(Overcoming Dopamine Dependency and Facing Yourself)
by Adam Crosthwaite
As an initiate of the esoteric in Qabalah under Rev. Strickler I have seen, learned and experienced enough in the moments with him or in those moments engaged along the path with work’s he has shown or included me in to change a hundred lifetimes. All these experiences and now years of learning and growing yet, at times, I must question if there has been any progress at all. In keeping with the teaching and traditions of the esoteric masters I work to understand by dialog yet at the end of the week, month or year I find myself taking stock of what was missed and what was gained. As those who fail to learn through understanding of dialog must undergo the pain of learning through experience the laboratory of everyday life as always provides the materials for the student, myself, to undergo yet another experiment. In other words, here we go again.
There are moments when experiences along the Spiritual Path become surreal. There are times when I find myself questioning if I am even on a Spiritual Path let alone heading in the right direction. Even in a seemingly perfect situation with no obvious distractions or obstacles a person can find themselves struggling with a self-made quagmire while remaining completely unaware of the dire circumstances and impending catastrophe approaching. This could look a lot like a scary movie when the audience is trying to tell the characters not to open the cellar door or hide under the bed because that’s where the monsters are waiting for them. Everyone knows what is going to happen, even the other characters may know what is coming, but true to script the next victim willingly walks into that trap as if it was meant to be. When Rev. Strickler talks about the Spirit and Soul trying to communicate with the personality and ego I see it looking something like this. Few things are as frustrating as witnessing someone yelling at an unaware character on a screen who is about to walk into a bad situation that can be avoided if not for want of a clear sense of hearing in a real life situation.
The effect is much like what we are seeing with the current digital generation as more people every day become befuddled by the numerous forms from which they can receive their digital dose of dopamine. The constant interruption of personal interactions, conversations and even driving not only frustrate and confuse the senses as well as others, it lends an opening for outside interferences. These interferences can become dangerous on many levels. Also when another person attempts to make contact to share or voice concern or even just to offer assistance, the message becomes distorted or dismissed. In my case I believed that others were just over-reacting to something that I could control. I told myself that they were panicking and I had things under control that I could turn my circumstance around at any time and with minimal effort. That’s right, the classic mantra of the addict. “I don’t have a problem. Everything is under control. I can change whenever I want to.”
To further the frustration I could hear the voices of reason in my own circumstance coming from those around me that I trust and care about warning me yet I stayed true to the script that I had written out as if preordained to become the next victim of circumstance. At one point I could hear my own voice with in me screaming and pounding on the hollow walls of my mind to change the trajectory. I was aware of my circumstance and even how to reverse it. I had the time, space, resources and knowledge to achieve this. I had worked under great frustration and determination for years to get to the point I was at and I had only a few steps to make a goal that was I set out for over ten years ago. I even had great assistance from outside of my own abilities that made the path much more smother than it could have been yet I still missed the mark. I took a moment to rest for a breath and turned it into much more than just that allowing those aspects of the personality I had worked on to emerge in true form and fashion just as they did in the past.
Any behavioral distraction to avoid an interaction between a person and the emotive forces that are present at all times, whether they are aware of it or not, will do the trick in order to either postpone or all together ignore the messages sent out as a warning or worse a distress call for a much bigger more pressing issue. Whatever the form of the distraction, be it food, sex, drugs, entertainment, the ambiguous acceptance of total strangers from some social network or any other form of self-subterfuge; they are all a means to mask a fact that something is being avoided. No matter how big or small the issue is, the squaring off with and facing of one’s personal self in relation to the issue must take place. No amount of dopamine can ever take that away.
The famous and often misquoted line from the poem Marmion by Sir Walter Scott 1 comes to mind as a haunting reminder of just how complicated this world can become when one seeks to undermine the truth for themselves. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” A person can become so entangled I their own illusion that they become deaf and blind to the signs and warnings all around them. Even when the voice of reason is screaming inside their own mind to get up and move in the right direction they can remain in that state of numbness and apathy like a fish that becomes frozen in ice because it failed to move to warmer water as the freezing winter moved in. Yet as odd as a picture that makes in one’s mind (a fish frozen in a lake) because fish always move on, one can just as easily find themselves in that very same paradoxical position even though it is against the nature of a person to stand still in a state of ignorance. So much can be missed all for the sake of distraction from pain no matter how small or great.
And so, back to the cleaning and untangling of webs as I stand with in the garden of my own circle of influence reaching out choosing life over death once again. I begin the next stage of my climb up the spiraling path of return seeking out truths and facing the challenges set forth by my own ignorance. The great web of biological circuitry (nervous system) I have been given to operate through in this world still remains handy as a working laboratory for me to work on my own Alchemical process of change and Spiritual Evolution. Regardless of how much aid is offered or what others may say to help or point out things, it is the work and attention along with being receptive, not just hearing but understanding, the messages from sources both externally and internally that lend themselves to guidance along the path.
With the aid, guidance and compassion of my teacher, Rev. Strickler and the ancient lineage of esoteric teachers proceeding from an unbroken line of hidden meaning (Sod: pronounced sewd or sood –meaning “hidden”) from the emerging application of knowledge (like D’rash (pronounced deh-rahsh) of Ancient Masters and Master Teachers, from all the texts and lectures I have afforded me, I find myself gradually making my way along the Spiritual Path. Even when I find myself selfish enough to not keep this in mind for weeks, even months at a time I eventually find myself dependent upon that same guidance and Timeless Wisdom passed on from those who have traveled the path before me. This I am reminded of as I continue to transmute the portion of tangled web from my own forging into a genuine tapestry of creation so it may be added as part of the Great Work.
I will return to my laboratory and pick back up my work and continue my process. I will maintain the vigilant presence in the moment as well as watchfulness for the next challenge, as it will come across my path if it is not already here now, as it most likely has always been. I will even continue to put down my experiences this digital pen and share what I have learned through the trial of experience; not for some kind of self-deprecating expose of a student missing the mark of the esoteric order as taught by a Master Teacher such as I have found in Rev. Strickler, but as traveler along the Spiritual Path seeking to find clarity in setting out into the physical world the very thoughts and words that were once echoed to me from sources unseen.
You never can tell where challenges will come from. There may be clues and hints along the way, but take into account it is an infinite universe both out there and inside your own circle of influence. When the universe is kind enough to aid by tapping you on the shoulder, be it by a friend, a mentor or even a stranger, it would be foolish to maintain the status-quo and not take a pause to listen and take the time to appreciate the assistance. Then make a choice and act upon it, otherwise what is the point?
The Spiritual Path can be very daunting and challenging in many ways as I have been warned and also experienced firsthand. The challenges can be modified in any number of ways many of which are up to the traveler himself. May you find the footing and the grace to maintain the path and not slip into frozen waters or entangling webs.
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