Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gradual Withdrawal

In all I spent four to five years entailing intense interactive engagement on the "integral" forums (1997 - 2000).

When I look back now, 1 find it hard to believe that I contributed so much - mostly relating to difficult material - during this time.

Overall, between forum contributions and e-mails it would have been somewhere, I imagine, in the region of 2 million words.

And as I was full-time employed (as an Economics lecturer) all this output necessarily had to be contributed in my spare time.

Inevitably however a price had to be paid.

It has always been a characteristic of my development that "illuminative stages" would burn very brightly for a short period of time, where intellectual activity would reach a feverish pitch of intensity. And then inevitably the intuitive insight fuelling this activity would become depleted necessitating a major withdrawal, with the need then to replenish the unconscious wells within, very keenly experienced.

Indeed at an earlier stage, I had drawn strong parallels as between this psychological process and the physical phenomenon of a black hole.

When they burn up their energy, stars of a certain critical size can collapse into black holes which exercise an intense gravitational pull within their immediate environment

In like manner "spiritual stars", whose activity is especially expressive of intuition springing from the holistic unconscious, can likewise burn up this energy to such a degree that they become plunged into a "dark night" episode, with an immense burden of  grief (i.e. psychological gravity) experienced for many years. During this time one remains continually immersed in a tightly compressed dark inner space, which acts as a powerful attractor drawing all external phenomena inwards.

Though in subsequent development, these illuminative episodes had been  moderated to a substantial extent, so that I could now endure the withdrawal phase with greater equanimity, the basic pattern was still clear.

So to put it in the old ascetic language, drawn from the contemplative mystical literature, illumination was always followed by purgation.

And in my case the purgative tended to last far longer than the corresponding illuminative stages.

In fact when later, following a lengthy period of withdrawal, I would reflect on the previous activity, it was like waking from a dream to wonder whether it had ever really happened!

So for me to have spent five years on the forums in this manner was quite unusual.

However towards the end, I could no longer escape the fact that I was showing the signs of increasing strain.

Whereas earlier I could bear opposition to me ideas with patience and good will, I now was becoming increasingly irritated.

And I was suffering a worrying disconnection with my daily work, where I felt I was just going through the motions without really feeling present.

Also the demands of responding to a growing circle of correspondents was making significant demands on my time and energy.

It finally came to a head in late 1999 when I was prevailed upon by a fellow forum participant to engage in a 3-week Cyber Conference (in the US).

So to fruitfully engage in this Conference I needed to get online immediately on coming home from work and then engage with other contributors till 3 or 4 AM, before returning shortly afterwards to work to present morning lectures.

This above all signified for me a growing imbalance in my life that had been developing for some time. Though I had indeed become intensely motivated by "integral" issues, I had to face the fact that my own life was increasingly lacking such integration. Also the people I dealt with on a day to day basis, who had not the slightest interest in "integral studies" seemed at that time to be coping much better with the exigencies of daily life.

Therefore though I did not retire completely yet from the forums, a growing experience of disillusionment set in that would within a year lead to complete withdrawal for a lengthy period.

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