Why there is no overnight success

metamorphosis, M. C. Escher

There is a simple process of becoming that is common to all people. This process is a spiral that gravitates around a central point, that thing we call transcendence.

Transcendence is the end goal of our wondering.

It is so no matter what we do, and it is not a spiritual thing, but a very practical state, if we’re wondering. If you’re not wondering, it means mastery is of no concern to you. Which is all right, don’t worry.

Yet, if for some unexplained reason you are one who is constantly striving for whatever, it might be that you have got the yearn for mastery.

Mastery is a state that eliminates the perception, and sometimes the existence, of effort from existence. How awesome is that? Told you, some find it awesome, some don’t.

Striving, and the losses it incurs, is a painful activity. It mainly causes missing out, on so many things that one eventually gives up on counting and indexing. Striving is the older brother (or older sister) of hustling, so striving is grand and long term.

The process of striving has one effect: becoming.

Becoming is basically a refining process where we shed metaphor and become blunt in describing ourselves. Metaphor is wiggle room and it invites interpretation. Interpretation is safe, individuality is dangerous. Becoming is the process that produces individualization.

Individualization is a general coming out of the closet about everything and anything but nothing in particular. Particular coming outings may be part of one’s striving, or not.

During becoming one will chant in their inner dialogue a repetitive statement that represents their current state of the process. Because they’re chants and repetitive, they’re mantras. The mantras are:

bond of union, M. C. Escher

The Ignorant mantra:

I don’t know and I can’t.

Everyone starts here. Everyone, no matter what you try. I don’t know and I can’t. With this mantra in your heart nothing happens. It is as if the universe is not on your side, it is the complete lack of luck. Society has your collar put in place and wrapped tight, and you’re on display for sale, yes, a metaphorical slave fair happens every day, for whomever pays more, because whoever pays more earns their right to tell you what to do. With this mantra in your heart you are guided by a primitive unconscious and in a complete darkness of the conscious.

drawing hands, M. C. Escher

The Seeker mantra:

I know but I can’t.

With a tad of attention, and calling, some get the miracle of cognition: a question. Not any question, the question you shouldn’t have asked because it ignites the seek for The answer. Seeking and seeking, suddenly, in a book, in a scribbled napkin or in some crazy talk someone speaks, we see, hear or somehow find The answer. The moment it is internalized, The answer will have us tuned to the second mantra: I know but I can’t. With this mantra in their heart all the seekers of the world are living their troubled lives, all the avid readers, the researchers, the fierce believers and the recipe followers of the world. The people who offer the riches to the self help traders. Some actually read the self help, some actually listen and among these some persist in thinking. Yes, it takes persistence, because all information, be it science, be it snake oil, fights us. Information builds resistance in our minds. While singing the seeker mantra one is guided by a primitive unconscious in a light of attentive conscious.

The ones who still find energy to think, those who keep the fire of the wondering alive, will carve from their experience new notes for a new mantra, a higher pitched one.

hand with reflecting sphere

The Disciple mantra:

I know and I can.

After a lot of trial and error, some trials who take tolls hard to talk about, and some errors who may end the journey altogether, some folk finally make all the notes for the third mantra. They are initiated, they have a well defined target and it often is that they actually hit the target, even more than once. These people have one great trait: they find real, true, authentic masters. You can spot the initiated from the blind by the authenticity of their master. Their masters are those who live outside our fractal reality. Those who get to know them are now disciples: they know and they can. They help their family and/or friends (often more than they should), they find meaning in their lives, or what we call vision, hidden in places deeply ignored not long ago. They also appear to actually fix their karma, and are noticeably more prone to meet opportunity, because of all the hard work. The disciples practice what they know day and night. Yes, AND night. With this mantra as your tune, you are guided by an elevated subconscious in a light of a trained conscious.

relativity, M. C. Escher

The Master mantra:

I can but I don’t know.

After many years, sometimes decades, sometimes months (because whatever the current society teaches, we are not born equal, we want to make everyone equal at birth, but that is thousands of social and genetic engineering experiments away), after a varying while, the disciple takes off towards mastery. They suddenly can but behave as if they don’t know. Everything is natural and effortless, a flow that lacks any breaks or steering. The metaphorical “light”, or what we call mission, becomes the guide and while everything around makes perfect sense, masters wait eagerly for the day of their final becoming. Behold a master, guided by an evolved unconscious in the light of a reflex conscious.

And that is where the problem is, a reflex conscious!

The master sits around, waiting eagerly for the transcendence, but it doesn’t happen, the transcendence doesn’t show up. Practicing constantly, offering initiation as widely as possible, telling everyone how the world looks while they sing their mantra, facing constant disbelief, they still remain made out of flesh and bone. They may be masters, but as humans they still submit to the supremacy of time and to the ruthlessness of thirst (hunger succumbs in certain masters), a submission which makes the weight of mastery heavier by the day, a heaviness even harder to carry while constantly looking for the hidden and tricky supreme revelation.

At some random point the burden of mastery grows so great that the master simply can’t do it anymore. But, as you remember I am sure, a master is in the light of a reflex conscious, which in awareness is the equivalent of not knowing. Just like that, in a stormy kind of weird personal crisis, our master starts to mumble, initially to themselves, then to the world itself, the tune of the first mantra, they’re back to ignorance, singing: I don’t know and I can’t. However, mind you, the ignorant who was once a master is a different animal: the blazé ignorant.

Becoming is a spiral gravitating a center point of transcendence. Traveling the mantras will bring one through the ignorant, seeker, disciple and master cycles at least one time, but very probably a lot of times.

Each spire is quicker, faster, shorter, more precise than the last time. That is why time is of essence. If you’re a wonderer start early. Each cycle comes with more transcendental promises, embedded in each new information, each new apprenticeship and eventually each new mastery.

This is not exclusively about religious or spiritual practice. The spiral is present no matter what you do: if you’re a programmer or a skater, a break dancer or a poet, a physicist or a mathematician, a writer or a composer, the mantras of becoming are the elevator music playing throughout your life so you don’t get claustrophobic at the shortness of existing or panicky at the free fall below your aging.

No one signed any contract at birth, so there is no one to hold accountable that time all by itself carries you back to ignorance, even from the top of individualized spirituality. You will start over as many times as it takes, because there is a slightly good news built in: there are no closed loops in this entire universe, everything is a spiral.

For some people, transcendence is not even the destination. The spiral road of becoming, the mantras we hum along, vary wildly from person to person. A spiral with dense spires is the one where you get all the knowledge, but it is such a tight wound spring that blasts destruction everywhere, should it ever be released. I have no idea how in the olden days a few parables and drop of revelation from authentic repositories pushed the human on one smooth glide from ignorant to transcendent in one harmonious and clear spire. No wonder we call them myths.

order and chaos, M. C. Escher