Being a Dionysian is all about being open and free and dissolving boundaries.
So it might surprise some of you to learn that I am a control freak.
But the two are not as antithetical as they may at first appear.
I maintain such tight control over myself and my surroundings precisely because I have this terrifying obsession with freedom and all the rest.
What is freedom in the end, but the liberty to be and act as one wills?
Anything that impinges upon my personal sovereignty is odious to me, save only Dionysos. He is my Lord in all ways.
No one and nothing beyond him may force me to do anything that I do not consent to.
Which is a deeply empowering philosophy.
I do not particularly like working at a convenience store but I don’t have to. I choose to. I choose to do this each night instead of winding up on the streets with no shelter and nothing to eat. But I could always make that choice instead or choose to end my life or any number of other options. And that is what makes even the most unpleasant situation bearable. It is a choice that I am making.
I don’t always make the right choice or the one that is best for me, but that’s beside the point. If you’re not free to make mistakes you’re not free at all.
The most valuable freedom I exercise is the freedom to shape my mind. My thoughts, my feelings, my desires, my dreams, my fantasies and aspirations — all the components that make up the dark and strange topography of my soul are dear to me and I don’t like others tinkering with that. Which is why I take such care with the media I am exposed to.
I do not own a television, listen to the radio, read the news and I try to avoid conversations about current events, especially if celebrities are involved. I am selective in the blogs I follow and who I engage with and have few friends. I read books only on topics related to my spiritual interests. I’m choosy about what I watch on Netflix and Hulu and extremely limit the time I spend doing so.
By isolating myself in this way I have managed to create a temporary autonomous zone that feeds and reinforces my spiritual practice. When everything you take in, everyone you talk with, everything that surrounds you relates back to the gods and spirits — it really takes the work to a whole other level. For one thing, if you are constantly surrounded by reminders of them you can’t really escape or put down the work for long, not unless you’re willing to take drastic measures and that’s usually a wake-up call that something is seriously wrong. So not only do you have that built-in protection but you can easily slip into an altered state just by focusing on what’s at hand.
But as with everything this approach has its downsides.
Being cut off like that can endanger the flow of inspiration, which depends to a large extent on randomness. Akedia can set in. And it gets lonely with only the gods and spirits to talk to or about.
There’s also the danger of solipsism and thinking that being in this head-space, this other world, is the work itself. You have to actually do things. Go outside what is comfortable so that you can bring this energy back to the world.
But you can’t have everything. There are always consequences, seen and unforeseen. Choice only matters when there is a potential for loss.
But you know why I keep making the choice to be devoted to him? Because it’s the wildest ride in town. You never know what to expect next. Things are never complacent or dull.
When I gave myself to him I asked only one thing in return.
“I don’t ever want to be bored.”
He has more than delivered his end of the bargain.