Mama take this badge from off of me
I can't use it anymore
It's getting dark, too dark to see
I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door
Mama bury my guns down in the ground
I can't use them anymore
That long black cloud is comin' down
I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door
I see a time approaching of mass ego dead. It’s been with me for a while now – deep down inside of me. Like a piercing light in the darkness – savage and extreme and yet “our only hope”. I cannot express in words the intensity of this mental collapse as communicated by Sandy Denny’s voice in her interpretation of the Bob Dylan song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. But I feel it vibrating through me every time I listen to it.
It is something like the unbearable tension of a whole worldview, a whole mental machinery, a whole pile of spiritual battlements … just crashing down – and you can’t – you just can’t do it all anymore. Put it away. I am done. I am nothing – it is all done. Take it away from me. It “is getting too dark to see”.
This is the real meaning of conversion. The old name for a nervous breakdown – St Paul on the road to Damascus flattened by the light of God. St Augustine reeling around on the ground in the orchard – tossed around like a speck of dust – “Don’t you see who I am”.
Our whole civilization – the conflagration of 1000 concrete cities – burning to the ground and we look on with an anguish devastating enough to extinguish our souls in a flicker of the flames. Billions of people – suffering… What shall we call it? Let’s call it ego death.
“I cannot use them anymore” – everything that was has come to nothing – everything I believed in -everything I possessed – all my fucking worldly power. It has come to this. Nothing at all. “That long black cloud is coming down”.
Ego death is a man tossing himself around, screaming in pain, raging tears, and maddened eyes. Worse than the worst grief – the grief for the death of the self itself. Only then do you see God.
This is the real meaning of the coming crash, the final collapse. What we know is coming but just cannot face it – see it – feel it. Like the sun burning through our eyes – we turn away each day and yet it never goes away.
In my thirties, something terrible happened to me – to my ego. For six months I woke up every morning and after a second of consciousness: BANG - a total incomprehension, “Why I am still alive” – such was the extremity of my utter self-contempt. What had happened was terrible but something much deeper was going on. I was unbearably disgusted with the very essence of myself – by my very being. And since then I am no longer attached to this thing Roger Hallam – I just can’t quite take it seriously – I am in some fundamental way on the other side of all that. This is the source of my strength, such as it is.
This is probably why I am periodically overcome with this vision of mass spiritual collapse when humanity realizes the extent to which it has fucked up – the violent stupidity of its arrogance: all the “us and them”, to the death, the endless slaughter and plunder – it’s utter utter wrongness. The infinite pain of infinite failure.
“Bury my guns down in the ground”.
Only when we come out on the other side of all this can we build the new civilization – when the whole nightmare edifice is dead and gone – and we finally see that the only thing left standing is Love – the storyline of an eternity of fireside tales: “and then he saw the light”
The oldest story of all is true after all – God is looking over us, waiting patiently with love for us to crash and burn. Only then do we look up, not to see a meteorite, no material thing - but to see the glory of what we truly are – Spirits of Love – in communion with the one Love - God. With what is. All there is. All there was and all there will ever be.
Only then can we build again– and finally receive the grace to knock on Heaven’s door.
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