Why ‘Light and Love’ Will Suck You Dry and Steal Your Soul

Yesterday I posted a tweet on Twitter and Facebook that caused quite a stir.  Some of you saw it and responded appreciatively.  Others tried to throw stones at it with weak arguments and platitudes.  In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten so much response from a tweet before.  It was: What if it’s the “dark” that’s trying to save you, and the “light” that’s keeping you powerless and immobilized?

Of those who tried to derail the concept there was a particular white-lighter who tried to take some sort of moral high ground and steal the Gravestomper’s authority for her own.  She responded to my statement by tweeting: “Life is rarely so clearly delineated. Balance must be found.”

It’s key that you pay attention here.  This is very important.  On the surface this looks benign.  Even “good” or “wise”.  After all, the New Age has been telling us for years now how we all need to be balanced.  Balance is good, isn’t it?  We all need to be in balance don’t we?  And for most of us that sounds like a great thing.  We have so much work, so much responsibility, so much fear in our lives that to balance it all with some laughter, fun, and joy would be a nice change. 

But what keeps us from having that actual balance? 

I’ll tell you.  It’s the white-light mentality. The one that tells us all paths are the same and they all lead us, in the end, to love.  The one that starts with us being “good people”.   The one which is waiting there for us to chastise us every time we have an “impure”, “wrathful” or “unbalanced” thought.  The one that  teaches us to give our personal power away to guilt and shame.  That tries to keep everyone of us in line each and every time we assert our true, active selves and our creativity.  It masks itself as liberated, free and enlightened but in actuality it is as bound, ignorant and manipulative as the religion of our parents.

That in mind, let’s take a good look our white-lighter’s statement: “Life is rarely so clearly delineated. Balance must be found.”

What does this really mean?  That word ‘Balance’ is what we, in hypnosis, call a Nominalization.  It’s a word that has no meaning but the one the listener assigns to it.  Nominalizations are building blocks of something we call ‘Guru Speak’.  It’s a hypnotic language that the few really popular Gurus, White-lighters and “Secret” folks use to get followers.  They use words and phrases that have no concrete, practical meaning to create trance states and feelings of longing and incompleteness that they then take advantage of. 

On the surface what they say sounds good because it’s usually tied to something that suggests being a “good person”.  And everyone wants to be a good person, right?  But when you start to look more closely at anything they say you begin to see that their statements are actually hollow.  The only meaning that can be derived from any of their words are those that the audience assigns to them. 

They consistently use words like Love.  Balance.  Healing.  Wholeness. Oneness.  Nature. Consciousness. Purity. Source. Godhead. None of those words really mean anything until you assign your personal experiences to them.  Then they sound terribly profound.  And whenever you ask one of these guys what any of those words actually means, they turn it around on you by saying: “What do YOU think it means? 

Why do they do that? Because they know what they are saying means nothing and if they turn it back on you, you will A) feel insecure that you don’t have the enlightened answers they do and B) you will drag an appropriate desire or wound from your life and attach it to the word, find personal meaning in it, and then beg them for more of their wisdom.  It’s a win-win situation for them

See, the reason that white-lighter chose to toss her comment about balance at me wasn’t because she wanted to open up a dialogue.  Her response had little to do with knowledge or wisdom.  It was an attempt to chastise me for taking a stand. 

My statement was clear: What if it’s the “dark” that’s trying to save you, and the “light” that’s keeping you powerless and immobilized?  The ‘light’ here means: the white-light mentality.  While ‘dark’ indicates those of us who are advocating facing fears, taking action, and wrath when necessary.  Her response was an attempt to nullify the concept I put out there because it incited a change in view.  A challenge.  A dare.  Fact is—people were excited by my statement.  They were tantalized, intrigued and even a bit titillated to think that maybe plunging into the darker parts of themselves, their thoughts and their lives could set them free from suffering. 

But white-lighters are uncomfortable with such assertions.  They are uncomfortable with people who take action.  Who challenge others.  Who encourage people to face their fears.  Who support people who get out there and go after their dreams.  Who assert anything but love and sitting immobilized on a cushion. 

Why? Because when you are immobilized on a cushion you can’t rise up against them.  When they are standing above you and your eyes are closed they own you.  When you believe that everything is supposed to be love you castrate yourself with guilt every time you want to crush one of these love-and-light manipulators to dust. And if action, self-actualization, risk and true wisdom based on direct experience are the codes that people are living by then they will have to actually learn how to do something of value.  And that is the last thing any of them want to do.  Because—and they know this—they are empty insideTheir words are empty.  Their actions are empty.  Their wealth is empty and their wisdom is empty.

So when this white-lighter saw the statement I posted was wrathful, risky and a bit frightening she tossed one of the accepted nominalizations at me in an attempt to nullify it, thereby justifying her discomfort with the concept.  “Life is rarely so clearly delineated. Balance must be found,” she said. And that way she sounded like a good person, wise and poised.  After all, who would dare disagree with that? It’s Balance after all.  Right?  Wrong.  Because there is no potency that follows a statement such as hers.  Only flaccid self-analysis.

When I refused to accept her reality she did what these white-lighters always do. And I will tell you this now, so that you can recognize it when they do it to you.  They have some common responses they use when you challenge them and begin to show that their words are meaningless, their actions reprehensible, their philosophies barbaric and insane.  They will:

1)    Say that you are twisting and skewing their words, suggesting that they possess the pure, good and objective truth and you are a Devil who is using some form of evil magic to distort that truth.   They’ll forget that they are the ones choosing their own words, but since they refuse to take responsibility for their lives they are, of course, going to blame YOU for their lack of coherency.

2)    Try to give you parental scolding when you assert yourself confidently.  When you refuse to be submissive they will suggest that you “expect people to follow you blindly without questioning your will.”  What they always fail to realize, however, is that it was really your refusal to accept their attempts to control your will that they found so distasteful to begin with.

3)    Suggest they possess the true Dharma or teachings and you just are too wicked to recognize it.

4)    Accuse you of being selfish for wanting to live a successful, active, profitable and fully actualized life.  If you were pure you would be poor and sitting on a meditation cushion emitting love for all beings. 

5)    Try to inflict guilt on you by suggesting that their lack of success comes from a bad bit of luck.  Meanwhile they try to bind you to them by teaching you that “good people” give everything they’ve got to those less fortunate.

6)    Inflict their dysfunction on you, undermine you and give you criticism aimed at shaking your self-confidence all the while talking about how “All is Love”. They will justify their shitty behavior by saying things like: “I’m opinionated.  You’re just going to have to deal with it.” Assuming that you will be bound by the code of being a “good person” who wouldn’t dare say anything unkind to another who is just expressing her free will.  But you do NOT have to deal with it.  In fact, it is your right to throw their dysfunction back on them and let them see the horrible monsters they really are.  When you do this, they will show their true colors by trying to “teach you a lesson”.  Because they are really cowards, they will enlist their friends to try and destroy you. (This particular white lighter began asking her twitter friends if they’d like to show up on my door step and teach me what Dark really meant.  She asserted that they could be the true champions of White Light when they finally destroyed me.  In the end, she dissolved into a public puddle of her own victimhood.)

7)    Tell you there is no such thing as evil in one breath, while paradoxically telling you in the next to embrace only ‘love and light’ so that they can feed, unfettered, on you and your resources.

8)    Teach you the dark is “evil” because they know in it lies the secrets that will release you from their constant control over you.

The white-lighter attempted to drive me thru guilt and shame.  The guilt and shame of forgetting to include the importance of being a “good person” in my statement. 

Why is that so powerful an attack?  Because we have all been instilled with the guilt inducing victimhood of or parents religions which taught us if we were not good we would be punished.  If we talked back to our parents we would be slapped in the mouth.  If we touched ourselves we would get sick. If we fucked who we chose to fuck when and how we chose to fuck them we would be struck down by an angry god.  If we did not go to school we would be homeless.  If we did not lash ourselves to those poor unfortunates who were victims of cruel fate and take care of them wholly we would spend an eternally frying in hell. If we did what we were talented at rather than working a job we hated like everyone else we were selfish.

The true underlying  philosophy of the white lighter can be summed up succinctly in one statement: “How come you?”

  • How come you get to be out there stomping while I’m sick and poor?
  • How come you get to be exploring your dark and exciting side when I have to be a good person?
  • How come you get to adore your work while I have to work a job I hate to make ends meet?
  • How come you get people to listen to you but no one listens to me?
  • How come you’re happy but I’m not?

 

And you know what the common, underlying theme is in all of these statements?  Entitlement.  They feel that just because they show up to the party they get to be the belle of the ball.  That everyone should flock to them, appreciate, cherish and respect them just because they are here and they tell everyone in a hundred different ways what good people they are.  Their philosophy is sick with this sort of bullshit:

  • All paths are equal.
  • Everyone is special and talented.
  • Everything is Love.
  • A balance between light and dark is what’s needed.
  • You are perfect as you are.
  • All gods are the same.

 

Well I got news for you, guys:

  • All paths are NOT equal or all people would be happy and successful. 
  • A LOT of people are completely mediocre and it’s agony to be around them. 
  • If everything was ‘love and light’ there wouldn’t be so many divorces nor would there be a need for homicide detectives.
  • You cannot have any kind of balance when you refuse to act on facing the things you’re afraid of. 
  • If everyone is perfect as they are then why are so many people drugging themselves with food, dope, booze and fantasy to escape their miserable lives?
  • There is no unity: the world is horribly dissected into pieces of pieces of pieces.

So, let me end this where I began, reaffirminig that The Gravestomper project is about liberating people from suffering. Getting them to get out there and live their lives fully.  It’s about self-actualization.

People are being crushed by guilt and shame, false teachers and the false belief that they have to sublimate their true selves to someone else’s definition of what a good person is.

The white light path will neuter you, drain you and finally, kill you.  It’s all about sucking the vitality from your life.  It’s full of platitudes, users and entitlement mentality.  If it’s yours and it sparkles they will steal it because it’s the only thing they know.

Now, I’ll ask you again:  What if it’s the “dark” that’s trying to save you, and the “light” that’s keeping you powerless and immobilized?

Birth of a Gravestomper

Maybe it all started that afternoon when I was wandering through the St Francis Borgia grammar school library looking for something to read. Those days reading bored the hell outta me. I preferred being outside: running, biking, lying under the hundred-year-old silver maples in my front yard making up adventures. There was life outside in the open air and things were so stagnant in that Catholic school. There was little of interest to me within it’s beige walls and filthy asbestos ceilings. So much so that in second grade I asked one of the nuns to let me go to the bathroom and I simply walked out of the school and ran away. It took my father throwing me to the ground, beating me and kicking me to make me agree not to leave it again.

 

But anyway: back to the library. I was looking for something that would excite me. I’d already read the only book the school had on Greek mythology about fifty times. I loved the stories of the Gods. They were so much more interesting than the battered crucified curse we had to face above the chalkboards every day. That was a constant reminder that there was no way to win. If the Catholics didn’t lobotomize me with their our fathers and hail mary’s, then someone else would sling me up on a tree and nail me in. Their philosophy sucked. A point I reiterated years later in Catholic high school to a gym teacher who then dragged me into his office and beat me up. Another curse. They were all about curses, these people. But the old Greeks knew the Gods weren’t infallible. They were like us only bigger and more powerful. This seemed important to me. But there was only one book about them in that Catholic library. Looking back now, I admit, I’m surprised there was even the one; but there was, and I’d read it; and I was looking for something else; and that’s when I saw it.

 

It was the cover that caught my eye. It was black. On it was was a black and green winged figure pointing at a couple of tombstones. Behind the figure a purple sky was split by a lightning bolt and above this was the title, Here Lies the Body by Scott Corbett.

 

I checked it out and immediately started reading it. It was about a New England boy and his little brother, who was may age, who got a summer job cutting grass in ‘Hemlock Hill Burial Ground’. The elder brother wanted to be a writer and spent his time making up poems about the names on the tombstones. Turns out there was a mystery surrounding the two old men who owned the cemetery. It was a great read that left an indelible mark on my imagination. I read the book maybe a dozen times after that.

 

As it happed, my house in Chicago was walking and biking distance from at least six cemeteries. I decided to have some adventures like my heroes from the book and started spending my days—and when I was older, some nights—in Acacia, Westlawn, Mount Olive, St Joesph’s and Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove where John Belushi was originally buried before they moved his body to Massachusetts. In my teens I discovered Graceland and Rosehill on the North side where the first communal mausoleum was built. I fully explored the famous Mount Carmel: notorious for all of the gangsters like Al Capone who are buried there and where all of my Irish/Italian family is buried. I was looking for something. I didn’t know what.

 

When my mother found out I spent so much time in cemeteries she was horrified and said: “How can you do that?”

 

Why” I said to her. “It’s not the dead I’m worried about. It’s the living.” Which tells me now that even then I understood one of the principles central to the Tibetan Bon process: a realization that this life is characterized by suffering. But what no one seemed to be able to tell me was: How to we go beyond that suffering?

 

My time in cemeteries instilled a habit in me. One that lead me to search through the dark of this city for something even though I didn’t know what I was looking for. I know now I was looking for the way to go beyond death. I knew there had to be a way and it wasn’t through the crucified curse. I’d read about Easterners who meditated in cemeteries and I was intrigued. Where did the practice come from? I wanted to know. Later I would find out: Tibet.

 

In my late teens I began to explore dark Chicago nights, clubs, smoky bars and glistening city streets the way I’d searched those cemeteries in my youth. Still looking for the answer to what was behind that dark. On the way home I’d drive into Acacia cemetery, which was open all night back then, and I’d sit on the gravestones and stare up at the stars. One those nights I always knew: the answer would eventually come.

 

One night in the late 80’s I was in club Berlin, staring at a New Order video on the screen. I set my glass down hard on the bar and said aloud to no one: “I’m not coming back! This is it for me.”

Evidently I’d made a decision, but about what I didn’t know. By the time I hit 30 I’d fully explored the ‘New Age’ and found it to be to be no different from the religion I’d been raised on. There was no answer to what I’d been looking for in those cemeteries, or on those dark streets. Just an endless string of opinions.

 

By the time I was in my mid thirties I was researching Tibet. I uncovered a reference to these incredible Tibetans who were called Bön. They were in Tibet before the Buddhists got there and indeed the Buddhists had learned from them. I couldn’t believe some of the legends about these incredible people. Could they be true? According to the book they were all but extinct.

 

“Now, where the hell am I going to find one of these Bön?” I said to myself.

 

But I didn’t have to find one. Two weeks later one found me. I was up in Wisconsin doing palm readings at a Spring festival. He was a Bönku or “seed of Bön”. That is, a Bön master. He gave me a meditation to try and I did it. When I’d master it he gave me another exercise. Unlike all the religions I’d grown up around he never asked me to trust him or believe him or follow him. He simply gave me these experiments and said, “Try them. See what happens.”  See, now, if I was a New-Ager, this is the part of the story where I’d tell you that this Bönku told me I had a special gift, great spiritual power and that I was chosen to lead people. That sort of thing is pure bullshit. He didn’t tell me I was ‘special’ or that I was ‘chosen’. In fact he basically showed me how ignorant I was, and I how I was a prisoner of my own life and habits the way all of us humans are. If anyone had told me I was very powerful I would have known it was bullshit because I felt totally powerless back then. Power was the one thing I wanted because I was tired of having any and all power taken from me by others. I’m astonished so few are willing to admit the fact that they want power. They’re so afraid of it. But just because they pretend not to want it, doesn’t mean they’re fooling anyone. It could lead them to great things if they’d just admit it. But he did tell me that if I worked my ass off I could have great power and reach enlightenment: the way all humans can. It’s just that most humans already think they are already enlightened and so they can’t even be bothered to try and grow further. 

 

By midsummer that year I had taken vows of refuge. Meaning, I committed 11 years of my life to Bön training. That first year I learned all about the famous “cemetery work” of the Bön. (Some of it is chronicled in Alexandra David-Neel’s wonderful book, Magic and Mystery in Tibet.) And I realized why I had always been drawn to cemeteries. Lets just say that cemetery practices and all of the practices we Bön do are aimed at ending suffering: our own and the suffering of others. And we’ve dedicated our time here to manging our minds and ending suffering.

 

Now, cemeteries hold a great deal of magic for me. And I, as a Bön “Gomchen” as we are called, spend my time stomping the grounds with a great deal of appreciation and respect not only for the energies present in those places, but in the power of those places to relieve us of suffering, fears and limitations. For me, every trip to a cemetery is another adventure; it reminds me that we are more than mere dust and bones. We are energy.

 

But as my Bönku said to me the first day I met him: “If you’re not managing your energy, who is?”

 

And that my grave stomping friends, is the key to it all…

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