Wolves. Generally they are pack orientated, but sometimes certain wolves are driven away from the pack, usually by the breeding male. In turn, these young adults go in search for a new territory and a new pack of their own.
In this process, some wolves remain lone wolves, and as such, these lone wolves need to become stronger, more aggressive and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack in order to survive. LonerWolf at its core is a search and a refuge for these wolves that have left their pack to find something greater.
Involutionary change is much the same as these outcasted wolves. There comes a point in our lives when we realize that the values and ideals of the pack don’t hold much value to us. That is the moment when our transformation begins; when the incentive to change is greater than the incentive to stay the same.
Transformation Through Sacrifice
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25, KJV)
In the above quote, Jesus of Nazareth is referring to the crossroads of choosing between defending the life we have known as a wolf in a pack – with all its illusions – and also letting that life go in order to enter the unknown. To defend our life is to ‘loveth it’, but because it has been based on illusions, sooner or later we will ‘lose it’. To ‘hateth our life’ means, in my interpretation, to recognize the illusion of control and decide that we are finally ready to face Reality in the truest sense of that word.
Sacrifice, or Sacra (sacred), Face (make), was what the ancients understood as the power of “sacred making”. Sacred sacrifices have been made all throughout history; from the early Hebrews who made burnt offerings at the Temple, to the Mayans who beheaded humans atop the pyramids of Chichén Itzá, to Socrates and Jesus, who offered their lives as messages of truth. In ancient Shamanic cultures for instance, the apprentice shaman receives a “calling”which involves an agonizing sacrificial torture, death, and often dismemberment in the spirit world (in alternate states of consciousness) and subsequently reassembles and is reborn into an earthly body, possessing newly found Shamanic wisdom.
The idea is that only through the death experience can man fully understand his life experience. Only through the realization that his days on earth are finite and his identity is illusory, can man truly grasp the importance of living his days with honor, integrity, and service to his fellow man.
Sacrifice has existed as long as it has been misunderstood. All through history, sacrifice has consisted mainly in actions of destruction; burning, ritual killing, fasting, sexual abstinence and blood-letting. Unfortunately, we have fooled ourselves into believing that we can obliterate destructive elements in our culture by repressing or destroying them. All these acts have completely negated the notion of Self-Love, of authentic appreciation for ourselves, and the dark and light within us, and thus the failure to integrate the Shadow Self within us.
Sacrifice is only possible with conscious labor and voluntary suffering. Sacrifice has nothing to do with morbid self-punishment, but rather it is necessary to give up something in order to make space within you for something new.
If you want to rebuild a house, the first thing you have to do is to demolish the old one. In yourself on the other hand, you must “give up” or sacrifice all the inner drainers of energy and freedom; character flaws like fears, laziness, low-self esteem, egotism, ideology attachments, and culturally conditioned desires. This will require immense Self-Exploration, Self-Understanding and Self-Love first.
Freedom Through Transformation
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:25–26)
The main transformation change we begin to experience as we become more conscious and aware of ourselves is the belief that salvation of any form comes from the external world. To commit to our inner change or transformation is, in a sense, to lose our life – not our real life, but the false life of dreams and illusions, the life that we have been conditioned with, and taught to believe in, by the world.
The first time I was going to enter an alternate state of consciousness as part of my preparation, I asked my shaman teacher why he kept referring to the experience as the Apocalypse. He explained that the word Apocalypse has an entirely different significance to “the end of the world” as we usually think of it. The word itself means “to reveal” or “to unveil” and it predicts not the end of the world, but rather the end of the world as we know it once the truth is revealed.
The moment you grow and release yourself from the enslavement of cultural values, along with unconscious desires of stimulation, possessions and socially acceptable lifestyles; you begin to feel an enveloping sense of isolation, you begin to experience your own apocalypse. Gradually we find that our friends and family find us less interesting, more dull, more humorless. Gradually we find that we don’t care much for what we use to.
As you become more authentic and stop pretending and lying to yourself, you begin to feel the hypocrisy and psychologically manipulative relationship games in much of what had formerly been your social life. You begin to find solace is solitude because it provides space to be the way you truly feel – it allows you to create a consistent center free from illusions and masks. Suddenly, you begin to understand the lone wolf who leaves the pack.
This solitude is essential for any spiritual journey. As we go deeper and deeper into it, we grow in Self-Awareness and begin to understand this immense chaos that existed within us. We observe how we were full of the most varied and exalted ideas, full of sympathies and antipathies, love, hatred, attachments, patriotism, habits, tastes, desires and convictions.
As Self-Transformation grows within us, we will gradually find that all this dual chaos is quite empty and meaningless. Through Self-Transformation, slowly we experience less thoughts, less reactive feelings, feel little certainty and no strong convictions or views.
What once strongly agitated us now simply leaves us completely indifferent. Every so often we catch glimpses of how artificial and imaginary our moods and strong convictions were. Instead, we quietly appreciate the subtle inclinations and tastes that arise within us.
With this new understanding of ourselves comes the greatest of gifts; that of an immense compassion and understanding for others, others who like you, are the victims of an immense inner chaos, social conditioning and unconscious sea of emotions.
The ancient alchemists understood this process of transformation. A lot of alchemists confused metaphor with reality trying to turn lead into gold without realizing that many ancient teachings were “encrypted” into metaphors and stories. In this case alchemy symbolized the process of striving toward our human potential; that of turning a dull, ignorant mind and transforming it into a bright, enlightened one.
In true Alchemy one goes through four stages of development:
The Nigredo; in which one experiences the darkness and depression of life.
The Albedo; in which one see’s the brightness of things.
The Rubedo; where one discovers passion and understanding.
The Citrino; where one appreciates the goldenness of life.
The Goldness of life will be discussed in the next article of the series.
Let me know your experiences and struggles with your own Self-Transformations in the comments below.