The Farther Left You Go
by Jake Block
It’s been my experience that the farther you go on the Left-Hand Path, the less you are likely to be involved in some of the sideshow activities that people newly set on the path seem to engage in. Perhaps it might be a function of maturity, or it might just be a realization that certain modalities are counter to the path one feels will take them most directly to the place they wish to be.
Time, in my estimation, is a deciding factor in what we engage in and what we leave behind. When we are in our youth and we look at the hourglass of our life, the grains of sand flowing through the narrowing of the glass’ center divide to the small pile of sand below are less important to us than they are when the pile is larger and the upper chamber’s supply is dwindling and precariously low. When that vision is always in the back of your mind, you know that there is only a short span of time left for you to finish the race, and the tasks that are left for you to perform. It is at this time that you need to conserve, concentrate and carry on, because the one thing that you have no control over is time.
External distractions and dramas are often unavoidable, if they arise from the day to day stressors of family dynamics, personal economy, medical conditions, etc. These are the obstacles and pitfalls that are taken into account when we begin the race, and we simply have to find a way to navigate them while running the best race we can. Nobody said that the path you took to the left was ever going to be easy. So many have already failed that have gone before, and you must strive to best the obstacles that felled them while their bones lay scattered around you. Working your hardest, you hardly notice the ball and chain.
The Left-Hand Path is a path full of tests and adversaries with which you must contend. In your mind, you’re prepared, because you’ve read Nietzsche, Campbell, Jung and LaVey. The books on your shelf are well worn and dog-eared. Crowley, Sun Tzu, Gurdjeiff, Blavatski, LeRoy and hell, maybe even a few quotes from Block fill your head as you strike out on your measured pace to the end of the path. You’ve plotted your course and you are on your way, but the odds are “dollars to donuts” that in a very short time, something or someone is going to try to lure you off of that path with a battle to fight or a request to help someone over a wall that’s in his way.
Now, consider that that same wall is in YOUR way as well, when you stop your race to assist someone else. Make sure that it’s worth it. Even the shortest detour takes time, and there are enough of your own tasks to complete on the Left-Hand Path, that you should always ask the question, “Cui bono?” Who stands to gain from your expenditure of time and effort? If you can’t find a legitimate way to benefit and indeed advance, then consider if it’s worth your time and effort to deviate. If not, stay the course. Race on!
Adversaries along the path are strategically put there to test your skills and your resolve, so do what you are prepared to do and continue the race. But there will always be one persistent adversary that detains you time and time again, knocking you down and daring you to get up and face him again. This is Adversary One, and you will never see him coming unless you take a good, hard look in the mirror to see just who it is that is holding you back on the path. In 1972, cartoonist Walt Kelly, in his comic strip POGO coined the phrase, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Like Don Quixote in the book by Miguel de Cervantes, we spend most of our warring years tilting at windmills. That is to say we fight the imaginary enemies that amass in our heads and oppose us. We spend so much time in fighting these enemies that we lose sight of our goals and become ineffective. When we are the enemy, we cannot prevail! Learn to avoid the internal conflicts by being brutally honest with yourself and making corrections to your way of thinking and expected outcomes. Don’t dwell on decisions made and battles that went badly. You survived them. The past will hold you back and what’s done is done. Move on.
To be honest with you, the race itself was probably never meant to be won, simply because no matter how much you learn along the way, no matter how many complex problems you have solved, and no matter how many adversaries you have bested, there’s still more to come. There always will be, but even knowing that, we can’t give up, because it all means that there is also more to learn and more to know! So make haste. Conserve, concentrate and carry on, because the sands keep flowing through the hourglass, and the pile at the bottom is much larger than the remaining supply at the top.
You know that there is only a short span of time left for you to finish the race, even it it is only a race with yourself. It’s then that you realize you just don’t need that ball and chain.