a fresh event. I’ve stabilised in that “grade” several times over, and my work now is about maturing the long-term echoes of that and other key openings that came in my forties and fifties. The drama of such things is no longer that significant to me; so I can acknowledge that “I” am not those experiences, or even the level of beingness on which they have established themselves.
I might feel miserable, confused or lonely, yet I also know that certain things are true. The non-decay of certain of my negative personality factors doesn’t affect that.
Perhaps the online jousters, the people who need to “strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master!” see these things too, these habitual, compulsive doubts. My ones mirror the things they too haven’t resolved, or even addressed, in their own lives. And at times, they suck me into the game for another round.
But not as much, these days, thankfully.
Someone once remarked to me that spiritual attainment was like a sunny afternoon. “You can’t take credit for the sunshine,” he said, “so why think spiritual insight belongs to you? Mind you, we easily feel that if we only could, we could hang onto it till tomorrow. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Insight belongs to itself.”
In time, even the most ardent pissing match fan probably grasps that.
Love is the law, love under will,