Tormented Souls

If you’re from New York, then you may be more familiar with individuals who bare their souls than with those who do not. Among those who do not, a small yet significant subclass are tormented souls.

Tormented souls do not speak but instead reveal their conflicted existence. How? 1. By giving off the impression that things are all right or at least good enough when, to the observant listener, it is manifestly clear that things are not all right or good enough. 2. By alluding to, not speaking directly about, what matters, where what matters is undeniably painful. 3. And thus by revealing that they are suffering what is not close to be resolved while at the same time deluding themselves into believing that whatever it is is nothing after all.

Thereby do tormented souls make themselves out, in the eyes of others, to be mysteries. Thereby too do they isolate themselves by withholding intimacy from others and, more poignantly so, by foreclosing the possibility of becoming more intimate with themselves.

Among the many forms of self-deception such as sociopathy, bullshitting, and overoptimism, tormented souls occupy a rather unique position. Whatever it is that they might look into is, they presume, just too scary. Because of this, the torment continues.

You Took A Wrong Turn

You took a wrong turn. As you round the bend, you see a sign: “We work hard and play hard.”

You keep walking. One group off to your left is called Success. People here are trying to get on while, they say, making the world a better etc. They do and do and do. Prestige, they beg of you. To be Somebody at least.

The other off to your right: Pleasure. All bared biceps and exposed clavicles. The lovers of sights and sounds, Plato said. The eyes, the hands, the mouths, the ears all delight as much as they can in the pleasant and the agreeable. The minimum threshold is comfort. The maximum is Instagram vanitas.

What you didn’t deduce was that the road to Success and that to Pleasure not only, as the saying goes, are two sides of the same coin but also lead to the same place.

That place is Hell on Earth. Otherwise known as modern culture.

Esotericism

It is untrue that all knowledge can be shared with everyone, regardless of one’s preparation. Esotericism honors this fact.

Some spiritual teachings are made available only to initiates and only if these initiates have, as Jesus once said, “ears to hear.”

Initiates must purify their hearts in order that the ears of their hearts can be inclined toward the teachings. They must learn to be receptive, utterly.

To keep the teachings alive, then, some teachers mustn’t speak with outsiders about what cannot be understood and hence could, if they were spoken of in such contexts, lead to grave misunderstandings–or worse.

When teachings are indeed kept alive, then can they vibrate through students, disclosing truths that might just as well be called sacred.

It is the sacred that changes us.

Purification Of The Heart; Or, What The Ancients Knew

The ancients knew that the way was not to seek what was other nor to add nor even to acquire but instead to purify.

Slowly purified, the heart-mind would become open, receptive, available.

The moderns did not know the inessentials must first be removed in order that the essential could ultimately show and shine forth. Not knowing this, they sought and sought–and what did they seek? Self-growth, self-improvement, self-overcoming.

Unfortunate. Unfortunate for us. To keep going and going and pushing and straining in the wrong direction.

One Sufi poet said that he had long searched for God. Only later did he stop and turn around–and there He was inside him.

When the heart is purified, the background, long veiled, comes into the foreground while the foreground–the objective contents of experience: thoughts, images, feelings, sensations–recedes.

The point: to make not just this purification but also this turning into the new orientation toward life.