The Aries Paradox: In-Your-Face Emptiness

ramWHICH OF THE FOLLOWING “motorist” metaphors do you find more appealing:

1) Driving merrily along, lost in the buoyant beat of some smooth jazz station– oblivious to your toxic wake and the incalculable plant, animal and human sacrifice that allows you to fly across eroding rock trails made bump-less every night at 3:00 AM by growling, dinosaur-sized machines manned by bloodshot souls so desperate for food and rent they trade circadian sunlight for freakish floodlight.

2) Inching tentatively along a dusty, deeply potholed country back road that gnaws on expensive, unknown parts of your car’s chassis, alternately triggering fears of a shivery, bone-crumpled night spent alone in the back seat and spontaneous prayers of gratitude for the durability of your vessel as it slows to a self-fumigating, but delusion-free idle that suddenly makes audible an awesome profusion of insects and birds crackling electric in the bushes and trees all around you.

I know. Not the most mouth-watering set of options. But these two gnarly combinations of dark and light describe the two basic topographies available to a soul firmly buckled into the seat of a body/mind.

“Surely there must be an alternate route,” demands ego. “What about equanimity, insight, compassion, Kundalini?” “Oh that,” says our inner Buddha with a sly smile. “That’s just phoenix activity– the soul’s heartbroken response to the dinosaurs and the gnawing.

So, fleshy motorist, which route will you choose?

Option #1 is a form of pleasant automation, or “machine mind.” It’s dualistic. It can’t fathom a joy that includes heartbreak. It’s cyncial. To mechanical mind, our only shot at “happiness” is to anesthetize half of our heart so we don’t feel the shades of suffering our ego causes ourself and others.

Option #2 is a form of meditation, or what Tibetans call “natural mind.” It’s nondual. It feels grace in the midst of consciously negotiating inner and outer poisons. It’s innocent. It doesn’t divide or harden people and situations into good and bad categories, preferring, instead, to see all beings and moments as perceptual wombs for the child of pure awareness to mature in.

Ah yes, meditation. These days, whenever I hear this velvety Libran term with all its peace-promising connotations, I flinch, secretly replacing it with a more accurate, urgent and Scorpionic one: “self-reckoning.” This is the art of releasing loving kindness into the mind’s mildly — if not wildly — tortured ambiance.

To be fair, the fruit of meditation (the equanimity that gives rise to wise loving) does indeed have a Libran signature, but the process, itself, can hardly be called “Venusian.” Rare is the person who will baldly admit that the sweet spring of pure awareness trickles under a thorny tangle of self-betrayal habits, and that blood is the price of drinking. Sound like a Libra pastime?

In truth, all twelve archetypes are at play in the practice of learning to abide as witness of the mind. But in this article, I thought I’d shed some light on what I believe is the most essential archetypal challenge that, when fully understood and embraced, may strongly assist us in returning to presence: Aries.

The goal of Aries is the goal of all incarnated beings: a presence-governed ego. In a very simple, straightforward way the Aries path of awakening is the template for all the other styles. Understand the force that “rams” oneness into seemingly separate bodies and you understand the basic steps involved in returning each of the succeeding eleven archetypes back to their true nature.

But how does the archetype that corresponds to the very birth of the individuated ego (I AM), break free of ego? By holding fast to the center of the wheel of desire as it spins crazy around us.

The Wheel of Desire

Buddhism boils all desires down to three:

1-The desire for objects of pleasure.

2-The desire for the sense that we exist.

3-The desire for the sense that we do not exist — do not desire.

These three desire-fires are, in truth, one: the desire to exist in some absolute, independent sense from our own side — apart from God and the seeming “others” that She dances around us. This is quintessential lower-octave Aries: individuation gone rogue. The essence of every ego.

These three desire-fires are also interlocking — circling round in repeating cycles of frustration that proceed according to the following twisted logic:

“If I can attain this object of pleasure (Desire #1), I can, for a moment, have the sense that someone separate and real has attained it (Desire #2).” When the object of desire fails to deliver me the fullness of my being, disappointment arises. In desperation, I then twist my very disappointment into an identity: “I’m suffering, therefore I am” (Desire #2).  (A popular identity-strategy in these crashy/conspiratorial times, no?) When the pain of this me-story becomes unbearable, I turn to desire #3: the desire not to be, not to desire. However, since it is the illusory self that desires this supposed selflessness, the quest for the experience of true being is frustrated yet again so I turn to a ‘new and improved’ object of desire (Desire #1) that promises to make me feel solid and separate (Desire #2).

Round and round we go — every moment, every day, every lifetime.

Moving to the hub of this desire wheel is called “meditation”
and, as even the most dilettantish meditator knows, it takes a subtle kind of chivalry to “fear forward,” to remain anchored in the observer, unseduced by the 12 archetypal sirens:

1-Aries Fear: Selflessness

2-Taurus Fear: Groundlessness

3- Gemini Fear: Boredom

4- Cancer Fear: Aridity

5- Leo Fear: Averageness

6-Virgo Fear: Chaos

7-Libra Fear: Loneliness

8-Scorpio Fear: Powerlessness

9- Sagittarius Fear: Meaninglessness

10-Capricorn Fear: Uselessness

11-Aquarius Fear: Confinement

12- Pisces Fear: Enmeshment

The final test for Aries and for all souls mad enough to be mortal and sane enough to disappear? Allowing our more and more palpably sensed unborn nature to infiltrate the fully-downloaded personality style and karma symbolized by our birth chart. To let our 3-D somebody-ness be lit from within. And how, you might ask, does this Bodhisatva-like re-inhabiting of personality for the sake of inspiring storyless presence in others actually look? The variations are infinite, but they all dance to the same full-circle, Aries-meets-Pisces beat: “in-your-face emptiness.”

Ready for more?
-Schedule an astrology reading with Hunter
-Subscribe to Styles of Awakening Newsletter (monthly)
-Subscribe to posts by email

Like this article? Share it with friends: