October 19, 2023

 I don’t have an Imaginal journey per se to write about but the Imaginal was involved. I'm on a retreat right now and have noticed that my heart center seems kind of blocked. It’s not critical because I’m aware of it and it doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly become a raging asshole. Still, I have been curious about the reason.

During meditation today, I saw all three of my ego structures pretty clearly. And, I know this sound weird, but by three I mean the ego structures from each of my human lives. It makes me wonder if the ego doesn’t really disappear after we die but at least part of it hangs on even after we have been reincarnated. I’ve always thought the ego can’t live long after the body dies because it’s entire existence seems rooted in holding onto the body. Maybe it doesn’t disappear, though? Maybe it exists until it had been worked through? I don’t know. It’s not like there are a lot of people out there who might have insight into this. I get the sense that spiritual teachers are gifted with knowledge of a certain spectrum of experience and beyond that they are just are clueless as the rest of us. Perhaps if humanity continues to exist for several more millennia, we will have a more robust repository of spiritual understanding. As it is right now, the world seems less interested in spirit than ever.

All three of my ego structures tried so hard to be good and achieve perfection in some way. All three were bitterly disappointed. All three were crushed by the hopelessness of trying. It seems the more the ego tries, the worse its situation is. And this is really the nature of ego: The ego is trying to do what Being does naturally. Because of its blindness to Being, it feels like it has to make things happen and throws itself with all of its heart into the activity. The suffering only deepens, though, and the ego makes continual missteps, only ends up making things worse. It’s a very perverse game.

I felt the suffering of each of these egos. The suffering is really deep and very painful. It feels like there is nothing that will alleviate it. In the midst of it, though, I realized that I didn’t want anyone to take away from suffering. I didn’t want it to disappear. I value it very much. That’s not to say that I wallow in it, just that I recognize the preciousness of it.

Holding the suffering and the trying and the hopelessness led to a relaxation and the three structures eased up. I felt my heart center relax a little. After a while, though, I became aware of a deep pain in the center of my heart, the narcissistic wound. This wound was connected to a self image. This self image was from this lifetime. It was a very precocious self image and also well intentioned. This little boy was born into a family and world of suffering and it was intolerable. And yet he loved everyone in his family deeply and didn’t want them to suffer. So he took it upon himself to try to alleviate their suffering. Of course, nothing he did helped and only made him more miserable. He continued trying really hard, though!

As I saw this self image more clearly, it loosened up and the narcissistic wound abated. However, I was still aware of a numbness in my heart. It felt like the effect of poison. The more I looked into it, the more afraid the little self image became. He felt like he was alone in a cold, gray wood. It was completely desolate, dead. It reminded me of the way the wood around The Crossroads feels, lifeless and inert.

In the center of this wood was a giant spider. The spider was eyeless and had a head that reminded me of a baldface hornet. It was white and black and deadly. My self image was terrified of this spider and had spent so much time and effort trying to forget it, trying to avoid it. The spider’s venom was what caused the numbness in my heart.

I was curious about this spider. Sure, it was pretty scary looking but didn’t feel overtly threatening. It was just a spider doing what spiders do. There wasn’t anything wrong with it and I didn’t feel like I needed to get rid of it. Now that I saw it, it didn’t seem quite as terrifying. And it didn’t harbor any ill will toward me.

This spider fits in with other experiences in the Imaginal that I’ve had. Not always but sometimes, there is a ‘demon’ preying upon the trapped soul that I encounter in the Imaginal. You could look at it through the Christian lens of good and evil but I prefer the ecological lens. If the Imaginal is an ecosystem, no part of it is good or evil. In fact, every part has a role just like any ecosystem. What we consider parasites aren’t necessarily bad, they are fulfilling their role. And if you change your view, pretty much everything can be perceived as a parasite. What are people when viewed in the context of Planet Earth?

Taking the insect world as an example, some insects like butterflies are parasitic when they are larval but they become beautiful pollinators in their adult forms. Perhaps these so-called demons are the same? Perhaps they are more symbiotic than we think? One way to view this spider is as a symbiote. It was feeding off of me, sure, but it was also providing a critical function. The numbness of its venom made life bearable for the younger me. I couldn’t take the full weight of pain and suffering then and needed a break. Both the spider and I got something out of the relationship.

As I stayed with the spider, it began to transform. It didn’t become an angel or other beautiful entity, though. Instead, it became less alive, more abstract. There was a silvery white diamond-like quality to it. Its legs were like sharp knives but there wasn’t anything dangerous about them. I was reminded of the sword that Lucifer carried when I met him: The Sword of Truth, able to cut through any falsehood. The body of the spider was like a faceted diamond and was radiant white. Perhaps this is diamond-like clarity and awareness? I don’t know.

I’m curious to see what happens next!


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