Hey. It’s been awhile. The world is still seemingly in shambles and, along with it, so is the community. There’s so much petty infighting and drama and respectability politics it’s dizzying and probably despair-inducing to a lot of people.
Where should new members go? What should they do, what should they think? What place do old members with varying opinions have, and what should they do about the wildly-changing climate of existence at large?
The answer has been in “experience-based identity” all along. But that answer has raised hackles and started fights about legitimacy and validity and who belongs and who doesn’t, and can start to look like circular logic after awhile.
But the thing is, at least in my experience, people get into all this not really knowing anything about themselves and the way they work and what makes them tick. They dive right into the community and engaging based on one potential facet of existence that often gets detached from other aspects of one’s life before and after Awakening.
So what should anyone do about this? What CAN be done?
Just study everything outside the community that could be related or useful in some way. Do not bother with worrying about being X-kin or Y-hearted or whatever else. Analyze yourself and the way your brain and body work without a goal of labeling, only identifying objectively. Figure out how you relate to your environment, to stories, to others, to yourself. Get really into biology, psychology, history, metaphysics, comparative religion, and especially metacognition. Mix it all up, add it all together, apply it to everything in every way and learn, learn, learn.
Question the shit out of everything, even if it seems like the answer is obvious. Is it really? Why do you say so? Really dig at the roots of your belief and understanding of everything about this world and yourself and where it all comes from. Look inside. Look outside. Become really intimately familiar with how the inside of your own head works. (Let me tell you from experience, this is really helpful at shutting down those annoying folks who insist mental illness is inherently contradictory to being Other of any sort. If you know how your brain works, if you can actually identify what’s a delusion or distorted thought and where they apply. It’s not only good for you but also helps cut down on needless worry. Not all delusions are influenced by belief, and they’re sure as hell not guaranteed to overlap.)
By the time you’ve learned this, really learned it and know yourself intimately well enough to be okay with mistakes and confusion and repressed concepts and untangling the mess of human upbringing, if you’re anything like a lot of the people who have gone really deep into soul-searching and dredging up all the social and spiritual and psychological muck during this seemingly-eternal period of isolation, the “community” as such might not look so appealing. You’ll still probably benefit from articles and various guides and such, but you’ll have a grounding in yourself you will be able to utilize more effectively in learning what terms best apply to you.
That’s what this was always supposed to be about: understanding yourself and your existence. How can an identity be experience-based if you can’t even identify those experiences? How can you expect anyone to be okay with not being Other if anything besides singlet-oriented involuntary identity is demonized and talked down rather than understood as part of a sense of self, or multiple selves?
People put so much emphasis on weeding out the wannabes, the fakers, the “kinnies”, the trolls, that they ended up running out and alienating an awful lot of people. The focus was put on everyone and everything but the people who needed help the most, and that “help” was often a PR agenda disguised as a necessity.
So I’m here to say: help yourself. Figure out who YOU are. You’ll never know what labels to use or not use if you’re not even sure where you’d put them. Personal integrity and honesty are the only measures that matter. If all you want deep down inside is social media fame or superficial acceptance, all the guides in the world can’t help you. You get out what you put in, and I know I’d much rather have the knowledge that I put in the work on myself and will continue to do so than have any label in the world.