From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death
There are patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies – Patterns by Simon and Garfunkle
The first time I heard this song at the ripe old age of 13, I sat and cried and cried. I never understood at the time why I cried this pathos for a song which is a rare experience for me now. Yet this song has stayed with me throughout the years. Being a toltec artist and spiritual warrior, this song makes me fully aware of the many patterns that we constantly repeat for no reason.
I have watched others stuck in patterns. I had a relitive who was confronting death at 60. The time in his life came around and he grew to the age that his parents were when they died. He fell deeply into a rut in his life. And yet he was not that old. He fell into this rut because his own parents had died at the age he was coming onto. This pattern was passed down to him. His grand parents had died at a similar age when he was young. But as the moments approached and the two dates of his mother and father’s death passed there was a lull. A complete lack of interest in anything about life, yet he lived on. For many this might have killed them. But for him, he found something to do, began to create the art and life that he always wanted. Free now from the burden of that pattern of impending doom, there was almost nothing to stop him from moving forward.
What amazes me about this process is two things. First we are really trapped by the patterns of our lives and the story that we tell ourselves. These are manic myths of mayhem which we can’t block… or can we? I think we can. If we detatch ourselves from the personal drama of our lives and pull that energy back to our center then we are not trapped by our fate. For the spiritual warrior fate traps us as much as anything. It grabs our attention and tries to proove to us that we are not in charge. The second thing that amazed me about this story is the energy that my relitive had when he passed that impending date. It was like being born again. I watched the lines on his face soften. I watched the bounce in his step lighten. I watched the energy in his projects intensify. There was a looking forward to the endless possibilities. This energy was the energy that was trapped with himself by that story, that myth of death which he held onto. We all have areas in our life where there are packages of energy that trap our attention, I like finding them. We all have areas of our lives that are dying to get out and be used a-new.
This personal story could be applied to any number of stories we tell ourselves globally. I love myths. I think they have a lot to teach us about life. They are a necessary part of preparing our young to deal with situations. They are often tales of power. Yet at the same time, they are an amazing trap of our awareness. The hero for instance can’t win without being, first alone for a while, wandering through the dark night of the soul, having some thing he needs to heal and ultimately must be broken down before he defeats the gorgon at the other end of the hero’s journey. Now really? And of course there are tons of movies and theatrical presentations which support this myth. The story is so ingrained in us, we are abhored when we see a hero not go through this process. Like where was the beating? What happens when he wins by not playing the game? Silence……
I am reminded of Hannible Lector when I think of the hero. Harris, his creator, was amazed at the amount of attention that Hannible got after Silence of the Lambs. So in the final act of the series, he turned Hannible into the perfect hero complete with a love affair, all the elements of the heros journey, and a walk off into the sunshine of happily ever after. They had to change it for the movie version because no one could stand the idea that a serial killer could be a true hero. Harris was shaking a fist at us… And yet, now we have Dexter. Wow, the story just twists and turns but always ends up the same. Even when we are completely abhored by it all, we watch in rooted facination at the drama. We are addicted.
The spiritual warrior sees these patterns play out every day. As an artist I watch as people try despirately to do something really truly new only to repeat the pattern again so that the action or creation sells. Have we reached the end of the line? I don’t think so. I think that we are coming to a point where we are truly asking the hard questions about what we believe to be true. We are being forced to by our environment and our global society growin in connection and complexity. We are loosing something on the one hand and gaining on the other. Loss of personal uniqueness as we truly know we are repeating the pattern over and over, gaining in awareness that the pathway is there bright shining as the sun.
I envision a point where we say enough is enough. But I do not buy the idea that we are going to play out the myth of global suicide or extermination. That myth told once too many times has too great a consequence. We are not sheep, we are not just followers in a mass game of keep up with the jones. We are creative, adaptive humans who come up with solutions for the next great leap. The next great leap, though, may mean more than global recapitulation of our current adictions. It might just mean a complete transformation of what it means to be human. Let us hope so. Meanwhile kill the myths that are trying to kill you!