Saturday, February 06, 2016

Knowledge, Masks and Roles

One thing I have consistently observed is that people can and do learn from one another as a natural occurrence. I've learned as much on my own path from fellow travelers as I ever did from any extant teacher, but in the big picture I've learned far more from my own higher self (the shaman's double) than from all other sources combined. To me, that's how it must be - in the end, we really have only ourselves to rely on and the process of silent knowing (aka "gnosis"). And yet, it must be acknowledged that most do not really start out on the path with that connection to the infinite already established. Part of the path is establishing the connection & learning to use it, so in many ways it can get into the conundrum Orlando (my own double/higher self) presented me with a few years back, and which has become almost a mantra: "You have to be immortal before you will know how to become immortal." 
So, how does one get to that point of having "already" (time being an illusion notwithstanding) experienced the wisdom/totality/Knowledge of one's double without first going through the process of building the connection to that infinite self? For even though all Knowledge is accessible to the infinite self, it really is the matter of learning to access it and put it to use in our ordinary lives that brings the warrior/seeker to a higher level of awareness where the conundrum stated above begins to make sense. It is only after we have experienced the infinite that we know how to become/be infinite... and yet we have to be infinite before we may truly manifest the entire process of becoming infinite. 
Ultimately, for myself, this process involved a wide range of experience which could not have been predicted nor even wholly understood from within the process itself. I might say it began with an inquisitive and unrelenting nature - to experience the unknown, to dive headlong into the mysterious call of the nagual while all my peers were basking in "the light". But part of the process also involved a willingness to simply let go of what I believed I already knew, so that I might begin to experience things outside the range of my previous combined experience. Sounds simple, but for many of us, it really isn't. We have a tendency to hold onto what we believe when it may well be that those beliefs are holding us back from actual Knowledge. 
So what does this have to do with teachers, apprentices and being immortal before we will know how to become immortal? Simply this. One thing I am constantly observing is my own reaction to to life, experience, other people, my own thoughts, what have you. And one thing I have observed to be true with nearly all humans is that we are the result of the sum total of our programming - both positive and negative (if such words must be applied at all). 
What this means is that there is a tendency for humans to take on roles of mimicry just because it is our nature. In our early lives, we learn by mimicking our parents, siblings or other role models, and it is a habit that follows us into adulthood. If we are not ruthless with ourselves, even warriors may find themselves falling into old patterns of behavior with regard to roles and how we may see ourselves as a reflection of our programming. Without awareness, in other words, we run a high risk of simply being little robots acting out some belief about how we think we should be in any given situation. 
One of the areas in which this becomes most evident is when dealing with the whole concept of teacher/student/apprentice. The words themselves conjure up images and ideas which are altogether arbitrary and inaccurate. A teacher is anyone or anything from which we may learn something. A student is anyone who may be open to learning (sounds simple, but isn't). And an apprentice may simply be someone who dedicates him/herself to the pursuit of Knowledge. Beyond that, all bets are off. 
But the problems and issues arise when the participants attempt to take on certain roles - and it is the roles themselves which create the issues and house the issues. Example: the moment someone enters the scene and proclaims, "I am the teacher and you are the student," a certain series of expectations is automatically created. The "teacher" has assumed a seemingly "superior" role, which may have the automatic result of causing anyone else in the arena to feel inferior. And at that very moment, the roles have become perhaps more important than the individuals inhabiting them, and most opportunity for learning will go right out the window. Why? Because ultimately whenever we attempt to inhabit a role (whether student or teacher), we may actually feel a shift of the assemblage point which moves us away from our authentic self and into a place of what we believe we should be/do, and it is then that we find ourselves affixed utterly in the ordinary world, and we have become actors in someone else's drama,which is usually a big tragedy all the way around, since it is not really anyone else's fault, but just our own lack of attention to the matter of ruthless maintenance of our own awareness in the Now. 
Put another way: when we forget who we are because we have been told we are something else, we are nothing. When we lose the assemblage point of the authentic self, we stray into the territory of sheeple and begin to graze on the poisoned oats of our own complacency. 
What is the point of this? Simply to point out (mainly to myself) that it is the roles and the accompanying "costumes" which may ruin an otherwise prime opportunity for learning. If someone insists on assuming the role of teacher, it may well be that the requirements of the role itself can blind the teacher to any true learning. By the same token, if a "student" automatically defers to a "teacher" just because s/he has been told that this person is The Teacher, then it may well be that the "student" automatically assumes a role of being "lesser than" the self-proclaimed Teacher, and what we are left with are two people caught up in their roles, with both probably missing an otherwise prime opportunity for learning & sharing that can ONLY exist when all roles, expectations and belief systems are ruthlessly shed through the process of stalking oneself. 
One way I learned to do this was simply to observe myself as I interacted with different people who were in different "roles" in my own life. If I found that I was automatically "deferring" to The Boss, for example, I would force myself to climb out of that role and simply see The Boss as another human being bumbling along his own path, whatever that may be. If I found myself feeling superior to the homeless man in the gutter in the streets of Los Angeles, a very small bit of stalking would remind me in a hurry that I was no different than that man in the gutter except through the choices I might make from moment to moment - and so the man in the gutter had become a divine teacher and the boss had become a human being... and it is then that we begin to be able to navigate the path from a more authentic self rather than automatically falling into the roles which are based on the assumptions that guard our belief systems. 
Now, if I see someone I believe I might learn from, I simply take it at that and see where it leads. It's usually the expectations that will get in the way of learning or teaching, so for me it's a matter of shedding all the baggage before taking the next step on the path, whatever that step might be. 
If someone needs to believe they are "The Teacher", that doesn't mean I can't learn something from them. It might mean they cannot learn anything from me, but that is not my concern. That's their little role playing game rooted in their own journey through the tonal, what they need to believe about themselves. So, for me, it's a matter of remembering that everyone and everything is potentially the finest teacher I will ever encounter. And it is a matter of remembering that I am an apprentice to Knowledge... not to any person or place or thing. 

Knowledge wears no masks and is free to all who seek it. The sorcerer's trick is learning to see it even when it is hiding in plain sight. A hint: it's within us all the time, but the path to finding it takes many twists and turns until one eventually sees the answer to the conundrum: "You have to be immortal before you will know how to become immortal." What we do in the Now affects not only who we will be in the future, but who we have been in the past... because Time itself is the ultimate human illusion, and only when we begin to navigate outside of it do we really begin to glimpse that the connection we forge to the Infinite Self in the Now is the vessel of timeless "immortality" in the form of the shaman's double. We are not linear beings, despite what our roles and our teachers would have us believe. 
In order to see that, we have to let go of our roles. In order to be that, we have to embrace it in the now, so that it becomes the teacher within, timeless and free. 
Della Van Hise
April 15, 2007
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Questions Along the Way: Conversations With a Quantum Shaman
Book 3 in the Quantum Shaman Series
Available from Amazon or directly from

Into the Infinite: Opening the Door to the Unknown
Book 4 in the Quantum Shaman Series
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