Master of the Maelstrom

Jake Block



The maelstrom belies the calmness of the waters surrounding it, and its open maw and swirling vortex draws any ship, boat, dinghy or skiff deeper and deeper to its doom.  A whirlpool of danger and hazards that must be avoided and even overcome, if one is to have a chance to survive, much less thrive.  Maelstroms exist in waters and in space, from tidal whirlpools and eddies to massive black holes devouring moons, planets and even stars.  The bravest of captains can go down with his ship, unless he contends with the maelstrom before it’s too late.  Life itself is little more than a calm pool surrounding the maelstroms that threaten us all.
Those on the Left Hand Path must strive to be Masters of the Maelstrom in their lives.  One can’t do this from a position of safety, taking the easy way out in every situation. Often, one’s personal dilemmas must be faced head on, navigating the treacherous currents and obstacles that threaten to scuttle our efforts and control our lives.  It’s not easy.  No, it’s damned hard, and the Master of the Maelstrom must at all times strive to be the best at his craft… that of living life… so that he does more than just survive, but thrive against all odds.
How do we begin to falter and lose control, delivering ourselves, in the end, to the waiting doom in the center of our personal maelstroms?  There are a thousand easy ways to lose control, and each of them presents itself like a pretty package of pleasure or entitlement that we can easily achieve, simply by giving in to the temptations that they offer us to “gain without pain.”  It’s the guy on the corner who offers you drugs with a smile… the first taste is free… it’s NEVER “free.”  It’s the choice you make to ignore education when it’s readily available, opting to spend your youth in idle pursuits, foolishly thinking “there’s always time.”  It’s surrendering your “soul” to addictions, both physical and psychological, rather than mastering urges and cheap sensations with intellect and a commitment to personal excellence.  It’s living on the edge without a plan to get yourself out of trouble as quickly as you got in!
There are those who will say, “there’s nothing wrong with indulgence, as long as it doesn’t become a compulsion.”  In many ways, that its very true, but think about it.  Was there ever a person who said, “I’m going to drink with the goal of being a sloppy drunk alcoholic?”  How many people said, “I’m going to gamble until I lose everything I own and end up with nothing, but I’ll have had a good time?”  You don’t indulge during maelstroms of life.  By the time you reach them, you’ve already committed yourself to at least skirt the edge of oblivion before clawing your way back, hopefully much wiser for the experience.  A wise man once said, If you are ever digging and find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”  It’s a bit of wisdom for those who would be maelstrom masters.  In all things, one must learn the art of moderation and when, if one is failing at moderation, to quit altogether.
Remember that no one in their right mind steers directly towards the maelstrom, but it catches many vessels just the same.  Traveling in that circle, closer and closer with each pass, the ship eventually passes the point of no return.  One must be in the wheelhouse and in control of one’s life, vigilant and alert to watch for signs that something is wrong and take corrective actions to steer his personal vessel out and away, toward safety.  Being the captain of a ship is important, but of great importance are the people you are taking on as your crew for your life’s voyage.  The captains of the Titanic, Lusitania and even the Exxon Valdez can tell you, pay attention to those whose counsel you can trust, but ultimately the choices must be yours, because even the pilot can be asleep at the wheel.

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