by Gary 'Z' McGee
Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned
philosopher, is the author of 'Birthday Suit of God'
'The Looking Glass Man.'
works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages
and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
to be effective
penetrate like an arrow -
and that is
likely to hurt."
Wei Wu Wei
The path toward true
awakening is painful and bumpy.
It's not pretty.
it can be downright ugly...
There are egoic pitfalls. There are
soul-snaring brambles. There are existential knots. The way is never
clear, until it is. An even then, it usually turns out to be an
The path is not soft and sweet but jagged and elusive.
It is not
artificially blissful but authentically painful.
The joy of
discovery on the one side is deep and can be genuinely ecstatic, but
the agony on the other side cuts to the soul and can be
Real awakening is both a reckoning and a wrecking, both an expansion
and an annihilation.
It is not pretend reconciliation.
awakening is painfully transcendent.
It grips the soul by the throat
and doesn't let go.
Infinity casts its hook, and you're taken -
hook, line, and sinker - into Growth.
The key is to remain flexible and circumspect.
The secret is to
somehow find comfort within the discomfort. Easier said than done,
But as Spinoza said,
"All things excellent
are as difficult as they are rare."
"Make no mistake about it
- enlightenment is a destructive process.
It has nothing to do with
becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling
away of untruth.
It's seeing through the facade of pretense.
the complete eradication of everything
we imagined to be true."
The Ugliness -
Psychological discomfort, ignorance, the pain of being wrong.
Cognitive dissonance is a humdinger of a psychosocial malady.
counterintuitive glitch in the matrix, causing us to believe that
belief is black and white.
Belief is relative to the
And when the "observer" is a fallible, imperfect, barely
evolved, naked ape who's prone to be mistaken about a great many
things, belief can be downright blinding.
Cognitive dissonance is merely the discomfort experienced when two
incongruent worldviews clash.
It accounts for our hidden fears, our
willful ignorance, and our tendency to cling to our comfort zone. It
shines a spotlight on our utter inept ability to shine a spotlight.
It's the psychosocial irony of ironies. Indeed...
It reveals that we
are the fly in the ointment.
beauty: clarity, clearness, curiosity, recalibration.
But if we can embrace our cognitive dissonance, if we can reconcile
the discomfort of having been wrong, and if we can correct our
incorrections, a deep clarity overcomes us.
We're suddenly able to
reprogram outdated programming.
An overwhelming relation to
"The only thing I know is
that I know nothing," grips us - balls to bones, ovaries to marrow...
And our mind opens so wide that the only thing that can fit is
"What is above knows what
what is below does not know what is above."
mortality, impermanence, soulbreak.
Existential Angst can be a soul-crippling thing.
Death is a
precipice; one in which we all share a natural fear of "heights."
Our mortality is a slap in the face to our immortal dreams.
our mortal coils like choke chains around our necks, gasping in
sheer terror at the impermanence of all things.
But we ignore it at our own detriment.
The more we repress our
existential angst the uglier it gets.
It festers within, eating away
at our logic and reasoning.
It becomes a blister of suppressed
darkness that mercilessly sucks in love and light.
It makes us ugly
despite the beauty of life.
beauty: honesty, adaptability, fearlessness, love.
Truly waking up to our mortality is allowing death to put life into
This is a double-edged sword that cuts as it heals.
cuts with honesty and truth.
It heals with the same, but a
robustness comes from it, a resilience is born, tantamount to antifragility.
When we shine a light onto our mortal dread,
we make an ally of our
Absolute vulnerability trumps na´ve invulnerability.
transformed into fuel for the fire (fearlessness) of falling in love
with our preciously short life.
Dark Night of
becomes the world."
the existential black hole, ego death, choking on the red pill of
Honestly facing our flaws, our wrongness, and our mortality creates
This void is the place where
our ego goes to die.
before, we naively clung to our beliefs and worldview through sheer
ignorance, now, our innocence is burned away and the existential
black hole opens wide before us, fierce and menacing, and
threatening to consume all meaning.
Here, the egoic perspective is in deep crisis.
The certainties of
life fall apart.
The puzzle becomes terribly more puzzling.
on the 'red pill'... It gets lodged in our throat.
We falsely imagine
that all we need is the 'blue pill' to wash it down.
dies, the soul is being born...
beauty: transcendence, nonattachment, Soul initiation.
When we face our wrongness and our mortality with dignity and honor,
with humor and honesty, with love and appreciation, we discover our
ability to adapt and overcome.
Our ego is baptized by the soul,
becoming a workhorse for selflessness and growth as opposed to
selfishness and comfort.
We transcend egocentric codependence through soulcentric
interdependence. We learn how not to take ourselves too seriously.
For we see how everything is transitory. All things are fleeting.
The be-all-end-all is always beginning and always ending.
learned the wisdom of practicing detachment as a way to remain
connected to everything else.
"Only to the extent that
we can expose ourselves over and over to annihilation
can that which
is indestructible in us be found."
deconstructed invulnerability, meaninglessness, Master's Complex.
The higher we rise in our soulwork, the more meaningless the
This is a crushing truth for a truth seeker. In
our naivete and youthful ignorance, we imagined a universe full of
meaning and purpose.
We imagined a heavenly blueprint and a
loving masterplan. But then we faced our cognitive dissonance and our
mortal dread. We experienced ego-death, and it all came unraveled.
The unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky, magical thinking center simply
could not hold.
We were faced with a decision:
remain stuck in comforting deception
or discover the heartbreaking truth
remain blissfully ignorant or
discover painful knowledge
We chose the latter, and it made all the
Nihilism, ennui, meaninglessness was the price we paid,
but it was a whetstone we honed our souls against and now we are
sharp enough to cut God.
beauty: humor, absolute vulnerability, responsibility, meaning
True awakening is a heartbreaking, soul shattering, meaning crushing
The wise develop a loving sense of humor regarding the
cruelty of the cosmic joke.
They smile though their heart is
They laugh though their soul is trembling.
meaning despite the collapse of meaning.
As Joseph Campbell profoundly stated,
"Suddenly you're ripped into
being alive. And life is pain, and life is suffering, and life is
horror, but my god you're alive and it's spectacular."
it is this spectacular experience that launches us into a state of
reverence for the sharpening of suffering greatly.
Sharpness does not just come to a knife. Luster does not just come
to a pearl. Crystallization does not just come to a diamond.
knife must be tested.
The grit must be rubbed.
The coal must be
Had we not been sharpened, had we not been rubbed, had
we not been pressured by a cruel universe, then all we would have is
grit, coal, and dullness...
But we took the ugliness of our awakening
and we transformed it into the beauty of living a life well-lived...