“You can have anything you want, just not everything you want.”
“You can have anything you want, just not everything you want.”
“You can have anything you want, just not everything you want.”
Sharing Your Weakness / Exposing Yourself / Vulnerability / The Vulnerable Student
When I was applying the training offered at the FA, I learned to open up. As did a number of others, people like Ben, Draeth, Luciana, and Ashton. The whole time period really embodied the stage I was in as a student and practitioner of the Sith: the stage of vulnerability. The stage, and the insights, suggestions, and advice I could garner and put to use as a result. I wrote a little about it at the time to, but previous writings don’t really capture what I would want to say about it now.
Consider this question: why would you open up, expose yourself to possible attack, allow yourself to become invested with people on an online forum, to care at all about what they have to say, or allow yourself the kind of transparency that would make their insights and guidance meaningful? I myself don’t set an example of it anymore, many of the people that interact with me don’t know my age, my occupation, or the current affairs of my everyday life. They rarely know what I’m feeling, thinking, or aiming to acheive, but at one time folks at the Force Academy knew a lot about all of these things. And the question is: for what? I’ll tell you…
A thing doesn’t have value for you if you don’t invest yourself in it. The inherent risk is that pieces of you will be chipped away, broken off, or lost. But that will happen as you go through life anyways, and to sacrifice those pieces of yourself deliberately, intentionally, mindfully… That makes those sacrifices more worthwhile and more fulfilling. With a purpose, you know what your paying such a high price for. In order for training of any kind to impact you signficantly, the cost is in the caring, the investment, and the inherent risk that both of those entail. If you want to get anything out of the FA or the people there, you’ve got to allow yourself to get attached to it, to them, instead of hiding behind the excuse that it’s just names on a screen. Because while that’s perfectly true, it’s a safety net that assures you of something: at the end of the day, nothing anybody there say has to mean a fucking thing to you. But taking that to an extreme closes you off from the benefit of letting those people matter, lessens how much you can use them for your own growth, and becomes an excuse to stay comfortable with your life, however dissatisfied you mighy be, however mediocre you are, and regardless of how close to the mark criticisms or snide remarks might be when thrown you’re way.
would encourage any would-be student to sacrifice the comfort of a convenient excuse in favor of the oppurtunity to invest yourself a little, to admit that certain people – and what they have to say – matter to you. Forge some connections, take some emotional risk… if you invest yourself (deliberately) instead of hiding behind a veneer of apatthy, you might just get a return on that investment. The reason I’ve seen people use to brush things off, that it’s only the internet, is the reason you should open yourself up and let yourself care a little: at the end of the day, it’s only the internet, and names on a screen.
I no longer open up about myself, my life, progress, achievements, or failures… because I’m well past the need to build the foundations within myself that form the basis of what a Dark Knight can truly be. I hardly even log anything the way I used to, in a structured, streamlined, easily measurable manner. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help you to create your own foundations, whatever form you choose to build them in, and it doesn’t mean you should use my experience or choices as an excuse to hold yourself back. Because make no mistake, that’s the only one being held back by it.
The reasons people come here are often different from the reasons people stay. I am no longer here for the reasons that once attached me to this place, my role has changed through the success I’ve had and the choices I’ve made and one facet of the motives that have changed and tranformed along with me – is that I am now more selective in my tansparency. But if you’re intention for yourself is anything like what Draeth once described…
“Understand, come here to grow as a person, and I have found that, by making myself vulnerable, by exposing my core in an environment where the actual risks are controlled, I become stronger so that I can face the challenges in environments where I have no control over the outcome. It seems to me that my peers, Victorus and Draconis to name a few, share the same goal and methodology.”
~Darth Draeth (aka Nale)
If you’re looking for ways to explore yourself, and expand, grow, and evolve, you’re going to have to suck up the fact that you need to open up, and embrace vulnerability as a path of strength. You’re going to have to set aside your instruments of safety if you really want to become a stronger individual – when or if you pick them up again, they will not need to be used as instruments of safety; instead, they will be instruments of your will, plain and simple.
(Orginally written November 19th (?), 2012 // Last Played with December 28, 2012)
(Extremely Early Version/Attempt/Efforts of and toward this (click here to read))
A few quotes I put into my Facebook profile…
“You have to carve a niche for yourself. That’s the strength required here. No one is going to believe in you FOR you. That’s the Sith Path. Are you worthy or aren’t you?”
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make [it] drink. That’s the horses responsibility.”
“Human beings that have no passion, have no drive. If they have no passion, they have no goals. A life without passion is a life without love, a life without substance. A Sith should live life, with burning passion to expierence all there is. A life without attachments is a wasted one.”
“Life is messy. Being covered in mud means you were in it, not just looking at it.”
“I walk a Path beyond words, because there are no words for it, and even if there were, only those already along it would understand them, and this writing would be silly, as it would become a matter of course and not worth mentioning.”
“A life without fear would be very boring.”
If there’s another post centering solely around “sith quotes” it’ll probably reflect more diversity in the sources I’m going to draw on.
(Living (not fictional) Sith Quotes)
(Originally Compiled/Written January 6th, 2012)
Let us entertain the possibility that there are flaws in the teachings of any given darksider. Do these lead to the failures of students over the years? Of course. But it raises the question of whether the origin of these failures is in the lectures and practices espoused by one adept or another… or if the it is in the student that fails to advance. For some, in having watched so many crumble over the years, it does leave room to wonder. Not for the person reading this though: The teachings presented and offered at any given time by any given practitioner are always flawed, without fail.
The straigthforward teachings are only ever the best a practitioner can offer at the time they’re given. But being the best an individual can furnish, at one point in time, does not make them perfect. Some of the more brilliant, deceptive teachings are deserving of praise because of the flaws intentionally worked into them.
They are flawed, and many have crumbled, or remained content with mediocrity. But that does not eclipse the reality of others having succeeded with the same materials, the same lectures, the same way of life. The weak and malcontent, the failures and the mediocre, will always outnumber the strong and victorious. The ratio of succesful adepts to failed students is simply a reflection of that. However it is spun – that they were different, that their path led elsewhere, the dark wasn’t for them – the bottom line is that some people are cut out for darkness, and for success. Others, are not.
There are always going to be flaws, no matter what is taught. They are there to be worked through, lived with, for those that are able and willing. They serve a variety of purposes, one of which will be explained…
“We are all born weak; strength is something we learn. I believe all weakness can be made strength.”
~Luciana, Dark Knight
A competent Master will not drive away all but the best, at least not without providing the weak with initial opportunities to become strong. In this, the flaws serve students, forcing them to take what they have and work through its contradictions, shortcomings, and deceptions through their own application and experiences. This process in and of itself begins the process of culling the weak from would-be adepts. They aspirant will attempt to put it to use, fail, be confronted with the price of practice, and they will either turn away, deciding that the way of the dark is flawed… or they will stay with it, growing and evolving. Budding, unfurling. Becoming.
In relation to this, the failure of Dark Masters in the past has been their short-sightedness. With the idea of culling the weak and weeding out the unworthy, they approached newcomers early on, with no thought to timing, or to how the weak can be put to use for the advantage and growth of students that will stick around, that can hack it. Those that are too weak to endure or advance will be found out in time.
Dark Masters and Knights perceptive and experienced enough to work smart, rather than just working hard or with wasted intensity, won’t flush their time or efforts down the toilet. Instead, the weak are allowed to be weak, providing a backdrop for the strong to stand out from as well as a resource for them to exploit, and the mindful, seasoned Darksider will guide his own attentions to enabling the strong to become stronger.
The lectures, however flawed, will always have a certain essence, a sense of darkness pervades, and they act as gateways. Even the most flawed will appeal to someone, they will act as starting points, gateways, pulling them in with allegedly effective methods to get what they’re looking for, and forcing them to either grow or fall by the wayside as they go deeper down the rabbit hole. Because you will never know how practical, effective, or valuable any of it is, in any given lecture, technique, or exercise, unless it is worked with, refined or discarded, on the basis of trial and error.
Ask yourself how flawed this lecture is.
I was re-reading some of the writings on one of Luciana’s blogs, and came across part of a post that relates to the idea of (self-made) monsters.
“I’ve come to think there are two kinds of Sith – or Dark Side practioners, perhaps I should say – those for whom the full embrace of their passion and animal natures are important, and those for whom the intellectual pursuit of the left-hand path is.”
~Luciana, It Is Winter Now & The Roses’ Petals Are Bright Against The Snow
I think both are present in the best of us, but which is monstrous? The former, I think, at least more so than the intellectual side of things… and the more some semblance of that is present, the more sophisticated that monster is. So maybe darksiders in general are less prone to being monsters, there’s still plenty of room for wanting acceptance or approval from others, still plenty of room to obscure ones true nature with over-intellectualizing.
Sith, on the other hand (and especially in the sense Luciana means it), embrace their nature and intellectualize about it secondarily or not at all, depending on their inclination towards thinking, talking, conceptualizing, and theorizing. Though I’m not sure I can entirely get behind it, it’s an interesting distinction. Regardless though…
The purity and simplicity of embracing ones animal nature and seeing that as the foundation from which all ones actions spring… That may be where the monster begins. But then, it occurs to me that a monstrous soul can – and often does – originate from an intellectual starting point, transitioning (i.e. being seduced) into simply Being. She herself goes on to mention that she started off in the more intellectual camp, and slowly drifted into the other, especially when she began to reconnect to her ‘heathen roots’, as she put it.
“As I establish old ties and reconnect to my heathen roots, I remember the Hunger, the Rage, and I remember what it is to run with wolves…”
~Luciana, It Is Winter Now & The Roses’ Petals Are Bright Against The Snow
Altogether, I think the more intellectual side of things can be a gateway to ones bestial nature and, at the same time, can come to obscure it. I remember the latter applied to Draeth in most ways, at least when he first showed up at the Order and the Force Academy. A lot of people seem to have a complicated and ever-varied mixture in how their intellect has affected their perception and attunement to their true nature. How one might guide them as they evolve and change – or at least what one might observe as they change and evolve on their own – is just as varied, I think.
“If the truth of all that we are lies within, and all that we are encompasses all that is, then the answer to every secret and question I might ask a wise man or the tarot also, potentially, exists within me already.”
To me, this is essentially the function of tarot cards, numerological formula’s, astrological lenses, and other things of a similar nature. They have little to no inherent power of their own, they’re just tools that help to draw out inner ‘truths’ into view so you can more consciously work with or use them, or, in the case of having someone do a reading for you, playing off of information that already lies within.
With one’s self, it’s simply a tool for introspection, the symbols have meanings that are personal and the hints or answers are intentionally designed to be vague to give the individual using these tools a point of focus through which to look at their issues to bring them to a head and get a better grip on them.
In readings, whether there’s mystical implications or not, it still functions in basically the same way. The insights, about a question, the past, the future, or whatever else, are vague, (so that) they aren’t wrong and are never entirely useless or “inaccurate”, especially with someone skilled enough to guide the person into finding what the reading pertains to and what it might mean…..
Just some random thoughts on tarot, runes, numerology, etc. I’ve touched on it before. I titled this post Mechanisms Of Introspection because I was thinking about it in those terms when I started typing, but it’s an outlook that I feel probably applies to people like Charles (host of The Labyrinth radio show).
I think belief in any forms of mystically based practices is almost irrelevant in terms of utility and validity with; rune readings, tarot cards, and various other methods can all be effective with or without subscribing to any sort of mysticism, and getting a reading from someone else, someone that’s not a complete charlatan, is just a case of looking inward with the help of someone skilled enough to help you look inside.
I have a habit of keeping up with what everyone else is doing, saying, etc. online.
I keep up with Khaos’s radio show (along with a few of the other ones), (had kept up) with Luciana’s blog posts, with what’s said at the Order and the Force Academy, I usually read the posts from blogs I’ve subscribed to, and I generally don’t ignore FB friends. That last one’s easier than one might think; I haven’t friended very many people unless I thought there would be mutual interest in wall posts, music, opinions… and so on.
Anyways, something that happens quite a bit is that I seem to be in sync with current streams of thought or even experiences that belong to members of the community. We kind of feed off of each other. I was surpised by this when I discovered (way, way back) that Miles’ exploration of Tea Ceremony was sparked, in part, by my ritualization of tending to, trimming, and shaping shrubbery.
It wasn’t so much that I was unaware of the occasional synchronity, or that I hadn’t encountered it… looking back, from where I stand now, and looking at other instances of this, we really do feed off of each other a lot. At times…. far too much
Sometimes it’s completely ‘coincidental’, I’ll be thinking about something, go to make a post and see that someone who’s been quiet for months wrote about similar issues/subjects in their journal or else already started a thread on it. But still, other times it’s probably because we tend to keep track of each other and the natural progression from one thing to another leads us to similar ruminations and musings.
Yet some of our best work, individually, is when there’s some distance, when someone blindsides you with a lecture, a journal entry, or just some small insight you weren’t expecting. This isn’t always the case, but at least with me I find that the best work within the online communities seems to come from being out of sync with others to some degree. Not always, and maybe not even mostly, but very often.
(Written March 30th, 2012)
No, not really. Pushing myself, not allowing myself ‘mercy’ when I feel like calling it good for the day, that’s been important to me lately. “Those who ask for mercy are to weak to deserve it”(~Darth Bane) is kind of the attitude I approach myself with. And I’m starting to see a few new chains, soft ones, comfortable, seductive ones. I wrote a bit about it a few days ago. This is fairly direct in how it relates to how I’ve actively, ruthlessly been pushing my boundaries. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what makes me uncomfortable to, as doorways to expanding my limits.
The idea of Dark Side healing, influenced in no small part by Khaos’s shows on the subject, is also something I’m… loosely working with, looking actively for things to do, to practice, to try. And I’ve gotta say, the Arming Meditation is one of my favorites right now, though my consistency in doing it every morning has lessened a little bit.
Peace as a lie, as something that gets in the way of being honest with myself about realistically taking a look and evaluating myself, where I’m at, and where I want to go, is still fresh in my mind and I’ve been thinking about the commonalities between it and rest.
I don’t know… I mean, I honestly don’t even like to rest, I have a hard time allowing myself to sleep, but I think that’s less to do with peace than with an angle of my resltessness I hadn’t even considered ’till one of ’till I read one of Luciana’s more recent posts. The idea that I have this want for control, and that rest seems like a surrender of it on some level… there’s something to that, for me. I really don’t mind it… something in this though is the idea of control. Let go of what control? I have influence, immense influence – and even more in my potential – but not any sort of absolute control, and my ability to affect people, situations, discussion, etc. varies in how effective it is, becomes less so as I try to affect things normally out of my reach and expand myself further into the world.
The difference between peace and rest, by the way… even while sleeping, I dream, there’s an active process, an active attempt of myself trying to comunicate and tie more tightly… together(?). Sleep, and whatever other kind of rest, is also kind of a recovery and healing period that moves towards more exertion and progress, more growth and in this there is still conflict and even hostility, between others and me, and within myself. The idea of reaching peace contrasts (for me) because it’s a standstill in my eyes, with no need (or, more importantly, desire) to recuperate energies due to no need to expend or put myself into anything.
(Written October 30th, 2011)
(Just FYI: I wrote this as a reply in a discussion at OotS the day before Halloween, which was only a few days after I wrote Shackles Aren’t Always Iron and well before I wrote A Sense of Peace, to give an idea of the timeline from one fragment to another.)