How to Use Your Secret Powerby Rapunzel Blavatsky
excerpted from our book The Televisionary Oracle.
I hate to break it to you, beauty and truth fans, but some day many years from now your body's going to fail you. It'll utterly collapse and stop working. Your heart will shut down. Your genitals will go numb forever. Your brain will no longer whirl with liquid light.
That's the bad news. The good news is that you're actually dying little deaths every single day. The inside of your body is a killing field where your cells ceaselessly give up their lives in service to producing the energy that keeps you animated.
In another sense, your cells are tyrannical liquidators, immolating the food you pour inside you so that it might be radically transformed into useful substances. You're a slaughterhouse, beauty and truth fans. You're an uncompromising terminator who ruthlessly destroys the forms of the plants and animals and minerals that sacrifice their lives for you.
So you're practicing death every day in every way. You're committing little murders with each breath you take, each move you make. In truth, you're so thorough and constant in your deathwork that you regularly disappear yourself completely. A few years from now, there will be few cells in your body that are here today. Most will have been annihilated in the ongoing carnage, replaced by new volunteers who in their turn will also perish while expressing their pragmatic love for you.
Yet though your very survival depends on your mastery of burnt offerings, most of you have somehow managed to retain your innocence about it. If I asked all of you right now, "Who in here is an expert in the art of dying?", I doubt I'd see any hands raised. I'm not criticizing, but mourning. Not condemning you to permanent ignorance, but exhorting you to awaken. If only, beauty and truth fans. If only you could own the hidden knowledge you harbor. If only you could bloom a continual stream of vivid meditations on the death that energizes you in every moment.
But here's a secret: You can. You must. You will. Why? Because it's your best hope for surviving the ultimate death of your physical form. It's the foolproof way to learn exactly what you'll need to do in the moment of transition--when your body shuts down--in order to slip away with your soul's integrity and treasurehouse of memories fully intact.
You must practice death, beauty and truth fans. If after your current body fails you want to be born again in a new body in complete possession of the consciousness you earned this time around, you must practice practice practice death. Not just instinctively and unconsciously, as you do now. But with the full participation of your intelligent will. In the bright light of day. With your courage and gratitude blazing.
Practice death, beauty and truth fans. Not simply by noticing the destructive fury of your teeth as they rip apart the flesh you offer for sacrifice. Not just by contemplating your stomach's acidic assaults on this decimated material. Not just by tuning into the fires that rage in your lungs as they seize oxygen from the atmosphere. These visualizations are helpful, but for most of you they won't be enough to prepare you for crossing the abyss at the end of your body's days. That's because the processes in question have been going on since before you could talk, before you could even laugh or focus your eyes. They're too numbingly familiar, too woven into the unconscious fabric of your awareness.
There is another kind of death that is pregnant with more viable meditations--if you're a woman. It typically occurs once in every orbit of the moon around the Earth. When you menstruate, a specialized cell in your body, the only type of cell capable of spawning a new creature, begins a quest for larger life--only to fail in its mission and disintegrate. This is a death that is more shocking to the body than digestion and oxidation, and therefore more palpable to your imagination. It even generates a symptom that in any other situation is a dramatic sign of rapidly ebbing vitality: loss of blood.
Each menstrual death is potentially an initiation into the mysteries of the body's final demise. Potentially, I said. In fact only a trained shamanatrix has the skill necessary to extract the initiatory insights. Each month she steals a piece of the Other Side of the Veil and inseminates herself with its wisdom. Each month she becomes more and more pregnant with the secrets of death. Until one day--let's hope on a day before her body finally quits--she births not just a new vision but a new version of herself: an immortal soul capable of surviving intact during the traumatic exit from the body and the preparation for eventual re-entry into human flesh. Thus, she kills her own death.
Now let me address those of you who might feel neglected by my last comments: the men. I want you to know that though you may never be able to enjoy the literal physiological experience of menstruation, it's not inconceivable for you to court a vivid metaphorical equivalent of it.
Your success in this project may depend in part on your ability to remember when you were a woman. And I assure you with utter certainty that you were a woman. There was a period in your earliest life--indeed, in the life of every man--in which you were purely female. It was the first five weeks after you were conceived. That's because every fetus starts out female. Every fetus, in the beginning, has a clitoris, an Ur-phallus. It is only at the five-week mark that those fetuses destined to be males endure the spontaneous explosion of hormonal abracadabra that transmogrifies their clitorises into penises.
Think back, men. Meditate back. You'll find those five weeks. And when you do, the gifts of menstruation may begin to become available. Perhaps we may offer you some help in this task with the next part of your program.
OK. Now we're happy to present you with a practicum that should allow you to begin putting to use the ideas we've spoken about.
To begin, place yourself in a comfortable position. Relax and breathe deeply.
Now bring your awareness to the inside of your abdomen below your navel. If you're a woman, do your best to locate the inner walls of your uterus. If you're a man, faithfully hallucinate that you feel a uterus.
Imagine that a ripe ovum has just popped out of your left ovary and has begun its migration into your fallopian tube. You've ovulated. As if in time-lapse photography, follow that egg as it journeys. Let your mind picture this if you want, but more importantly, feel the sensation in the appropriate place in your body.
Can you sense that there is a sentience in the ovum? It's more alive than any other individual cell in your body, even the unripe ova it left behind in your ovary. Without getting sentimental or anthropomorphic, pretend that this little fragment of you is a potential new creature, a proto-being that vibrates at the same frequency as the first chains of molecules that were shocked alive by lightning bolts in Earth's ancient primordial soup.
It's important that you suspend any beliefs that might interfere with your ability to tune in directly to the actual living presence of this cell. What you're doing has no bearing on your political or religious notions about abortion, for instance. To worry that it does will only encourage your chattering mind to try to hijack this experience.
Now imagine, as you follow your ovum in its travels, that it's a highly specialized essence both alive and not alive, both belonging to you and serving the agendas of an ancient instinct that has no interest in your personal needs. Become aware that the ovum is on a quest driven by a primitive longing to find a nest.
Next, experience that perfect moment when its longing is satisfied. Feel its ecstasy as it nestles into the bed of tissue that has been prepared for it on your uterine wall. Exult in this homecoming--but not too long. In the ensuing moment, this inconceivably old entity launches the second half of its imperative: to be fertilized.
Simmer in this sensation. A thing that is alive yet not alive, that's both you and not you, waits, yearning with a desire that's millions of years old, to become fully alive. Feel it waiting. Imagine its vivid instinctual intent, its utterly concentrated animal readiness. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
And then visualize the moment when it gives up waiting. The exact second when it surrenders its lust to live and begins to wilt. Maybe your conscious mind is pleased there'll be no pregnancy. But a different mind in you, a primitive mind, feels loss and grief. Opens to the underworld. Falls down the hole. Feels the breath of death.
Now imagine that as the ovum and its nest peel away from the uterine wall, they send a signal to your pituitary gland to secrete the hormone that will in turn detonate the ripening of a new follicle. Feel the signal. Follow the hormone. Tune in to the ecstatic twinge in your ovary as the cycle begins again. And wish yourself happy birthday.
Meanwhile, remain aware of the dying that is simultaneously taking place in your womb. And wish yourself happy deathday.
Imagine at this moment that you are between worlds. You're both alive and dead at the same time. Womb and tomb are conflating.
And welcome to the Drivetime, the realm that is halfway between the Dreamtime and Waketime . . . the zone that partakes of both the Dreamtime and Waketime and yet is neither.
Steep yourself here in the threshold, looking both ways.
Now please visualize that you are the person you will be on the day your body dies. Pretend you're fully aware that these are your last hours on Earth. Don't worry about whether this is "real" or "imagined," whether you're psychically viewing the future or merely fantasizing. Remember: There is a realm that is neither "real" nor "imaginary," but both: a realm in between. The Drivetime.
See where you are as you prepare for your adventure. Are you lying in a bed in a familiar place, or perhaps in a musty bed in a strange land? Look at your arms. Are there wrinkles and age spots, or is the flesh still smooth and clear? How old are you? Wiggle your feet if you can. Stroke your own cheek with tenderness. How does the inside of your body feel? Pulsing pain? Slow, dissolving serenity? Confusion and uproar? Resignation and excitement?
Since this is wherever you imagine it to be, maybe you're not expiring in bed. Be frank. Do you think it's more likely you're going to die in an accident or during an earthquake or from a sudden heart attack? Or perhaps you've decided not to wait for death to overtake you on its own terms, but are going out to meet it. Can you see yourself standing on a beach, preparing to lose yourself at the bottom of the ocean?
If you want, run through a host of scenarios, letting each tell you some quiet or spectacular secret. But at last settle on one. This is your last stand on Earth. The sweet spot where you will take your final breath. Become aware of how much you love yourself. Tune in to your amazement about how beautiful and strange and difficult and mysterious your life has been.
See and hear and smell every detail of these closing moments. If nothing specific pops into your mind's eye, make something up. What color are the walls or the sky? What time of the year is it, what hour of the day or night? What are you wearing? Are there companions here with you? How do you feel about being separated from them?
This last question may be the hardest. Leaving would be simpler if it weren't for these grieving souls begging you to stay. Look into their eyes now and say exactly what you mean. In this propitious moment, everything can change forever. This is your chance to banish suffering you've caused, to correct a thousand mistakes, to alter the entire meaning of your life.
Or let's say that these are not your final seconds. Maybe you have an hour or two remaining. If you're dying of disease, your body is in full retreat from the fight. If you are to be killed in an accident, your subconscious mind is turning towards the Other Side as a dandelion swivels at dawn to follow the rising sun.
Become aware, then, that your heart is in conversation with death. Consider the possibility that your passing from this world will be nothing like what you've ever believed, and that your real education begins now. Does it seem pointless to become a student in these waning moments, or can you glimpse the hint of a reason to become more alert than you ever have before? What if this is a great awakening? What if you're about to navigate an abyss as dangerous and exhilarating as the one you crossed in order to be born? What if there is another life on the other side of that abyss--a life as unimaginable as this one was in the moments before you arrived?
Let's hypothesize that what you've heard is true: Your entire life can pass before your eyes at closing time. Do you want that? Say yes, and every experience you've ever had--every nuance of feeling, every amazing and trivial thought, every wordless memory of a memory--will flood through you in a vivid waking dream so compressed that only a person in your threshold state is capable of enduring it. Surrender to this extravagant blessing. For all you know, it's the fuel that ensures you'll make it to the other side with your self-awareness intact. For all you know, it's the key to a kind of immortality you never guessed the existence of until now.
As you relive your life in this timeless time, we offer you our love in whatever form you need it, from tenderness to adrenaline. We pray that you will see what you could not see before.
Spend as much time here as you need. We will leave you now for a while to muse and peruse."
Imagine now that you have intimately experienced two kinds of death without having to endure the inconvenience of literally dying. You've zeroed in on that moment when the withering of one ovum triggers the bloom of a new one. And you've learned what your life feels like when you explore it from its last moments. Pretend that as a result you're now ready to wield death's purifying slash yourself--with love not cruelty; with joy not violence. You're sensing what it would be like to become an adept of creative destruction, a master dismantler of whatever threatens to kill your soul.
Scan yourself now, searching for the hard, frozen fixations; the broken, frazzled obstructions; the angry, arrogant traumas. Track down the false hopes, short-sighted beliefs, and useless emotions that your death knows to be superfluous. Allow yourself to look at just one terrible truth about yourself; let yourself feel the suffering you've steadfastly refused to feel; come face to face with the ignorance you have nurtured most obsessively--the ignorance which, if demolished, would free you to become a more ultimate version of yourself.
This is where you learn firsthand what the alchemists meant when they said, "Dissolution is the secret of the Great Work." This is the time and this is the place to use the Death Medicine on yourself.
Continue breathing deep, hilariously sacred breaths. With each exhale, remember that your body is a furnace that destroys its fuel in order to live. With each inhale, imagine that enlightenment is not the accumulation of knowledge but the stripping away of amnesia. It's as if nothing can ever again be dangerous; as if not even time can murder you. You're better than dead. You're better than alive. You're dead and alive at the same time. From now on you will grow more ecstatically intelligent whenever you meditate on this: To the degree that you steal death's method and use it to invigorate your life, the specter of your own corpse loses its power to scare you.
© 1995-2013 -- Rob Brezsny. All rights reserved