Growing up in the evangelical world, a central lesson I learned about reality was that there were necessary and normative divisions. These divisions began at the moment of creation itself: God separating light from dark, land from water, sky from earth, and, most relevant to me, woman from man. The first 27 verses of the book of Genesis describe this process of creation by way of division, from an earth “formless and void.”
As a gay child, I was raised to believe that the sin of my homosexuality blurred these foundational distinctions established at the dawn of time. Homosexuality, by its very nature, violated the metaphysics of man and woman. It was therefore understood as an act of Uncreation: a terrifying unraveling of the created order, a returning to an earth formless and void.
I can’t stop thinking about this myth now that I am delving more deeply into my meditation practice.
Like the Biblical creation narrative, our conscious experience is made up of arbitrary boundaries: within the body and outside the body, me and not me, us and them, eyes closed and eyes opened. Upon further examination by way of meditation, these experiences start to break down. When our eyes are open, we perceive the world, when our eyes are closed, the lights are off and we see nothing. But this is false: our visual field is still active, and we see just as much with eyes closed as with eyes open. We locate our sense of self in the body, while we perceive the world outside our body. But this too is a trick played by our brains. All thoughts, experiences, perceptions, and sensations are taking place alongside each other within the single sphere of our consciousness. The experience of having a body is appearing within consciousness right alongside the experience of the world and other selves being outside our bodies. Most dramatic of all, examination reveals the self to be an illusion — a construction of the mind that vanishes when examined.
To meditate on the nature of consciousness is to go through a disturbing undoing of all our divisions. It is a rapid reversal of the creation myth, plummeting us back into an earth — a consciousness — formless and void. By way of meditation, the divisions between me and you, inner and outer, us and them, self and no self, are all exposed as illusions.
As I experiment with incorporating meditation into my Satanic practice, I can’t help but feel that this act of meditative uncreation and dissolving boundaries within consciousness is fundamentally Satanic, anti-hegemonic, anti-racist, and anti-bigotry. In the same way the mythic Satan trespasses the boundaries of paradise and commences the metaphysical uncreation of reality, meditation dissolves boundaries between us and them, inner and outer, self and no-self. This might be one of the attributes of Satan that most terrifies fundamentalists: the symbol of Satan, by his nature, exposes the instability of binaries and hegemonic divisions. As S. Jonathan O’Donnell explains in their book Passing Orders:
Yet it is Paradise’s continuity that is threatened by the trespassing of this passing figure. Satan traverses its borders and adopts the semblance of its occupants, unfixing its fixity. Rather than merely figuring the Devil’s internal anxiety over celestial permanence, his capacity to pass into it and as its residents exposes a deeper anxiety about the possibility of such permanence, revealing eternity to be itself unstable and transient, exposing Paradise’s imbrication in what Brown called the “tremulousness, vulnerability, dubiousness and instability” of (nation-state) sovereignty that a need for walls represents—not sovereignty’s “resurgent expression” but “icons of its erosion.
While O’Donnell’s analysis is mostly applied to nations and cultures and how “demonized minorities” interact with those structures, I think their words here rhyme with the experience of consciousness and meditation as well. To meditate deeply on the nature of cosmos and consciousness is to become a Satan, trespassing the borders of Paradise and beholding the arbitrary divisions of consciousness and society and, at least for only a moment, return to an earth formless and void.
But that’s just me. What do you think? Please leave a comment below or write me an email. I love hearing back from my audience.
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