Renewal, and New Beginings

Beginning something new can be a daunting task. If it’s going to be worthwhile then it will require a tremendous amount of dedication to the building process, and that means plenty of sacrifices. There are limits to how much can be feasibly done before burning out, and that means that strategizing time is important. Things that are no longer useful have got to go, and as painful as it is to cut away the old and outmoded things, or habits, no justice can be done to a new beginning unless this takes place.

Perhaps this is why the archetypal symbol of the Phoenix is so poignant to the senses. Those who fail to renew themselves periodically often stagnate, and become deplorable either to themselves, or others, and sometimes even both. Such a renewal process is more than merely psychological. Indeed, it’s true of physiology as well. If the body’s cells don’t die and reproduce then there is no way to sustain life. Imagine wounds that never heal, or blood that never replenishes. The body becomes living rot.

There’s a certain temptation to look back on the past, or try to hold on to things that no longer serve in the present. It’s the difficulty of letting go, and that is a negative symptom of attachment. There’s something quite stoic, or perhaps even zen, about centering the mind, and habituating it to the process of perpetual renewal. If the body can do it so effortlessly, and without so much as a conscious thought paid to the process, then there is no reason why the mind cannot aspire to the same.

“Within the setting of their own body, the Philosopher’s Stone is placed; for in truth it is the heart of the Phoenix, that strange bird which rises with renewed youth from the ashes of its burned body. When the Master’s heart is as pure and white as the diamond worn, they will then become a living stone-the crown jewel in the diadem of their Craft.” — Manly P. Hall

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