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Use It, Don’t Be Used by It

Published July, 2024

Human Flaws

Unsavory aspects of being human exist in all of us: greed, stinginess, jealousy, obsession, rage, sloth, and torpor; the whole gamut. Eros, operating by the laws of nature, suggests it is not these characteristics themselves but our approach and response to them that determines whether or not they are beneficial or harmful. Eros tends to prize efficiency through the full use of all things. Nothing is wasted and everything is potential fodder for growth.

The Waste of Denial

Denial, for the most part, is fairly benign. The primary issue is that it is a waste of an incredibly powerful resource. If it is worth being denied, it has value.

Poisonous Self-Criticism

Beating up on ourselves is the worst use of poison imaginable, because not only are we keeping it in its poisonous state, we are also ingesting it by choice. We then spend our interior resources—resilience, courage, a capacity to be with discomfort, joy, generosity, empathy—either trying to recover from a poison we should not ingest, or continuing to ingest poison.

Harmful Consequences

It is a kind of short-term consumption that causes long-term harm, because when we beat ourselves up, by extension, we beat other people up. It is using poison that could be medicine to keep on fueling a harmful system. What we do not recognize when engaging in this practice is that we are supporting a corrupt system all under the guise of being virtuous.

Misallocated Resources

But when our resources go to harm, it does not matter if the harm is in the self or other. Resources are supporting harm.

The Cycle of Self-Punishment

There is often the argument that we cannot stop beating ourselves up. Consider if someone were to say that about beating somebody else up? Recognize that these unsavory vices are value-neutral habits that do not care for the object, only that they can continue their harmful action.

Ego Gratification

What we don’t acknowledge is the tremendous ego gratification we experience in punishing ourselves. There is a payoff; we are just being paid pennies on the dollar.

Transforming Poison into Medicine

We can, however, begin the radical process of converting poison into medicine. The first step is to begin to plug our attention into a higher state of consciousness—learning.

Mechanism of Transformation

We can take any of the character poisons, and, instead of acting from them, look at them and begin the process of understanding their mechanics, and through understanding their mechanics, dismantle the system that supports their operation.

Liberating Energy

We can then liberate the energy that goes into their maintenance and operation, and come away with an understanding we can apply to ourselves, and use as a means of empathy in understanding their operation in others.

Redirecting Energy

We can take the newly liberated energy and plug that back into Eros, driving it into our own practice and creativity. We can then add this power to the characteristic by eroticizing it, abetting it, and moving it into its evolved form.

Eroticizing Characteristics

We eroticize by adding the five cornerstones of attention—approval, intuition, intimacy, power, and optionality—by viewing the characteristic through this lens of perception rather than the right/wrong, good/ bad of the rational mind.

The Highest Form

The question then becomes, What does this characteristic want to be in its highest form? We see it as something we love, deeply naked and revealed to us.

Reclamation through Eroticization

There is a powerful reclamation in this act as we watch greed transform into the limitless space that is always drawing in more for the divine. Rage becomes the clear power that stands behind all creative endeavor. Obsession converts to the hyper-focus that elevates the mind to genius.

Unconditional Love

When we eroticize the undesirable in us, we discover that what we thought was wrong with us, when powered, becomes precisely what is right with us. This is a key tool in the art of unconditional love, because when we can love this in ourselves, we can love it in everyone.

Potent Tools for Intimacy

If we can transform our poison, we discover an incredibly potent tool in accessing intimacy. Not only because it gives us entry into the unseen and untouched parts of others through mutual recognition, but because these aspects, when plugged in for the benefit of all beings, are the only ones potent enough to enter high-intensity domains such as sex, money, and power.

Employing Denied Energies

The good is often too good, too naive to last for long in the depths where true human relating, even with ourselves, occurs. To have a mind strong enough to make it into relationship with all, we must employ all the energies we would otherwise deny.

Unconditional Play

The last level, when we can run the behavior—no longer a poison— rather than be run by it, is to employ it in unconditional play. The truth is, everyone wants the experience of playing with a villain or a transgressor, or of being taken or taken advantage of, but not when the person doing it is doing it unconsciously or with intent to harm.

Stewardship of Behavior

We offer this in order to provide an experience yearned for—because all humans yearn for all experiences—in such a way that the other person can have it deliberately, rather than by default. And we know that as humans, we will have these experiences one way or another. It is a great service when we can steward our behaviors in order to provide experiences people could not get elsewhere. Use it, don’t be used by it. And use it for good.

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