Blending Eastern Mysticism with Western practicality,
involution is a word that represents,
the inner evolution
of the heart, mind, and soul...
In essence, involution is
not a dogma, creed or doctrine, but an experiential practice of
You can observe it
It is a philosophy of life.
evolution which is externally focused (yet still
necessary), involution is the transformation of
the internal world through the inner work processes of
self-awareness, self-discovery, self-understanding, self-love,
self-transformation, and self-mastery.
Ultimately, it is involution that helps to transform and liberates
us from suffering through the process of internal growth and
What is the
Purpose of Involution?
Involution can help us overcome our pain, lessen our suffering, and
live authentically again.
It can help us to stop
fragmenting our lives, providing us with passion, direction, and
wholeness. Involution can also help us to transcend our repetitive
routines, blinding beliefs, and stagnating ways of life.
All we need to do is to adopt the philosophy that transforming
internally is just as important as progressing externally. (By the
way, there are seven crucial facets of involution which I'll explore
a little later.)
For too long many of us have been stranded fighting, striving, and
struggling to better our external lives.
Better jobs, better
clothes, better cars, better relationships, better social
statuses, better financial situations... some part of us tends
to believe that to nurture our external lives is to become
better, smarter, and more whole people.
But it doesn't...
Most of us feel wary, bitter, alone, and disillusioned at the end of
This is why involution,
the evolution of our inner selves, is desperately needed.
Why Do We Need
Involution (the New Approach to Life)?
Involution is needed because we are undergoing an unprecedented
level of psychological, emotional, and spiritual suffering as a
species - and it's only getting worse.
We need an internal
evolution because we are slaves to our bodies, slaves to our
minds, and slaves to our emotions.
We are also slaves to
other people and slaves of the very society that conditions our
minds with false, misleading, oppressive, and repressive beliefs
Evolution has brought us
to the necessary point of personal freedom and innovation in history
where we can progress in new and exciting ways.
However, this is a path
that focuses solely on the external world:
But what about the
What about the heart?
What about the
transformation of our own consciousness?
These are the missing
keys to the endless issues we face today of,
destruction, social collapse, worldwide mental health crises,
mass extinctions, famine, disease, and the slow decline of our
planet into inner chaos...
Involution is the way
forward because all true, deep, and long-lasting changes happen
When our energy is
focused exclusively on the external world, we are like ghosts,
alienated from our inner wellspring of truth, living a shallow
existence driven by futile, materialistic pursuits.
And look where that has
got us as a species...
Here's an analogy that describes the painful process of 'waking
There is a large
machine situated on a space of land. You were born as a cog in
that machine, and since birth, you were taught that you were
part of this machine.
You had a few slim
choices of what roles in the machine you wished to function as,
but this was as far as your freedom reached.
There are some cogs which are more important than others for
their functions in this machine. They are highly respected by
the other cogs who aspire to be respected like them someday.
However, in their
free time, these cogs do all kinds of superfluous things to
distract themselves from the truth of their situation:
that they are
trapped in a machine-prison...
But one day, you
eventually stop and re-evaluate how meaningless you feel in your
functioning and begin to awaken to the desire that you want to
be free from the machine.
You suggest this idea
to the other cogs, but they respond:
"Free from what?
We ARE this machine...!"
All of those who have
undergone a spiritual awakening process, a shift to involution, can
relate to this above comparison.
The first two questions that come to you after realizing you're not
the machine and can be liberated from it are:
"Who am I?" and "What
is my true purpose?"
This is the beginning of
the immensely fulfilling process of involution - the beginning of
the inner path of transformation, the journey of walking your
However, this spiritual awakening process does not arise without
some form of inner suffering:
some degree of
despair, anger, and loneliness.
We'll explore this next.
will come when loneliness shall weary you,
when your pride
shall writhe and your courage gnash its teeth.
In that day you
shall cry: I am alone.
A day will come
when you shall see your high things no more,
and your low
things all too near;
you shall fear
your exaltation as if it were a phantom.
In that day you
All is false...
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Deep and Too Much
There is a type of
loneliness that transcends all
It isn't born from
lack of company and doesn't share the joys of an inner rich
world that comes with solitary introversion.
Nor has it anything
to do with depression, but rather, this kind of loneliness is a
This loneliness brings
feelings of emptiness, of having nothing, and having
an extraordinary uncertainty in everything.
This feeling is a rare
experience that comes to a person who has seen too deep and too
much. Yet it is the beginning of the revolutionary process of
The person who has seen too deep and too much has become aware of
the unreality of their lives.
To them, the ordinary
structure of society loses its values as they realize the fictitious
this Matrix, this same illusional
Matrix where they had been projecting all their hopes and desires.
If what they thought was
real in this life turns out to be false, then all the ambitions and
aspirations they wanted to accomplish in it are lost immediately,
leaving them with the questions:
Who am I and what am
I doing here...?
These questions are the
unconscious cause of that spiritual void we all carry and the
deepest origin of the existential crisis.
As humans, we constantly escape such deep questions with all types
with movies, books,
careers, social trivialities, sex, and recreational, religious
or patriotic fanaticism...
We'll do anything but
choose to be alone with ourselves and face these questions.
Asking the Deep
Involution is something we grow into rather than inherit from our
And it starts by asking
the deep questions, questions such as,
"Where did this come
"Why does this
"What is real vs.
"What is my true
...tend to awaken
something deep within us.
These questions help us to realize,
That the society we live in is
nothing more than a contrived illusion where we
blindly create our own sufferings.
That the notion of
'countries' is merely a creation of the mind.
That there are no
imaginary lines that separate the borders.
are false and relative identities.
That your name,
nationality, and beliefs aren't you - you were simply taught
That what we call
'love' is less like unconditional love than it is a conditional neurotic dependency.
And that money is
nothing but a colorful symbolic piece of paper to
motivate the social herds into labor, with the delusions of
Most of us are driven by
ambitions of achievement, and when all this is taken away upon
realizing there's nothing to achieve, we're left with the
or, "Nothing is worth doing."
In fact, a normal part of
shifting our energy from the outside to inside is undergoing a
Dark Night of the Soul where we
feel totally lost and abandoned by life/God.
Thankfully, this experience doesn't last forever, and eventually, we
start to adapt to our new role:
that of the outsider.
Being an Outsider
It is no
measure of health
to be well
to a profoundly
Think on These Things
Those experiencing and living by the philosophy of involution
will understand how important it is to focus our attention inside
ourselves rather than externally onto the sickness of society.
All true changes, after
all, start deep inside each of us as individuals.
Naturally, the result of asking deep questions, having a total
life-shattering perspective shift, or trying to seek truth means
that we'll become outsiders. We will become strange, off-beat, and
"abnormal" to those in society very quickly.
However, if the people in our culture were truly normal, they would
find the state of society untruthful, distasteful, and impossible to
If they were truly
"normal" they would reject the toxic, sick, and backward beliefs and
behaviors propagated to keep us enslaved, and rebel,
Against the Typical
Perhaps the hardest thing about rebelling as an outsider is that we
innately struggle to belong.
We cannot find a home
within typical "normal" society because it contradicts our very
nature; our deepest discoveries, epiphanies, feelings, and values.
your typical job is a
draining 50 years of work unrelated to your true passions.
Your belief system
isn't fulfilling either, especially when deep down you know it
creates a world replete with inequality.
typical health and eating habits are
fundamentally unhealthy, not to
mention the thousands of dollars of typical debt you have in
your bank account.
Even your typical
marriage is statistically bound for failure, while your typical
lack of self-exploration leads to a personally unfulfilled and
emotionally reactive life.
Outsiders who walk the
involution path have learned that society's standards have
nothing to do with their own...
Does having higher
standards mean they think they're better than everyone else? No.
It means everyone else is running below their capacity, and
outsiders want to make up for the distance.
Many will argue that if we're all so typical, how did we create
such brilliant innovations in science, spirituality, technology,
literature, and so forth?
In fact, it was not our
human species as a whole who delivered these incredible feats, but
fierce outsider individuals who deviated from the comfortable
"typical" (such as Socrates, Galileo, Jung, Picasso), who were often
received harshly by the "typicals" of the time.
The reality is that to be an outsider takes courage,
to be typical takes conformity.
The fear of sticking
out and screwing up is too great for the typical person.
The safest way is the
old way, the proven way, the boring way, the typical way.
This is why shifting from
the external to the internal - the way of involution - is so
revolutionary and takes so much heroism.
be telling this
with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence:
diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one
less traveled by,
and that has
made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
The 7 Paths of
Involution is the evolution of the heart, mind, and
soul, and it exists as a variety of distinct, yet interconnected
This is a process that we intentionally choose to go through to live
wise, authentic, and whole lives.
It consists of seven
All of us exist in each
of these facets in differing degrees.
The key is to discover
which elements you exist in the most, and which elements you exist
in the least. Discovering this will help you see what you need to
work on the most.
Below, I'll explore each involution path in a bit of detail:
Also called Self-Consciousness, Self-Awareness is the ability to
observe the array of thoughts, feelings, and actions you carry
out every day.
A Self-Aware person
is able to identify what they are feeling, but not necessarily
why they are feeling that way. A lack of Self-Awareness is
defined by animal-like behavior, or behaving without
thinking - usually called reacting.
If you are a Self-Aware person, you have:
to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, personality, and
little do we know
what we may be!
Self-exploration, or the study of oneself, is the
process of investigating and analyzing our inner thoughts,
emotions, beliefs, and ideals.
Once we become aware
of our internal processes (thinking, feeling, reacting, and
decision making), it is then beneficial to ask why we function
the way we do.
often a complex process that involves a lot of introspection,
observation, patient consideration, and research. It is
important to realize that in order to discover who we are, we
first need to study 'who we are.'
If you are a Self-Exploring person, you,
you feel, think, and behave
knowledge and understanding of yourself through a
variety of means (books, workshops, films, tests,
In the process of
Self-Exploration, we are developing the ability to divide our
attention; to simultaneously be aware of both our inner selves
and what we are outwardly considering.
How to Self-Explore:
Self-Observation - powerful techniques include
meditation, mindfulness, and entering altered states of
awareness (e.g., through plant medicine like marijuana,
self-hypnosis, and various other trance states)
Self-Analysis - two amazing ways of doing this include,
"Who am I...?"
This is the question
you venture to answer when you begin your journey of
Self-Exploration, or your search to know thyself.
can be understood as the act or process of gaining knowledge
or understanding of yourself.
closely linked with Self-Exploration because without
studying oneself, attaining a degree of Self-Discovery is
People who live in
this level tend to discover the underlying mechanisms and truths
upholding many of their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors
towards themselves and the people around them.
If you are a Self-Discovering person, you have:
into what, how and why you feel, think and behave the way
So where do we begin?
meditation, online articles, tests, documentaries all offer
ways to discover yourself more deeply.
A lot of the content
this website, for example, is
dedicated to helping you learn more about your inner dynamics.
Here are some resources to help get you started:
most of us remain ignorant of ourselves,
because self-knowledge is painful
prefer the pleasures of
Also called Self-Knowledge, Self-Understanding is the
ability to know what, how, and why you do what you do.
For this reason,
Self-Understanding is closely linked to, and often overlaps
People who live in this level tend to have a well-rounded
understanding of the origins and reasons behind many of their
feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
If you are a Self-Understanding person, you have:
understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, attitudes,
beliefs, motives, defenses, and reactions
what happens when we learn so much about ourselves to such a
deep extent (which began in the last stage), that it becomes
becomes "knowing" when it is actively experienced through
How to Practice
Self-Understanding is the result of integrating and actively
applying all that we've dug up about ourselves through inner
work. Therefore, it's not a question of how to practice it, but
rather how to continue living it.
Ways to continue living what you've learned might include:
examining and contemplating your thoughts, beliefs,
goals, and motivations.
questions - the beauty of asking questions is that they
are simple yet piercing and they often get to the root
of the matter. Keep asking "why?" "what?" and "how?" on
your involution journey and you will develop deeper and
being around others - other people are our mirrors, and
anything hidden or unresolved within us will be brought
up in our relationships with those we are surrounded by.
Value your connections as ideal places to develop more
self-understanding: there could be no better place to
Self-Love comes as a result of achieving Self-Understanding and
is defined by a compassionate acceptance of your strengths and
Individuals who practice self-love realize that they are
imperfect in different ways, but cease to criticize and punish
themselves for these imperfections.
If you are a
Self-Loving person, you:
yourself, "warts and all"
punishing yourself for your imperfections
self-esteem and self-forgiveness
needs and desires
When we become Self-Aware, undertake Self-Exploration, and
obtain Self-Discovery, Understanding and Love, it is then that
we come to experience true inner transformation.
can be understood as the gradual transcendence of our previous
limiting and destructive identities:
our ego selves.
changes in the way they live life, as well as perceive
themselves and other people
increased harmony with the world, other people, and
death of the old and a birth of the new within
numerous mystical experiences and major life shifts
transformative change we begin to experience as we become more
aware of ourselves is the belief that 'salvation' of any form
comes from the external world...
To commit to our
Self-Transformation is, in a sense, to lose our life - not our
real life, but the false life of dreams and illusions, the life
that we have been conditioned with, and taught to believe in, by
The moment you grow and release yourself from the enslavement of
cultural values, along with unconscious desires of stimulation,
possessions, and socially acceptable lifestyles,
Gradually we find
that our friends and family find us less interesting, more
out-of-this-world, more humorless.
Gradually we find
that we don't care much for what we use to.
It is at this point that we start undergoing our own process of
a time of
Self-Transformation that involves the death of the old
and the birth of the new...
Self-Transformation grows within us, we may undergo mystical
experiences, profound ego deaths, and other major internal
shifts that cause us to grow in true wisdom, compassion, and
How to Achieve Self-Transformation
Self-Transformation is the result of an accumulation of all
previous involution stages (awareness, exploration, discovery,
It cannot necessarily
be 'achieved' as a static goal, but it is something active that
is ongoing and spontaneous.
However, Self-Transformation is often initiated when we are
willing to face the truth about ourselves. And perhaps the best
method for this is
The final goal of the involution process is Self-Mastery...
when a person shifts from the false and limited ego-self to the
expansive and unlimited True Self.
This experience is
often referred to as,
self-realization, atman, enlightenment, nirvana, kingdom of
heaven, promised land, cosmic unity, unione mystica,
mysterium tremendum, cosmic consciousness, union with god,
oneness, divinity, non-duality, no-mind, samadhi, satori,
harmony of the spheres,
...and so on.
In this new shift in awareness, the person moves beyond the
limited ego, and in this sense, becomes a 'master' of it as the
ego is no longer in the main driving seat.
Self-Mastery is rare and includes:
to see and experience the illusion of the ego
to simply observe feelings and emotions without
identifying with them
to realize that we are not our thoughts and emotions
to stop reacting out of hatred, anger, embarrassment,
jealousy, and other harmful emotions
to live life with peace and wisdom
Zoroaster, George Gurdjieff, Lao Tzu, Gangaji, Socrates,
Diogenes, Mahavira, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Unmani, Sri
"But why not
just start off with striving for Self-Mastery?" you
In order for
Self-Mastery to occur, there often first needs to be a thorough
exploration of the individual sense of self.
involves loosening old limiting beliefs, undoing dense core
wounds, and generally relaxing the ego structure.
Think of this as
preparing a garden:
in order to plant
a seed, you must first have clean, fertile soil...
But when that soil is
full of weeds and rocks, it's very difficult for that seed to
The same can be said for us:
the heavier and
more contracted we are, the less likely the light of
Consciousness will shine through us.
We need to clear away
the blockages and barriers in order to experience illumination
This is a curious paradox, but a separation must occur before
you can create wholeness within.
In other words:
In order to
become a master of yourself, there must first be a false
self to master.
Or spoken in
another way, in order to transcend the ego, you must first
have an ego...