by Adam Crosthwaite
Rewriting the Personal Operational Sequence
The Alchemical process of becoming has never been comfortable for anyone or any living thing for that matter. Take for example, from nature, the life of a bird. The very begging of the life cycle carries with it hardships for the parent birds with keeping the eggs safe and warm and not leaving the nest for days or even weeks at a time; the parents undergo several hardships. Next comes the actual birth with the first and possible hardest physical struggle the baby bird will endure, as it struggles to break free from the shell that kept it protected from the elements until then. In this stage, the bird has to make it out of the shell in order to survive; if it is unsuccessful, it doesn’t make it beyond that point.
As a student of Ha Qabala as taught by Rev. Strickler, I have found myself faced with many layers of shell (a.k.a. barriers), each standing as a challenge to my own process of becoming. Each stage of spiritual evolution required the breaking down or dismantling of some barrier in one form or another. I have experienced these barriers as taking on forms that challenge the mind as well as one’s ability to exercise the free use of will in order to achieve the goal of continuing along the path of enlightenment. Most barriers in the beginning were straight forward and clear as to what was required; over time this becomes a little more complicated, but the basic premise still remains the same. One must ACT. The need for physical as well as the intellectual and emotional movement is required for these challenges or barriers to be overcome; this remains a constant part in this ongoing process. At times this seems to be the biggest challenge, even if only in the shadow of the mind.
At times a challenge takes too long or is missed and timing points are not met so blessings that were available are no longer attainable; in other words, certain blessings require the meeting of deadlines and overcoming of challenges in order to make one ready. As time passes and barriers are overcome, new challenges seeming to require new understanding and different approaches present themselves and new teachings or training are needed to overcome these challenges. Or is that so? Are the barriers truly requiring higher level of struggle or sacrifice in order to be overcome?
At times I found myself retracing my steps trying to decide if I truly wanted to progress and move beyond the barriers I had in front of me. There are many things these barriers hide and insulate. On one hand, I find myself claiming to have chosen to move forward, yet my actions and even inaction have proven my words meaningless. I hear people speaking of how they find themselves in similar situations, repeating old patterns and falling into a seemingly endless loop of minimal gains followed by failure over and over again. The perpetual cycle of win- fail, win-fail leads many people to give up on making any progress at all regardless of what the goal may be. At one point the drive to strike out for achievement, to break out beyond old barriers becomes an acceptance of the limitations and an adaptation to the environment of insulation that resides within the shell of insulation. It is hard to watch someone give up like this. It is much harder to realize that it is yourself that has been laying down having failed to meet a goal or miss a meeting point.
As barriers are cleared and experience is gained with each stage of the Alchemical process, there are new levels of understanding and an ongoing self-examination in order to prepare for the challenges that wait at the current level of awareness. At each level the ongoing revelation of the Universe takes on new perspectives, that in and of themselves, could be challenging on every level of awareness. There have been and continue to be times when all I want is to just forget about effort and struggle for a moment, and just rest for a tiny little minute, or two or three. I know there is a huge difference between pausing for a breath and allowing myself to slump down into the material lethargy that I miraculously find a way to keep carrying along with me on my path along the way.
It is so easy to just curl up and sleep half the day away. Far too easy to spend the day staring at the television numbing my senses and forgetting about my goals and self-respect that I managed to gain over the years by breaking through barriers along the path. The long ago adopted mentalities of competition were, if I was not able to give one hundred percent of my energy to a task, that I should not even bother is revealed as flawed. I was tired, I had a long year, I got a lot done in short period of time, the excuses drone on for days until a weekend becomes a week and then a month. Soon what was gained is obsolete and new ground is lost as a new barrier is formed. Yes, a new barrier that I myself created; most barriers are created the same way, but this one is special.
It is at this point that the mother of all gut check moments occurs, I did this. All the warnings and sign posts along the way trying to grab my attention as to what I was (or was not) doing went ignored. Now it is the teacher staring at me face to face. I can tell when he enters the room, I feel it. The words I have heard so many times before in so many different forms and yet here I am listening to them once again, as every aspect of my being comes to full awareness in this moment. “You are not done yet. Get up.”
There was a time when an experience like this would leave me shaken and I would have probably wasted energy in compensating for my mistakes using the same old tactics that helped me in creating some of my biggest barriers. I could create a whole new barrier or fortify old ones, but I was taught better than that. While I recognize that I never would have made it this far in my growth and journey through and out of the darkness of my past mistakes, I also have to realize at some point there is a reason I was helped. So in learning to use the tools of understanding to gain the riches of knowledge as I have been taught by Rev. Strickler, I know how to reach into my own situation and make adjustments. The old mind set of all or nothing can only work for so long and has so limited a range that it is time for an upgrade of new understanding.
One of the analogies Rev. Strickler uses to explain different concepts and principles of Alchemy comes from his experience in early computer programing. While he has the ability use one analogy for a seemingly endless number of explanations, this is one that sticks with me as I find our talks end up at one point including computer technology in some form. I remember he talked about the old punch card operation sequences that he would sit for hours writing (I would go nuts) and how just one misplaced comma or period would throw an entire program sequence off the mark causing a failure. The first time I heard this I remembered doing the same thing in computing class (writing out the code instead of making punch cards) and the frustration when there was a failure in the sequence. Just like the failure in my sequences that lead to the creation of a new barrier.
Regardless of how many barriers are dissolved or resolved through calcination, the process of becoming can still be hindered by the misuse of the process. After ten years of breaking out of shells and remembering the punch cards and program writing, after ten years of sitting with the master teacher (Rev. Strickler), I can see a gaping flaw in my own sequence. It is time to adjust the mentality from an “all or nothing” approach to a “do what you can with what have available to you to the best of your ability until you can do more” approach. The energy will always be there available for use, provided I continue to exercise the ability use it properly in the right form and manner. I set up the illusion of being too tired or burned out, I had more space to operate in than I did a year ago and I was too enamored with my materialist ego to realize what was going on until I was confronted with the truth.
There will always be something more, something bigger and better to reach for and to learn, there are more revelations to uncover and grow from in the ongoing process of becoming. It appears as if the drive and desire to reach can be hindered so much by perspective at times it can be frightening. We operate in a world where the most advanced technology can be bogged down by a simple misplaced comma, makes me even happier to be a human being working on becoming instead of waiting for someone else to come along and find the hanging comma that may holding me up.
The process of spiritual evolution that comes with the Alchemical work is long and can take on some interesting twists and turns. As Rev. Strickler keeps pointing out, it’s not necessarily a good thing to have a high pain threshold. Breaking through to new levels may require the pain in order to understand tolerances and other important aspects that may serve as guides and early warning systems. It is in the learning to work with what is available in the moment, not push until you feel as if you can’t move anymore, whether it be mentally, physically or otherwise, that progress is made.
There will always be a new level to reach for; that’s the good news. As far as the bad news goes, that is matter of how you want to set your sequence of operations.
Blessings, Adam Crosthwaite
Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC