Plans are necessary for the long haul. To varying degrees, we can plan our careers, where we might live, our diet, our physical training, and our studies, etc. But, as Mike Tyson has famously said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” When that happens in life it’s necessary to go rogue, internally: to overhaul our psyches, and break our habits and burn our maps that have laid out what is and, more importantly, what is not possible for us.
To find heaven we must sometimes raise hell. But to do so is to risk everything. The old self will die. Indeed, you must sacrifice it on the altar of the dawning of the Higher Man, the Higher Self, one’s absolute potential.
To escape the island of Crete, Icarus and his father, Daedalus, made wings of feathers and wax. Daedalus warned Icarus to fly neither too high nor too low. The greater risk was flying too low. But Icarus forgot the advice of his father to find the middle path, and caught up in amazement at the experience of flight, went higher and higher until the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned.
The laws of nature and the ways of the world mean that recklessness may bring ruin. There is a difference between recklessness and going all out, however. The former is based on nothing, except, perhaps, egotism or a lack of understanding. Going all out, though, is based on our practice, habits, training, and so on. It is based on constantly striving for the upper limits of the middle path. Or, to put it another way, it is based on constantly striving for our own upper limits, and, then, when we have to push further, knowing from experience what we can expect with sudden, exerted effort.
A new Self must be incarnated — the Self that is born must live, in the words of the late Samurai text the Hagakure, as if already dead. The Higher Self is liberated from the death of the ego. This Self is what springs up upon the death of fear. It is born in the moment of enthusiasm, in sudden bursts of creativity, a flash of realization, an “unlimiting” experience, reborn from the love of one’s Brothers, from the touch of a lover, a beautiful sight, a profound statement, a line of poetry, a speech, a painting, etc.
There are times to raise hell and storm heaven. When those thoughts that keep us down or keep us away from our true Self have made themselves at home in our consciousness, and live comfortably in our life, it is time to shake things up. It is time to dare, to go all out, put all energy into what matters, to make one’s actions count, to be heroic in our own way and in our own life.
When we seize the day, push beyond the limits we set for ourselves or that were set by others, embrace what we love, we turn Samsara into Nirvana. We raise hell to storm heaven.
The early lives of great visionaries are sometimes unimpressive — college dropouts, kids from poor neighborhoods, deemed failures in their youth. But all of them raised hell, courting disapproval and laughter, risking everything, but, yet, trusting in destiny, fate, or God, and believing that their effort and energy would somehow align with it. As runs a Zen koan,”drunken eyes see ten thousand miles of flowers.”