Confession: The Scorpionic roots of positive thinking

ConfessionONE OF THE HALLMARKS of the spiritual ego is its giddy habit of prancing over self-reckoning and proceeding directly into transcendent gossip. Fortunately, this happy-faced phobia of truths that catalyze inner descent is offset by our inner shadow hound: Scorpio.

This exoskeletal survivor is wickedly skeptical of spontaneous fits of transformation. It knows what the price of admission to genuine growth and change really is: confession. Only by digging deep into the dark soil of our self-betrayal habits can we pluck them up by the roots. Only a courageously felt passage of ego death can induce the kind of humility and genuine longing needed to realize what positive affirmations lamely point to.

Seen in this light, is there not as much need for “dark affirmations” as there are for light ones? Might not the reciting of well-aimed, spiritually disturbing phrases help us to “hit bottom” and bounce us into genuine spiritual ascent?

The following dark affirmations are based on the themes of the six astrological polarities. Each phrase, and the short commentary that follows, is only one of many possible ways of articulating the essential archetypal challenges of becoming an awake human. Inevitably, each one is tinged by my own wounds and worldview. Still, my hope is that they capture some of the carefully avoided subterfuge and struggles common to all humans, and in this way, bring to light a few of the dark truths in your psyche longing for the “bounce” of confession.

1. Aries/Libra (The Quest for Identity)

Distracted by my changing self-portrait, I rarely ask, “Who struts this creepy catwalk?”

The swashbuckling sense of somebodyness that I derive from being outwardly sovereign and “fearing forward” (Aries) is as ephemeral as the identity that I glimpse in the mirror of those I tenderly harmonize with (Libra). Somewhere inside I know that all these condition-based self-portraits numb me to my relaxed, unconditioned presence. Who would I be if, through meditation and self-inquiry, I stopped buying into this hungry ghost role play? Too often, I’m too scared to find out.

2. Taurus/Scorpio (The Quest for Embodiment)

Lost in my sensual circumference, I grasp at an endlessly retreating mirage: beauty, pleasure and power.

I inhabit my aging body like a resentful hostage. Rather than embracing mortality as a brilliantly designed catalyst and crucible for the realization of a Beingness that is unborn and untouched by time, I numb my slow motion demise with getting, spending (Taurus) and psycho/sexual impact (Scorpio). The reward for all this empire and influence? Revenge on impermanence.

3. Gemini/Sagittarius (The Quest for Truth)

I am addicted to hurling the darts and arrows of belief. Why? To distract myself from asking, “Who views point of view?”

My spirituality is spineless, a patchwork of ego-enhancing philosophies (Sagittarius) designed to distract me (Gemini) from my two true articles of faith: Prayer is auditory hallucination. Meditation: stupefying narcissism.

4. Cancer/Capricorn (The Quest for Security)

Success will never satisfy and all homes grow cold. Still, I  grow fat in the easy chair of ambition.

I recognize that the pursuit of outer recognition and success (Capricorn) and the feeling of being “emotionally seen and held” (Cancer) are equally vain. Neither ambition offers any clear point of arrival or place to rest. Still, I find their enticing promises of security, and the dramatic narrative that striving for them brings, preferable to the disorienting “at-home-ness” of allowing meditative relating to define my public and private roles.

5. Leo/Aquarius (The Quest for Leadership)

Leadership is animated self-inquiry; a wrestling free of the mind in public. I will never be ready.

I have no sincere, abiding interest in realizing my true nature or in helping others to do so. The proof of this: how incuriously I allow my ego to swing between the mind’s three self-conscious postures: specialness (Leo), equality (Aquarius) and the subtly self-affirming story of inferiority. These insidious ego postures leave me feeling empty and disconnected because who I am (a presence untouched by hierarchical division) is continually stepped over and dishonored. Still, I sickly prefer them to losing my reference point.

6. Virgo/Pisces (The Quest for Purity)

With dark curiosity and a discriminating eye, I peer deep into my holy sadness.

Un-repentent (Pisces) of my own hard-hearted habits of mind, I attempt a vicarious cleansing by pitying if not outrightly criticizing (Virgo) these failings in others. By pathologizing and repressing these healthy bouts of contrition and holy sadness, they get shunted, over and over, into their Godless, unredemptive forms: cynicism and depression. Still, I would rather be a proud survivor of existential angst than share my inner life with a cohabiting presence.

Please note: If this list leaves you feeling hopeless and deflated, remember this: ego would love for you to get depressed about these habits of mind. It would be just as pleased to have you casually disregard them. That’s called “reactivity.” What does Soul want? For you to get so constructively disgusted with the illusion of separation that you’re thrown hard back into your true nature: the compassionate witness of these generically distributed habits of mind. Hang out there long enough and it’s just a matter of time before you start spontaneously evoking these kinds of cleansing confessions from others.

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