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Your Brand New Name

(Excerpted from my book, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia.)



In some spiritual traditions, devotees attempt an arduous process of self-transformation as they retrain themselves to perceive the world from God's point of view. If they succeed, they're honored with an initiation ritual and given a new name to consecrate their altered state.

I have the same problem with this custom that I have with the idea of enlightenment: Once isnít enough. Just as anyone in his or her right spiritual mind has a duty to keep claiming fresh varieties of enlightenment until the end of time, so should the initiations and renamings continue forever.

In my opinion, these considerations apply to you. You may not have sequestered yourself for years in a mountaintop monastery, and you may not have risen every morning at 5 a.m. to say prayers for hours, but you are an authentic devotee who has undergone equivalent ordeals. Your spiritual transformation has unfolded as you've dealt with the challenges of daily life during our epic moment in history, when unprecedented levels of annihilation and resurrection are the norm.

You have earned the right, therefore, to enjoy enlightenment after enlightenment and initiation after initiation and renaming after renaming.

I invite you to get started with a do-it-yourself initiation ceremony. It doesn't have to be long and complicated, and you can create it yourself. As an example of what you might do, here's a ritual that some Beauty and Truth Laboratory's initiates have performed: 1. Eat a pinch of dirt to declare your solidarity with Mother Earth. 2. Burn a five-dollar bill to purify your relationship with symbols of wealth. 3. Kick yourself in the ass to affirm your ongoing intention to discipline your shadow.

As one of your initiatory rewards, consider adopting a fresh alias during this and every initiation you carry out in the future. You can abandon your existing name if you want, or simply add your new tag to the current mix.

To celebrate the occasion, I invoke on your behalf the inspiration of all shedding things. Your tree of power will be the eucalyptus, whose bark peels away to reveal fresh layers beneath. Your lucky symbol will be the molting snake. Your sacred insect will be the silverfish, which bursts through its exoskeleton as it grows a new and bigger one. Your role model will be Japanese artist Hokusai (1760Ė1849), who had such a passionate commitment to reinventing himself that he celebrated 60 births, each time giving himself a new name.

Below is a list of Native American-style titles and names you might want to steal for your own use. Feel free to dream up your own, of course.

Wild Face
Shadow Wrestler
Kiss Genius
Goal Thwacker
Boink Worthy
Fizzy Nectar
Thrill Witch
Rowdy Gusto
Bliss Mutator
Silky Banger
Phoenix Nectar
Mucho Gusto Coco Loco
Mango Sucker
Pain Killer
Fire Keeper
Wobble Binder
Earthshaker
Wish Crayon
Pearly Thunder
Thumper
Gut Stormer
Storm Tamer
Free Sigh
 
 

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