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This issue resumes selections from the new book Relentless Love, by Edwin Carl Smith.
© Copyright Edwin Carl Smith, 2003
The Power of A Transformative Life
About the Book
This book is about personal and global transformation. It is therefore mythic in scope and language You can become aware of, and so overcome, the mythic archetypes of thought, feeling, and experience that create your identity and organize your life by connecting the ideas in this book to personal life experiences. Otherwise, you can spend lifetimes overcoming the limitations of one unconscious archetypal thought before you are free of it enough to experience the ordinary enchantment of life.
Read this book for perception, not information. Feel what you read. Notice how you respond. Strong reactions are part of your liberation from archetypal patterns that create the drama of your life. Since the book is mythic and metaphoric, your experience of it will change as your life changes. Keep at it.
This book is about life when it is lived simply. Repeated reference to this book undermines the complexity of your life. What emerges is your natural genius and power to create and sustain an enchanted life in an enchanted land. So feel free to turn to pages at random. You may find deeper levels of meaning and possibilities for change when you do. Resort to it as you would any personal oracle.
Let all you read here turn all that you trust and believe into doubt and confusion. Why? Confusion signifies freedom and precedes all transformation. Freedom is the core of intelligence. Until your life trembles, you have no reason to trust anything but your present beliefs, experiences, and habits. Thus, enchantment eludes you. If you are already confused and in doubt, good! You will find here a reason and a way to reach out beyond confusion, to trust in the power and presence of your best intention, your most secret dream. When and if you begin to trust, your evolutionary journey will also begin.
To enchant your life, you will need an infinitely wise guide, more than this book certainly. That is the bad news. The good news is that such a guide is available to you in the form of your own life. You do not need spiritual practices, books, or great intellect. Your life is your guide and teacher. You need no other.
Enchantment means to live your life as a spiritual and mythic journey. Embrace life fully in all its dimensions. Do this and you will receive the full power and intelligence of life as a gift. You will awaken to a world enchanted by the presence and power of love.
~ ~ ~
Enlightenment is a Political Event
Enlightenment changes your inner life, but not your outer life. So, traditions offer a culturally defined outer life or role as a solution. But that contains, rather than expresses, the intelligence of life that only enlightenment can liberate. Your liberation is then a personal and private attribute with no impact on the community or tradition. That is why they offer such a role, to avoid the impact of intelligence, the demand for love. Enlightenment has political and social consequences on a global scale, unless we prevent it by succumbing to the traditional promises of social acceptance. But to succumb to the intelligence of life that enlightenment liberates, you must have the courage to live in the moment before any wisdom appears. And you must embrace life outside the context of socially defined roles.
Enlightenment is the Way to Life
Enlightenment is not the pinnacle of spirituality. It is an important beginning in a much larger process. First, you must transcend reality in all its dimensions. Then you must embrace it in all its dimensions. Finally, you must transform it in all its dimensions. Transcend your self, embrace your life, transform your world and ultimately, human experience. If you do not pursue this possibility, you prevent the world from evolving.
Freedom Without Power is a Waste
Freedom from limits of life and wisdom about this life must have power, or what is it for? Until we are free of who we have been individually, we cannot create who we can be collectively. We cannot know who we can be. The purpose of freedom and enlightenment is not to be free of the past, but to be free to create a future in this life that is not rooted in the past. Thus, there cannot be a traditional identity or role to express enlightenment. Any such thing is a fraud, a benighted response to the opportunity of enlightenment. There can be no traditional response to the power and intelligence of life. The only legitimate and honest response is personal creativity. But what do you create? Who shall you be, now that you are nothing? Enlightenment has no answer. It opens the door in silence to an opportunity ahead of itself. If you take that opportunity, you leap ahead of the traditions. Then you must find and create a path back to ordinary life that does not capitulate to its history. But how, and for what purpose?
Ordinary Life Is Not SmallFreedom is a waste if you only talk about it. Freedom has no meaning or purpose when you retreat into the literal smallness of life. The ability to live ordinary life on an infinite scale is available only in the moment before enlightenment (but after the event), when ordinary and mythic mean the same thing.
Freedom is the context of all intelligent change. But the purpose of freedom is not personal. Rather, personal freedom must be sacrificed in the fires of an ordinary infinite life, which will, to be sure, demand more of you than washing dishes and mowing the lawn. In the moment before enlightenment, the body's intent to love interacts with others on a global scale -- a direct transformation of life on a global scale. This is the possibility of enchantment. It is not and cannot be the result of traditional enlightenment.
Enlightenment is a Creation, Not a Tradition
That there has been no global transformation during the centuries that people have experienced enlightenment says something about the traditions and their practitioners. Their agenda is to avoid personal power. Those people whom we agree really did change the world did not avoid power; they embraced it. They were not exceptional people; they just made an exceptional choice and the result of that choice was exceptional. Imagine a world of such people. Traditional enlightenment reveals an inherent bias: freedom from this world and life, freedom from the power to live creatively in all dimensions. The traditions resist the possibility that only enlightenment makes possible.
~ ~ ~
What is Enlightenment?
Enlightenment is the reorganization of awareness around a single purpose. This means that enlightenment varies with purpose. When awareness is organized around a single purpose you have a natural inclination to insight and wisdom that we call genius. Enlightenment occurs when your purpose is spiritual, when attention is focused on whatever that means to you. Enchantment -- the final expression and fulfillment of evolution before it moves beyond individuality into community -- requires that your personal purpose be congruent with the body's intent or habit of love.
The power of personal purpose and intent is well known to shamans, but you find little or no reference to it in the wisdom literature. Why? Because if purpose controls experience and enlightenment (which it does), then we live in a much different world than we thought, and enlightenment is less than we hoped. We live in a world of wizards. To be embodied is to have magical powers. That power is managed by purpose, not wisdom. The scope of your freedom exceeds the scope of any enlightenment. The difference is managed by personal purpose. Purpose is the root of enlightenment, not meditation.
~ ~ ~
The Heart of Life
At the moment of enlightenment, the thinking self falls into (merges with) the original self. The world of ordinary experience loses its boundaries. All experience collapses into a vast singularity that is prior to the thinking self. In that moment, there is no subject or object, nothing to experience, no one to experience it. Only when you return to the world of ordinary experience do you notice what happened. You realize that you, the thinking self, just died -- ceased its separateness. You dissolved in the energetic realm. You ceased to exist as an individual and merged with the Infinite.
You might think you could induce this self-unification by focusing attention on the original self. The traditions do. But the thinking self can only observe. It cannot merge unless it stops observing (dies).
We all have lots of things we want to do, achive, etc. But love is a unique purpose because it is inherently without boundaries, radically inclusive. So it serves well as a unifying strategy for living. But love is also unique because it is the only and inherent activity of the original self. Only love has the power to unify and enlighten our inner life while it enchants our outer life. When love is the organizing purpose of our life, all other concerns are secondary and subject to its influence.
If love is the organizing purpose of our inner life in the moment of conversion, it becomes a stable influence in our inner life with enlightenment. Love is then the organizing purpose of our personal outer life in realization. Finally, love is the context for our public life, the organizing purpose and intent of our relationships, and a stable healing influence on our bodies in the moment of enchantment.