When I look back at my journey as a Reluctant Metaphysician, it seems as though my life, along with others, has served as a dedication to the re-enchantment of the cosmos. Has some wider force than myself used my life as an example to show me, and others, how to re-sacralize the body, the world of dreams, human posture and movements, nature, and our relationship to the universe itself? It certainly seems as though some cosmic trickster picked the most unlikely person, ensconced in the world of rationality, to illustrate metaphysical lessons about the world behind the world. (Or, maybe not so unlikely of a choice, this Being wisely chose a person who could tell a good honest story and make a cogent argument for a good cause.) Regardless, this trickster deity abducted a person like me and filled my life with incredible, metaphysical, and synchronistic stories in order to say, “If it could happen to a sceptic like him, it could happen to you.”
Richard Tarnas, a prolific metaphysician, encapsulates this view of an enchanted relationship to the cosmos through his “Two Suitors Parable.” To compare the disenchanted mechanistic universe of modern cosmology to the view of the enchanted cosmos, he poses a thought experiment and asks that you imagine that you are the universe,
Would you open most deeply to the suitor… who approached you as though you were essentially lacking in intelligence of purpose, as though you had no interior dimension to speak of, no spiritual capacity or value; who thus saw you as fundamentally inferior to himself…; who related to you as though your existence were valuable primarily to the extent that he could develop and exploit your resources to satisfy his various needs, and whose motivation for knowing you was ultimately driven by a desire for increased intellectual mastery, predictive certainty and efficient control of you for his own self-enhancement? Or would you, the cosmos, open your self most deeply to that suitor who viewed you as being at least as intelligent and noble as worthy a being as permeated with mind and soul, as imbued with moral aspiration and purpose, as endowed with spiritual depths and mystery as he? To whom would you reveal your deepest truths (Tarnas, 2007, p. 39)?
When we view the events of life with a symbolic eye, metaphysical teachings of the cosmos are transmitted, synchronicities seem to increase, and a re-animism of life takes place. If the most rational among us just acts as if the universe is enchanted and meaningful, that “creative Being” may kiss us on our eyes and touch our hearts—the cosmos can become our lover and soul mate.
The initiation into the pathway of the Reluctant Metpahysician can come from a career change, an upsetting external event, a serious illness, a painful breakup, or an unravelling culture. Each of these can serve as an invitation to enter a deeper world behind the world. Places in nature, people we meet, our dream life, and visions we have can all help us to “trance-form” our life stance.
To see the particular stories of my journey as a Reluctant Metaphysician, please see the book. To see a summary of some of those tales see the list of Personal Stories.