Enlightenment and The Wild Beast Within – How To Gain Enlightenment Without Denying The Body
[This article was originally published January 23, 2011 on an external website.]
One vision of enlightenment involves gaining unity with “Cosmic Consciousness” or “God Most High” at the cost of disintegrating the individual personality or “Ego”. In modern Western occult lingo this vision is usually referred to as the Right Hand Path (RHP). The main “competing” vision of enlightenment is predictably referred to as the Left Hand Path (LHP). In the LHP paradigm the idea is to attain personal divinity with the ego transformed but intact. Rather than seeking unity or dissolution into a collective, a traveler on a LHP will seek to become a persistent creative force in the universe; to become a god in their own right. For an example of the difference these concepts make in practice, the RHP will involve eliminating personal preference whereas the LHP practitioner will continue to refine their preferences.
Let us further explore enlightenment by looking at the nature of human existence. Humans are officially classified as a species of “Great Ape.” It is agreed upon by modern science that Humans and the other “Great Apes” (i.e. Gorillas, Chimps, Bonobos and Orangutans) descended from a common ancestor species. In other words, there was one species that all apes, including humans, differentiated themselves from to become separate species. To deny or suppress the wild animal nature is to miss the point of being an animal.
One of the unique attributes of our particular species of ape is the ability to communicate abstract concepts efficiently from one person to another. It is this talent that has been twisted and abused by those who seek to make a domesticated animal out of whole populations of humans in order to keep them tame and pliable. Our domestication by other humans, who have set themselves up as our masters, is one source of the current disharmony we experience within our ecosystems. Reclaiming and strengthening our wild nature is one of the keys we can use to unlock greater personal freedom and responsibility. Of course, this form of development is not mutually exclusive with the development of the so-called “higher faculties” of the mind. Ideally both forms of personal development should proceed hand in hand.
Much of the rejection of our animal nature can be observed in the mainstream religious demonization of the flesh. Is the point or purpose of having a physical body actually to reject or escape from it? According to the Left Hand Path, the task of each individual is to take that which is unique about them and to strengthen and expand those parts of the self. This includes the physical, emotional and mental capacities and potentials, incorporating the animal instincts with the mental faculties and denying neither.