Inner alchemy is the art of creating a fulfilled life that encompasses, unites and transcends all the polarities within the Self. This state of unified wholeness requires several steps to achieve.
The first stage involves the breakdown and dissolution of our current state of being. Truthfully, we are always in a state of wholeness, as we are always all that we are. At issue is the state of balance our wholeness is in.
For example, suffering a painful backache could be a displaced psychosomatic exchange for repressed feelings of sadness. Here, balance is achieved through the experience of emotional pain converted to physical pain.
Caroline Elliot’s Existential Kink playfully explores the many personality kinks hidden in the shadow of the self, which serve to balance the dominance of one-sided conscious attitudes. I recommend exploring her work to reveal the kinks that might be disrupting personal balance.
The current state of our world reflects extremely volatile states of balance that are serving the breakdown and dissolution of the world as we have known it. The primary elements of fire, water, earth and air are all engaged in environmental extremes that are insisting upon a new way of living that can usher in a sustainable balance. This breakdown of what has been is the essential first step toward new life.
Inwardly, breakdown of the ruling attitude in the psyche is the essential first step to new life. Often this can take the form of an immobilizing depression that refuses to fund our ability to experience ourselves, and life, in our familiar comfort zone. Such a withdrawal of life energy prompts the need for a soul retrieval; that is, a journey into the unconscious to discover and recover unknown or lost parts of the self, the building blocks for new life.
The second stage in the art of wholeness is the untangling and separation of opposites within the self. This is the stage of know thyself, with detachment; that is, not identifying with a one-sided feeling, attitude or judgment that precludes a broader inclusion of all parts of self.
The separation phase is dramatically reflected in the absolute polarization of citizens throughout the world into black and white one-sided attitudes. This stage of separation is still heavily intertwined with the breakdown phase, as people are blinded by projections that would have them resolve imbalance through the elimination of those who oppose them. This was Hitler’s final solution to the challenge of opposition.
Inwardly, this state of separation can result in a state of mental cruelty, with negative critical thinking constantly judging and putting the self down. Nonetheless, if one can hone this reflective impetus into objective introspection, one can arrive at a state of clarity that prepares the way for new union.
Dispassionate knowing and acceptance of the truth offer preparation for a new union of elements within the self, the third stage, in which a new worldview or ruling attitude achieves a durable balance.
This stage is represented symbolically in the conjugal union of the opposites of man and woman. The mixture of these elements will ultimately result in the creation of a child, which presents a life that has incorporated the opposites of its parents into its own unique wholeness. As I discussed in my blog last week, a child in dreams often reflects this alchemy within, seeking to find its way to birth into life.
Hold the perspective that the chaos and separation both within and without are necessary stages in the art of wholeness. Ancient alchemists performed their operations within a sealed retort, allowing the contained energies themselves to facilitate the process of transformation.
In our day and age, containment socially would mean not engaging in heated interchange, but striving to arrive at detachment and truth within.
Similarly, containment within is best served through detachment from mental cruelty, as the point is to transform the old attitudes and thoughts into a newly sincere commitment to know and serve only the truth.