12 – A Lament for a Slumbering Will

This is a transcript of my video: A Lament for a Slumbering Will

At thirty nine, I am perhaps half way through my life. As I look back what do I see? A seemingly unending chain of mistakes and missteps. 

Most of my life has gone by unconsciously, as in a deep sleep. My delusion is my belief that I have been awake. From time to time I come to lucidity. I realise that I have gone nowhere. I have yet to begin.

During these fleeting moments, a quiet voice tells me that this is the time. The time to make the change; to make the good beginning.; to head off in a new direction. If I start now. If I take my first step,  there is no telling where I can get to, what I can achieve, what insights I can accrue. 

Yet again I stand at the crossroads. How many times have I been here? Seemingly innumerable or is it the same instance replayed many times. As I ponder these things, I find sleepiness coming over me. I find myself lying down at the side of the road, to shut my eyes once again. How many more times will I wake up at the same crossroads. Maybe this time I will go to sleep, never to awaken again.

The talons of habit and laziness pierce deep into my soul. The fear of the opinions of others paralyzes my spirit. At every instance of lucidity, I could have made a good beginning. But then I remember the other times that I came to. The thought of what could have been is a powerful sedative.

What do I think, what do I know, where am I going. I could have studied, contemplated the natural world and started to strip off the layers of belief. Too see who I am, where I find myself and where I could go.  These thoughts of what might have been surround me as a haunted wood, and I embrace sleep to avoid fear.

It is said that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It seems that the first step should be the easiest but fear and habit have made it the most difficult and the most illusionary.

My great delusion: that I have already made this step. That I am a wayfarer when in reality I lie in deep slumber at the crossroads. I imagine that I am already journeying far flung places, that I am traversing great plateaus of thought when I have not made the first step. It is said that our life flashes before our eyes when we die. Perhaps all I will realise is that I am still at the beginning. Perhaps in this sisyphean moment my life will begin once again.

I feel like a man preparing for an exam on an unknown subject. When the day of the exam comes he realises that all he has done is prepare ever more elaborate revision timetables. My eagerness for the destination creates the need for the illusion  that I am already halfway there. My thoughts and ideas begin with me wandering on some imaginary plane, with the mythical city of Oz visible on the horizon. 

Yet I am still to make this first step.

Yes this first step should be the easiest. If only I could see it in its simplicity the rest of my life would unfold as it should. It was the easiest to take the first time it was before me but it seems now that this first step is a marathon of my own making. I cannot or rather do not want to see this step for what it is. My perceptions of an initial marathon lead me to imagine that I am further down the road than I really am.

I look at others and think to myself, “they do not understand the things that I understand.” But how can a man fast asleep make such statements? I am a walking, talking Rip Van Winkle.

To make that first step. I shall make it now. So much time seems to have passed that I have forgotten what it is. Perhaps I’ll make it later. I had better read this article first, and watch that video, and listen to this song. I’ll draw up a programme of study. I’ll earn a bit more money. 

But what is this first step? I have allowed myself to be programmed for so long that the most simple thing has become alien to me. I see a newborn calf. He takes his first step without anxiety. For thirty nine years I have failed to take my first step. A myriad of times I have put my best foot forward but then drawn back before it hits the floor. I have set off in all 360 degrees, but then my thoughts tells me: what if this is the wrong direction? Better think some more. Maybe I’ll have a brief nap to re-energise, and I fall asleep once more to dream that I am already on the journey.

My life in a stanza :

Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good.

September 1, 1939 W. H. Auden

My slavery in two stanzas:

I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. 

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

London by WILLIAM BLAKE

Why I do not take this first step and why I no longer remember what it is.

These images that I hear in others are but the reflection of my own state. Every act of my life is the natural manifestation of the mind-forged manacles that I wear. If I make that first step will the chains simply fall away. But how to see this first step whilst I am still a blindfolded slave?

Or is my belief in the the mind-forged manacles their very creative power. And what then is it that lies in bondage? 

My will.

Magic, as Crowley explained, is the “Science and Art that provokes Change in conformity with the Will”, and that “all intentional acts are acts of magic.” 

Schopenhauer named the world as it is in itself as Will. 

It is my primordial will that lies in chains forged by my own mind. A mind that has raised itself up above the will. Chains forged by fear, by man-pleasing, by received opinion and beliefs. By institutional retardation, by birth trauma, by anxiety inducing media. 

But most of all, my fear of seeing my true condition: a will that finds itself within a body, that finds itself within the world. A will too cowardly to make its first step, to frightened to provoke that first instance of change in conformity with itself, too frightened to act with intention.

The terrain is magikcal, my inner being is magickal, both are aspects of Will. To walk on the terrain requires a magickal act of my particular will. In moving my finger I perceive it as a direct act of will. To make that first step is a direct act of will. Externally modelled by science there is no realm for the Will to act. But my Will directly perceives all my intentions as acts of Will.

My biggest fear then is not the thoughts of others, nor of the System, nor of harm, nor of suffering, nor of death. The thing that my individual will cowers from is the General Will, which is myself. Thus the reason that I do not make this first step is that I fear myself, where I really came from, what I truly am and what I could become.

This is why I pretend that I do not remember this first step.

 Aleister Crowley “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

I fear to take that first step because I fear to do what I will. I have followed the path of another ten thousand times. Hence, despite feeling that I have travelled long and far, that I am exhausted from my wanderings; in reality I have never take one step. Because every step I took has been in another man’s shoes. Until I see my own will I will never see my path and never make a step despite how far I wander. Everywhere I go I will have a treadmill under my feet.

“Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe.”…..“Magick is the Science of understanding one’s self and one’s own situation. It is the art of applying this knowledge in action.” 

Aleister Crowley

I think that without the herd, man would live with simple magick. He would have his own reality and will, and he would have his own maps which he would remember for what they are. But this is not the world that I find myself in. The herd exists and I can not imagine a reality where it does not.

So what then is my first step. To cleanse the doors of perception and see myself and my situation for what they are, through the inner eyes of the Will. Apply this understanding and I will see my first step. From this first step, I imagine that the course for this wandering star will become clear. Then the focus of my Will will be to stay the course.

And then perhaps every step will be seen as its own first step, and despite my current lament I will understand that I made my first step a long time ago.

And the completion of this first step will be seen to be the completion of the journey.

And my wayward will shall remember its true home that it forgot long ago.

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