I think it was about eight years ago when I was shown a copy of a book titled “Spiritual Warfare” by Jed McKenna. I just had to have my own copy after reading a quote from Nietzsche on the back cover: “Belief means not wanting to know what is true”. Perfect.
I was 54 years old when I first read this book (yes, I have read it more than once) and it was a game-changer. Often my jaw would go slack as I read what made so much sense to me. Jed held the world up by it’s neck and revealed it for it’s absurdities, and for the first time I recognized the world.
Since reading this book I have been throwing shit out. Photo albums, journals, friendships, relationships, gut cells, brain cells, habits, books, attachments of all kinds. All the old reference materials are gone.
Jed doesn’t write about relationships or lost love. He does not address matters of the heart at all. More relevant to my life is his absenteeism on the matter of trauma. His most mushy moment is to compare life in a sewer to one out of it, and challenges the reader to choose between the two. Touching guy, this Jed.
Since I started pulling at the loose threads (Jed’s advice) I have become more honest. The honesty shows up as an elegant emptiness, a simplicity that renders every action and moment as desperately real. Walking across a parking lot can become poetry.
Now honesty is everything. It has become my koan and I slowly whisper “honesty, honesty, honesty” as I challenge myself to be a witness, to accept all as it is. If I do this well, I am still inside. If I don’t, a familiar anxiety arises.
I believe that I have always sensed that the ambient noise was bullshit, a ruse to keep us all off-balance and busy caring for dust bunnies while the real ones starved. When I found this book I discovered I wasn’t the only one that was suspicious. Jed had stripped away the veneer and rendered the gods as false. I took a deep breath and relaxed, sensing a freedom to question life in new way.
It took some time, but this book freed me to ask the very buried questions, which led to ayahuasca, memories of trauma, and a deep release that continues even now. Almost a decade, and counting. Who knew?
This is a dangerous book. It is risky to hold, even riskier to read. It was and continues to be a catalyst in my life and I am grateful I took it on.
Thank you, Jed (or whatever your name is).