Last week I had a conversation with James Wasserman that briefly trailed off into reflections of our ill spent youths. While his was awash in drugs, sex, and rock and roll and mine was often spent cleaning up after those whose lives were spent with the above same trinity (as well as working full time while in college), we both commented on the ‘promises of the age’. By that we meant that through our esoteric connections we were part of something bigger than ourselves – true – and that our work was about more than just our own enlightenment – (true, and whatever ‘enlightenment’ meant at the time). That bigger picture was that we were helping to usher in a Golden Age of worldwide enlightenment. This was implied as well as stated in much of what we did – despite the difference in our individual approaches and affiliations. This worldwide enlightenment was also, to varying degrees also pegged to the notion of one world government and one world religion – something neither of us had really signed on for. After decades of involvement in the ‘counter-culture movement’ and initiatic traditions and bodies, we both were reflecting on what a scam much of this idealism was in reality!
Who had appointed us as Guardians of the Galaxy? Who said that the world needed to be enlightened, again, whatever that means at the time? Why does my ‘spiritual awakening’ have to be part of a bigger master plan? And whose plan is it anyway? Each in our own way, we were evangelical preachers, only less charismatic, successful, and culturally relevant than say Billy Graham or Oral Roberts. Graham had more clout than nearly all of the occultists combined, something few want to recognize, but which history demonstrates with ease.
As you can see, a great many questions were raised and discussed.
Now, it is four and five decades since we began our individual Work. The world has changed, but enlightenment on any collective level appears farther off than when we first began. The utopian dreams that were used as fuel for much of the ‘spiritual work’ of the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First centuries was like the “Age of Aquarius” we were promised – nothing more than stagnant hot air.
But it is alright. It was part of the learning process, and learn both of us did – each in our own way, and not in some giant collectivist, worldwide ashram at the feet of a promised World Teacher or savior. We learned it through recognizing the gap between what we were told and what we experienced. We both wish more people could have learned this simple lesson as well.
But then that is the appeal and trap of egregores. We like to participate and socialize with others, and find meaning in group activities. We just have to be careful not to confuse group activities with our personal reflection, effort, sacrifice, and realization. Groups are part of the process, but are not THE path, OR an end in themselves. When groups become the final goal, or ‘THE optimum tool for realization’ they move from being vehicles of our realization, to tombs for our souls.