On Adulthood

It is in Awareness that all questions arise and it is in Awareness that the answers are discovered. No matter what questions are posed and answers sought, the ultimate mystery is the mystery of Awareness itself.”

If you are reading this (assuming that the reading is not taking place in some far distant time from when these words were written), you most likely are a human being, a complex lifeform conceived on the planet known as Earth through the fusion of egg and sperm cells belonging to a pair of human beings that became your parents, causing a chain reaction of embryonic cell division and replication that led to the formation of a human child.

Now it is not actually correct to say that you “are” a human being. This is actually quite far from the truth. But it is correct to say that you identify with and employ the body through which you are able to perceive the world in which this reading is taking place, although you already may have some inkling of your greater potential.

After being “born” in this world, you were not immediately able to perceive this world in the terms that are now familiar to you. This method of perception had to be learned, and, in fact, your Awareness had to be gradually attuned to the perceptual mechanisms of the human body in order to operate it properly.

The body grows, and simultaneously, the associated Awareness becomes accustomed to it. Your parents teach both directly and indirectly – for a child soaks in every perception, and every action observed is a lesson, even if it is not intended to be.

The affinity with this body increases rapidly until the basic functions become essentially automatic. Then a miracle occurs. This is the miracle of language and speech, of communication and confusion.

You are told that you have a certain name and identity, and that this body that you are learning to embrace is “you”. There is no one to contradict this assertion, and eventually you accept it as true. The moment you accept this so-called “truth” is when the confusion begins.

Learning to operate the image-and-meaning making function that results from the affinity of your Awareness to the human body, you associate symbols and sounds with meanings. You begin to reflect, to anticipate and to remember, and you eventually accept these functions as “your” mind.

This acceptance seals your fate, From then on, you are “this body”, “this person”, and nothing more. But, what else could have happened? This is entirely Natural, and practically inevitable. However, this identification is only a phase, a phase that we rarely outgrow before this life comes to an end.

Having accepted the body as yourself, you learn, grow, accrue experiences, and eventually reach adolescence. If you are old enough to reflect on adolescence, you may recognize the inexorable movement of one’s life from childhood to so-called adulthood.

The biology has a mind of its own, different strengths and weaknesses, different basic parameters. In puberty, the parameters shift, inducing the transformation of the child into the teenager, with different concerns and undeniable urges. This is all designed to insure the survival and genetic diversity of the species, and the majority of human beings mate, have children and form family bonds.

Part of this process consists of the displacement of identity during adolescence, the biological changes corresponding to a shift in attitude, expression and beliefs. These changes eventually settle, leaving the individual with a relatively fixed personality that is called an “adult” personality.

But this so-called adulthood, what is its drive, where is its genetic imperative? Firstly it is to teach the young, to insure their safety and to allow them to continue the cycle. However, for the individual, this is simply a dead end. Surely this is a worthy cause, but is it all there is to adulthood? Is it any wonder that depression, despair, nihilism, familial strife, and suicide are commonplace?

Set aside, for a moment, the influence of the functional integrity or decrepitude of the associated society, that is certainly a large issue, but it is not what we are discussing here.

Even if human society was a perfect utopia, these problems would appear, because they are symptoms of failing to reach adulthood. They point to the potential furtherance of the evolution of the individual human being into something more.

The sorrow and longing of the individual who seems to have reached a “dead end” in life, despite the fulfilling parts of the life experience, are symptoms of adulthood, just as much as the emergence of sexual urges are symptoms of adolescence.

Why is this? Because the individual who has reached what is called “adulthood” has either fulfilled their biological imperative, or has not fulfilled it. Either way, that part of their life is essentially over. However, human beings often spend the rest of their lives either recapitulating or attempting to recapture the spark of adolescence.

We stay concerned with the same adolescent concerns, and spin the wheel over and over again, all the while getting older. The degenerate society at large, of course, heavily supports this type of activity. The engines of commerce practically run on this alone, entrapping us in endless material desires, all serving to prop up the adolescent ego. Those who define and propagate our culture are either simply unwitting participants in this vicious cycle, or, much worse, they employ it as a means of control.

Many societies recognized another stage of life, a true adulthood, and this is why the elder members of our race were treated with respect and were venerated in those cultures. It is not simply the recognition of knowledge and experience that brought about this respect for the aged, it is something more, a recognition of what is called wisdom.

Wisdom is adulthood, and few of us find it. Instead we have nursing and retirement homes, places where overgrown adolescents can end their lives, never reaching this state of wisdom, or we have viagra and plastic surgery, scientific means to extend the adolescent state.

What is adulthood? It is moving beyond adolescence, not prolonging it. The deep self-absorption and self-identification that naturally comes from childhood and adolescence supports the perpetuation of the species and it defines the individual in necessary ways. After this, it is no longer valuable, and is in fact nothing more than a skin to be shed.

The adult is one who discovers what they truly are and lives that truth. Human beings rarely reach adulthood, and those phenomenal individuals in the past who have done so tend to loom large on the canvas of history, being known as leaders, prophets, saints, gurus, and even as infamous scoundrels and fiends.

Integralism can be defined as the deliberate activity of seeking adulthood, both in the individual and the tribe.

Of course, there is no conflict whatsoever between Integralism and family life. Humanity could certainly use more Integralist parents, for children benefit greatly from this. Integralists simply reject the notion that adulthood is nothing more than the aftermath of adolescence.

The trick is that adulthood is a particular state of being, one based in a new Consciousness beyond the adolescent experience. There is no “obvious” biological trigger for achieving this condition as there is for moving from childhood to adulthood.

However, there is one condition that induces the individual to seek adulthood. This is the recognition that one’s life will eventually come to an end: the Awareness of death. Our bodies sense this, the body knows that it will one day cease to function. The melancholy common to middle age is simply a symptom of this recognition, whether conscious or not.

Furthermore, there is recognition of one’s achievements and mistakes, one’s flaws and strengths, as well as desire to improve. Everyone feels this desire, even if they do not act on it. We are simply caught between desire and pleasure, fear and pain, those salient principles of adolescence, and cannot find a way to move beyond them.

This is one of the key purposes of Integralism, to take the individual that is willing to move beyond what they were, and to help them to become what they truly are, to break the mold that has hardened around their Awareness.

For, as mentioned before, it is not true to say that you are “so-and-so” from “such-and-such” birthplace, this is far from correct, but it was, for a time, a convenient and necessary fiction, being at times pleasant, and at times horrific, but, either way, simply a part of the process of life. The Integralist celebrates their origin, while also achieving a greater perspective.

The key factor of existing is to be aware that one exists. What we are is aware. But what is Awareness? Why does it exist? Who are we really? These questions lead us into adulthood.

Addressing this question has generally been the practice of a select few, and this is no accident, for there is nothing worse than fending off hordes of overgrown adolescents who avoid anything that may threaten their deeply ingrained sense of identity. Society is a mob, a mob of irrational teenagers, and those who seek to move beyond this and reach the state of adulthood are usually a vast minority.

The mystery schools of antiquity, the genuine practices of religion, as well as the spiritual and metaphysical practices of the present day, are simply diverse means of facilitating the search for adulthood.

The practice of Integral Initiation is a particular method of breaking free from the blind fixation of Cognition that is characteristic of the human condition, in order to achieve a greater form of understanding through the consequent expansion of Awareness.

As the teenager is latent within the child, the true adult is latent in the teenager, and what you are is what you have always been, it needs only be made manifest.

The only security against imminent mortality is to become mature, to be what you are in full Awareness and confidence. This is the security that comes from finding and knowing oneself beyond all doubt or opinion, of reaching the totality of oneself, the full spectrum of what you are capable of being, and what you truly are. For what you are is beyond the limits of the world you think you know.

Are you afraid, or uncertain? Then you are moving in the right direction.

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