What do you do when you realize that you’re nothing more than a story you’ve been telling yourself? I’ll tell you: You make that story as interesting and extraordinary as possible. That’s it. That’s all you need. Now get out there and retell/rewrite your story. Not enough for you? Okay then.
The trick to hacking your way out of the Labyrinth of Unworthiness is to “act” like your worthy. Eventually, your acting worthy will make you worthy. It’s akin to the expression, “Fake it till you make it.” Or, “Practice makes perfect.” You might “feel” unworthy but if you “act” like you’re worthy then you WILL be worthy.
Still not enough for you? Okay. Imagine a first-time firefighter standing outside a burning building with a baby inside, and the building is about to collapse. The firefighter is going to “feel” fear, but if he doesn’t “act” with courage then that baby will die. So he trumps his feeling of fear with an act of courage. He felt fear but acted courageously. Similarly, we can feel unworthy but act worthy.
The intent is the thing: if our intent is good, then even if the result is bad our conscience will be clear. The action is the thing: if we act with courage, then even if we fail we can still be proud. The journey is the thing: if we enjoy the ride, then it becomes primary and the destination becomes secondary. Charlie Chaplain said it best, “Smile though your heart is aching.”
There’s a Greek word, métis, which is a quality that combines wisdom and cunning. This quality was considered to be highly admirable in ancient Athens. Metis was the Greek Goddess who gave Zeus the potion that caused Cronus to vomit out Zeus’ siblings. Metis was also the mother of Athena, goddess of wisdom and courage.
The mythology plays out like this: Zeus became aware of a prophecy that his and Metis’ progeny would one day overthrow him. After coitus, Zeus tricks Metis into transforming into a fly at which time he promptly swallows her. But he’s too late.
Metis is already pregnant with Athena and burrows herself into his brain. Then Hephaestus splits Zeus’ head open with an axe at the river Triton, and Athena leaps out fully grown.
Métis is the emergence of wisdom from the coalescence of unconscious and conscious energies. But I say it is more than just that. It is a higher state of cunning, a magical cunning, an exceedingly astute meta-wit. It is uncanny creativeness personified. It is neither explicit nor implicit. It is both, somehow: eximplicit, if you will.
It’s an almost god-like awareness and sensitivity toward the all-pervasive medium, the “water,” in which we are immersed, and the all-encompassing “fishbowl” in which we are bound. It is an ancient sly orientation with reality and a cosmic wisdom all wrapped up in the capacity to understand that we are beings of limited capacity and rampant fallibility. It subsumes self-actualization, individuation and enlightenment, not merely as means to an end but as ends in themselves.
Like Metis planting herself in Zeus’ head, our ability to act courageous in the face of fear, calm in the face of rage or worthy in the face of unworthiness, is our ability to choose to be extraordinary despite feeling ordinary. It’s the ability to tap into our own “magical cunning,” our inner-métis.
If, as Kurt Vonnegut said, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be,” then it behooves us to pretend to be extraordinary.
Pretend you’re courageous by acting courageous and, guess what? You’re suddenly courageous. Keep practicing it. Keep trumping sadness with happiness, hate with love, paranoia with pronoia, jealousy with compersion. Trick your self into a higher self. Fake it until you make it. Eventually you won’t even have to fake it at all, for you will have subsumed the process. You’ll find, as Alan Watts did, that you’re no longer a victim of the world, you ARE the world.