Considering the duality of spiritual paths
Benefits are found in both the Right and Left hand path’s of spirituality, but often people are unaware of the terminology itself. Notably those in the righthand path are often clueless to the term. To put it simply (TL;DR) the Left Hand Path seeks to enrich the Individual self (either psychologically, spiritually or both), while the Right Hand Path seeks union with a Higher order. Ironically, having been on both sides of this spiritual quest, I have come to determine that both are valid and ultimately both are used. This is of course, my personal bias.
What is the left hand path spirituality?
The Left Hand Path is a philosophy that rejects notions of balance and harmony. At least from the standpoint of harmony bringing .others into a collective or unity. While the idea presented may be debated, this is certainly the case of most left hand path modalities that prefer individualism vs. collectivism. The LHP (Left Hand Path) often rejects the idea of good and evil, or at least challenges the traditional references. Notably this is depicted in the work, Lords of the Left Hand Path, where evil itself is noted as a root goal. Instead, the LHP relies on the idea of duality in order to structure itself. As a result, this path challenges tradition and authority on the basis that they are inherently oppressive. Often, this is referred to as the stage of antinomianism. In essence, this philosophy values the individual over all else.
Left hand path often has a connection to esoteric things such as Satanism or black magic – consider reading Black Magic by Michael Aquino for more information. Even this is controversial as many groups today consider the idea of Satan as a metaphor for the rugged individual, while some accept the character as a real entity. Regardless of metaphor or worshipful force, the one thing all Left Hand Path modalities have in common is the notion of Individuality, and self sovereignty.
How to find your true self?
The spiritual aspects of the Left Hand Path (rather than the psychological variations), seek out a higher form of Self. A True Self. Examples of this can be found in Don Webb’s work, Uncle Seknakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, which gives a glimpse into his perspective of a spiritual quest through seeking the Individualized Self.
Western religions do not typically seek to identify the Self. They often assume the individual is already identified as the body-mind construct. Ironic, as they believe in a soul that is beyond this construct, yet seem uninterested in discovering anything regarding it. To the average Western spiritual path, self discovery is a waste of time. Instead they seek a union with the Divine – or servitude to an external force (i.e. God), that amounts to annihilation of one’s Individual will.
The LHP seeks to illuminate the True Self, often rejecting or rebelling against any idea of Divine authority. How can one find the Self if one is subservient to a guru, dogma, master or deity? This question drives the LHP occultist and mystic to seek truth in their own way, on their own terms.
What are the draw-backs of Left Hand Path spirituality?
Most importantly, any teacher, dogma or guru that expresses a person should violate the law or the rights of others is doing a disservice to a spiritual seeker. This has, at times, crept into the LHP systems.
Notably, the fascination with “evil,” as described in the writings of Dr. Flowers, can raise an eyebrow. While often metaphor, or drama, the fascination with Lovecraft, and war criminals can lead membership into thinking this is behavior to be imitated, not rejected. Defenders of Dr. Flowers will point to various essays that are hidden away in the internet to help unlock his views with context. Sadly, if one has to delve deep into outside sources, in order understand what “really is meant,” by a reference to praising evil lords and ladies, then the message is too muddy to be in print.
Other groups have presented the case of murder, crime and acts of violence to be a way of connecting to the Left Hand Path. Preoccupation with politics, physicality and rage takes away from the spiritual. This is the effect of the mundane attempting to follow a path of expansion.
Either one expands, or one contracts. One moves outward spiritually or inward physically. Our activity towards the skin of experience limits us, while our expansion outward expands our horizon into a greater concept of Self. Exactly what is the Self? More on that in a bit… For now, it’s time to contrast this with the Right Hand Path of spirituality.
What is Right Hand Path spirituality?
Those in Right Hand Path (RHP) religions often are unaware of the term. It was the LHP initiates who defined the RHP itself, in order to give their own path meaning. “We are not like them,” they said pointing at modern religion, “we’re different. They are Right Hand Path and we are Left Hand Path.” From their point of view, right hand path spirituality could be described as an attempt to harmonize external existence with human spiritual needs. This type of spirituality is characterized by the use of intuition, personal experience and seeking knowledge in an active way (through dogma, and teachers.)
A core feature of the RHP is the goal of union and cooperation with spiritual greatness. A divine being is called upon, worshipped and idolized. For some religions the idea of becoming one with the divine is the key driving force towards spiritual evolution. To get an idea of Oneness, you could read a works of Osho, Eckart Tolle, or Yogananda. Those are all Eastern influenced writers, so what of Abrahamic faiths such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism?
The Abrahamic faiths are also considered Right Hand Path as they insist upon an adherence to a central creed, which creates a doctrine of oneness in itself. There is no free thinking in the Abrahamic faiths. Consider the story of Satan falling from heaven, his fault was in thinking contrary to the will of God.
What are the draw-backs of Right Hand Path spirituality?
The issue I take with most religions, especially Western ones, is the literalism put upon the dogma. “We come in peace,” says the Christian, while holding a sword dripping in blood. The Christian bible can be used to defend almost every atrocity, or any beneficial act of compassion. It’s up to the reader to decide what to pick.
If a reader wants to believe God wants their country to mass murder their enemies, they simply read aloud Numbers 31. Numbers 31 graphically details Moses’ orders from God to kill every man, woman and child. Yes even the children. Moses gets irate when the solders refused to kill the women and children, so he forces them to put each to the sword.
If one wishes to protest feeding the homeless, they quote Paul in 2nd Thessalonians, Chapter 3, “…if a man doesn’t work neither shall he eat.” Interestingly enough, other Christians disobey those very same laws, feeding the homeless and quoting Jesus in Matthew 25, which states that when one feeds the “least of these” it is as though they do it unto God himself.
Dogma as literal truth becomes a significant problem. One no longer thinks for themselves. They become soldiers who kill for their faith, willing to butcher for their faith. They say they are “pro life,” while they murder the children of their enemies. They say they are “pro love,” while they hate foreigners in their lands.
The Middle Path
When I was on the Left Hand Path, I thought the idea of combining the Left and Right Hand Paths to be folly. Today I understand it a bit better. This of course is my bias so it should be read and contemplated, not obeyed.
Individual and Unity
Both individuality and unity must be sought.
At first it seems a contradiction, but there is a reasoning to be had. Let’s start with a short discussion to the idea of Self.
What is the Self? If the Self is only the body, or only the brain, then once that dies, so does the Self. If you believe that, then no more discussion can be had. If you believe there is a persistent thing that moves beyond the body, then we can continue.
If you seek proof of this experience, I would encourage you to explore astral projection, and other non-corporeal senses. Psychism in different modalities can prove to a person that there is data to be gleamed outside the physical means alone.
If the Self exists outside the body, then where is its greatness? Is it greater in body or out of body? This requires meditation on the part of the aspirant. For me, I discovered that my greatest nature was in my greatest form of expansion. This soul/mind/essence as it expands from the body it grows in power. It has more vision, and more accumulated power.
I consider Don Webb’s view of Daemon to be of interest. He views the Daemon as the most expansive form of Self. Without much description, he only talks of it as the power center of the Individual. My personal experiences attest this to be the truth. Socrates also referenced the Daemon (Higher Self) to be seat of greatest wisdom.
The individual Self expands to fill one’s personal universe. What Buddhist’s would call the emptiness. What Michael Aquino refers to (in his LHP modality) as the Subjective Universe. This is a personal universe as vast as all existence, but it is yours… and mine is mine. Each of us fills it out with our essence, and essence unknown but called the soul or Self, or even The Holy Guardian Angel.
That’s the LHP take on spirituality. The goal is to find our true nature, our True Self.
Unity is required to understand the Self. Everything within our subjective universe (LHP terminology) must be understood and it is understood by becoming it. We have a copy of everything within our own expanded Self. Becoming everything, is to become One with All – a RHP modality.
What we are becoming one with, is our True Nature.
Get it? Both are needed. Unity and Individuality.
Humility as an Example
While the LHP enthusiast will spit at the notion of humility, it is a great example of union and individuality. To become the True Self, one must disengage with the False Self. The False Self is that mundane part of us that live sin the physicality of life. The illusionary life.
I’m not suggesting we ignore life, but we put it in perspective. We put as much attention on our spiritual direction as our physical. To move our vision to the spiritual, we have to let go of the physical focus, at least for the moment.
Humility is a great process to help detangle from the physical. Becoming humble destroys the hold of ego (the self identified with the body), and pulls us outward. Combine this with the intention of Self discovery and we have a winning combination.
Humility and Intention of Self Discovery, these together direct the path of the aspirant to great expansive forms of Self.
If you take on the RHP alone, you might become a mindless follower. If you take the LHP alone, you might become an overt materialist/hedonist.
Both paths have value in their thinking process. Becoming an individual is the goal. But to do so we must forge a unity with the True Self. This is no easy task. It requires decoupling from the mundane mind. The more one invests in ego, fear, hate, lust, and power, the more one falls back to the mundane.
A balance made between the RHP and LHP can become the catalyst for spiritual empowerment – seeking the Self through unity of all things it is (which is All things.)