Possession vs Absorption

I am the first to admit that my interest in ideological possession sometimes verges on obsessiveness. I even occasionally feel like I am actually possessed by the idea of possession. This is certainly transparently the case for many YouTubers who seem to have made it their life’s mission to expose and debunk all the ideological muppets out there, from the woke and the anti-woke to the anti-theist and anti-anti-theist brigade.

The Wheel of Babylon is all about possession. If you’re possessed by hate, rage, resentment, revenge fantasies, violent impulses or murderous intent, you are probably possessed by a “demon”. If you’re possessed by fear, anxiety, worry, regret, despair, depression or severe self-criticism, you are probably possessed by a “victim” archetype. If you’re possessed by lust, desire, craving, greed, gluttony or the bottle, bong or needle, you are probably possessed by an “addict” archetype.

That’s how possession looks in the lower three realms of the Wheel. In the upper realms, you are ideologically possessed when the muppet archetype takes over, culturally possessed when the muggle archetype holds sway, and pleasantly possessed when the diva archetype is in charge.

The six opposite archetypes don’t function possessively. They emerge through samadhi, or absorption. So that absorption in dhyana yoga manifests the mystic archetype, absorption in kundalini yoga manifest the shaman archetype, absorption in karma yoga manifests the warrior archetype, absorption in bhakti yoga manifests the monk/nun archetype, absorption in jnana yoga manifests the philosopher archetype and absorption in raja yoga manifests the king/queen archetype. In fact the word “yoga” could itself be interpreted as meaning something like absorption.

Absorption is closely related to the experience of flow, which positive psychologists such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identify with optimal human flourishing. When you are in flow, or “in the zone”, you are fully absorbed in what you are doing, whether that be a physical activity like dancing, fighting or playing sports, an emotional one like listening to music or a mental one like writing.

There is a large body of research that points to the same conclusions as common-sense: absorption makes us happy and possession makes us unhappy. If we want to make this fundamental insight the basis of a conscious practice of self-improvement, we could do worse than resist possession by our inner demon, victim, addict, muppet, muggle and diva and cultivate absorption through our inner mystic, shaman, warrior, monk/nun, philosopher and king/queen.