With “The Dark Tower” finally adapted to the big screen, I’m at once feeling excited and also hipsterish about the whole thing: excited because they seem to have done it in a way that won’t result in distillation from Stephen King’s series; hipsterish because now what was a very specific, cult fandom of which I was a part is now going to go mainstream, along with all of those little shibboleths that made me feel a special kind tribal belonging. Still, I suppose it’ll be just like the Marvel movies, with a whole new audience joining the party and losing themselves in King’s luridly dark world. That can only be a good thing.
Maybe it’s because of all of this anticipation over the movie that the Path of the Beam has returned to my awareness. I blogged about this years ago, my shameless appropriation of King’s fantastical concept – beams of energy that connect all worlds to the Dark Tower, and which have manifestations in each world that, if you seek them out in the physical environment around you, you’ll be able to find and follow – to conceptualize the Law of Attraction, and how to surrender to the Universe.
It’s an imperfect metaphor, to be sure, but this year in particular, I have been exploring and evolving my spiritual beliefs and outlook on reality. While this is an inquiry that will likely never stop (nor should it ever stop), it has taken me on something of a rolling, winding drive, taking me as low as straight up skepticism and empiricism, and now back up to a very strange notion: that there is a greater power that has a destiny for each of us, and our best case scenario is to surrender to that power, no matter where it takes us, even if it takes us to places that aren’t necessarily the happiest, comfortable, or what we think we want.
Through my friend Christine Forde, I learned of Maru Iabichela, a spiritual coach who has created techniques for connecting with the Universe that, I feel, reflect the reality of who I am and what I actually need versus what I think I should have. Though I’m early in testing these myself, by using her techniques, I’ve so far discovered that I can somehow draw to myself a flow of events in physical reality that lead me to opportunities, breakthroughs, and just vivid experiences of life.
This morning, while doing some of Maru’s journalling exercises on Burlington Beach, the oddest thought occurred to me: we are the Universe’s playthings. Exploring this further in my journalling, I found myself writing the following: “if toys are designed for play, then what are they when they sit (unused) in a toy box? Humans are toys with a choice: let the higher intelligence play with you, and fulfill your deterministic destiny as a toy of the gods; or assert your own will, maybe have a good self-made life, but never as fulfilling as the one being offered by destiny.”
Surely, this is not new philosophical territory, so make no mistake: I’m not claiming this to be the invention of some new branch of philosophical determinism, nor am I denying that maybe somewhere along the line, most likely at university, I internalized this idea from other established philosophers and schools of thought.
What I am saying is that, this morning, writing out these lines in my journal, the words felt like they were new, or at least, new to me.
What if the easiest way to what we want is exactly as religious authorities, New Age leaders and channellers such as Abraham Hicks, and others have said: surrender, and allowing yourself to be an instrument of a higher force will bring you everything that you need?
What if the notion of free will, as important as it has been to the social and political institutions of the west, and western democracies in particular, is the lesser of the options for true fulfillment? What if we’re wrong to think we can do it all ourselves?
Maybe people are picking up on that, slowly coming into the awareness that maybe trying to do this all ourselves – of denying even the existence of such forces, let alone the idea that they have a design for our lives – is not the path of power and freedom we thought it was.
This would partly explain the rise in fundamentalism throughout the world: if your homeland doesn’t have much diversity or availability of resources for critical thinking and inquiry, you would naturally turn to those who have as their agenda – radical preachers, imams, rabbis, gurus, even unscrupulous secular coaches and motivational types – the strong desire to answer those questions for you. Then you fall for their agenda, become their tools, all the while thinking that you’re serving a higher power. If you’re not otherwise trained, how would you tell the difference?
I digress. Direct inquiry into divine has been, for me, the preferred route, because it leaves you free from the ideological correctness that organized religion or even straight up scientific skepticism requires. This isn’t about answers, but questions. And my direct inquiry, having taken me to this place of surrender, has caused me to wonder about this idea, which appeared in my notes as such, of “benevolent determinism”.
The cultural story in the many Western societies is the notion of questioning authority, of questioning dogma and, when things get really bad, rebelling. This would logically follow, then, that we should behave similarly towards supernatural authorities. How many stories have we told about heroes defying malevolent gods? It’s not new, and not exclusively Western, but all I know is that when I discuss this idea of surrendering to the universe to friends, there suddenly exists a discomfort in the conversation, like violating a taboo. You’re not supposed to surrender to God. You’re not supposed to surrender to anything.
But as I’ve been practicing this surrendering, I’ve noticed that things that I do want, and a few things I needed, but didn’t know that I needed, have come barreling down out of the sky and into my experience. Work opportunities, bonuses, unexpected monies, new encounters with people, and so on. This is ongoing and new, as I said.
So what does this have to do with The Dark Tower, and the Path of the Beam?
The Beam manifests itself in the physical reality of the worlds it connects to the Tower, like a superstructure behind a facade. Clouds and air currents will align along it; bushes and shrubs will seem to curve around it; even roads and avenues sometimes be built around them without the builders knowing what they’ve done.
You look for the signs, and it will appear. And as I practice surrendering, I find myself seeing similar things: a coffee shop that suddenly seems welcoming, or a store; a person’s post on social media that stands out even if there’s nothing that is obviously different about it; or a sudden desire to say “yes” to a last minute request that I would otherwise turn down.
Sometimes, it’s counter-intuitive: little resistances indicate the Beam. When I have work to do, I will get an irresistible urge to nap, and when I wake up, I’ll express an idea that was far better than what I would have said before; traffic jams and road closures redirect my path; financial shortfalls that prompt me to re-double my efforts at seeking out new work sooner than I had originally intended. Last year, it was a mental health crisis that caused me to scrap so much of my worldview to prioritize self care.
None of this is new to me! You can search the archives of this very site and find blog entries talking to some degree about similar phenomena. That is fact. Somehow, though, these experiences feel different, feel new, and in this respect, I wonder if maybe it’s not the phenomena that is new, but myself.
So what of it, then? How do you surrender? How do you know that you have surrendered? For myself, it often begins with a conscious intention: simply affirming “Universe, I surrender to what you have for me. Give me what I need the most, and the wisdom to understand why. Give me what I need and desire the most with ease and harmony.” Or something like that. Then, you go about your day, watching and waiting. And, when the path of the Beam appears, you go.
Or you don’t. It’s entirely your choice to follow what the Universe opens up to you or not. For all we know, the skeptics are correct, and all of this attraction mumbo jumbo is just a series of cognitive biases designed to impose personal significance on a meaningless and impersonal reality.
But in that message I wrote today, that strange idea that seemed to come from somewhere else, I also found myself journalling the following:
“Surrender to benevolent determinism, and do it freely, and the entire Universe will be yours. Give up the obsolete Western notion that the liberty of the little self is of primary importance: it is what keeps you soul blind and stingy even as you feel the waters of Aquarius pouring out all around you. Resistance is not futile: you’ll get what you ask for, even if it moves you away from happiness. Does it still suit you to be all alone in the night, watching the distant stars twinkling into life, but having no way to go there? Here’s a hint: it’s your worldview that’s keeping you stuck to the ground and nothing else. Surrender to being used by higher intelligence, and you will walk the stars like giants.”
Admittedly, I can see elements of “Babylon 5” and Whitley Strieber showing up in that last bit, which is very much me (though it could be my filter kicking in), but the core idea still felt like it was coming from some other source.
What if the Universe has a plan for us that looks nothing like we imagined, for which the most direct path to its fulfillment comes at us sideways, not as we expected?
What if all of the planning and goal-setting and intentioning for specific things, people, and experiences, outcomes is the long way around, and the other option – the one in which we give up decision-making power over the bigger things to a larger power – is the express highway to fulfillment, if not true enlightenment?
This isn’t anything new in the metaphysical literature, but this time, I feel like I’m reporting this from the inside of the experience instead of taking someone else’s word for it. This exploration of the Beam is new. These techniques are new (to me). I will keep you in the loop about where this inquiry takes me.
But for now, I really do wonder if we don’t have as much control over our destiny as we think we do. That’s an unsettling notion.