An Alchemy of Friction by Francis Evans

inside prison cellWhen you’re at the forefront of new ideas it is often frustrating waiting for the world to realise that things are constantly changing. It’s easy to see a box when you’re on the outside. You can see the walls. When you’re on the inside it’s a room. It might be a comfortable lounge, but if you keep sitting there you can’t experience what the day is like. We all can get locked into the ideas that a situation is the way we see it to be. That’s a limitation, and could be called a house of straw. When we are sure we know all there is to know it becomes a limitation on a limitation, and then the walls become brick. Sure the wolf can’t get in, but neither can you get out. It’s a safe house of brick.

Christopher Columbus sailed beyond the boundaries of the known. He was told that he was a fool, he would fall off the edge and kill himself and all the crew. It takes a strong foresightful king to even sponsor such a feat, actually the queen of Spain had the courage. Perhaps the non-logical was more willing to trust than the logical mind. Christopher had a goal, to find the quickest route to the East Indies. What he found was an entire New World. The richest world ever discovered. In a paradoxical way he went to find the East by sailing West.

As social values have moved from a structurally ordered system to a user pays one, everything has become the property of commercialism. I almost called this article “Sold on Sex – commercialism in relationship. Even the so-called “Spirituality” of the New Age has become competitive, and even more so, relationships have joined the ranks of the throw away mentality. This “more so” stems from the fact that virtually every product is sold to us through a variety of representations of sex.

How society sees each other can be discovered by studying advertising. The perfect woman, the perfect man, perfect wife, perfect husband, even the perfect child eats, watches, wears the perfect product. And if yours doesn’t act or look this way, throw them away – trade up to the perfect model which you can purchase through the connection and dating advertisements. For the first few months she’ll give you all the sex you want, he’ll shower you with the love and romance until the perfection slips and you can trade in again.

You might think I’m presenting a very cynical picture, and I am. But the cycle is real. In between relationships you start life again as a single. Life seems better or worse but at least you only have to provide for yourself. The whole experience becomes self-centred. Of course, if there are children involved then your life becomes restricted by them. One parent has the children, generally the woman, and she builds resentment because he is out having a good time, again generally, finding another woman, while she is trapped at home with the kids. He on the other hand is resentful because he’s lonely and has restricted access to his children. The children are unhappy too because they can’t figure out what they did wrong. The point is that everyone is self-centring.

Then some time later, with relief, you find another partner and begin another relationship. You are determined never to do, or get done to, what happened before. During the early phases you become so attentive, so pleasing so determined to look after the other that you become we-centering. The biggest surprise is when more or less the same issues arise. You become incredulous that you could have picked someone with the same traits as before. You wonder how you could have fallen into the same trap.

If you are really lucky something is brought to your attention, you read it, or someone points it out. This mind shattering piece of knowledge is that the world, external experience is just a mirror of yourself. The reason you can’t escape is that it is all your own projection. The world is a mirror for your own spiritual evolution, and like a mirror it reflects back paradoxically. That is, the mirror gives a perfectly accurate representation of what is in front of it, except that the reflection is reversed, left to right, and front to back. When a person wakes up to this fact, really wakes up and applies it, then they begin a quantum shift in the way they relate. They begin what is called reflexive living.

Some people maintain that there is a difference between the occult world and the perceived one, and this difference is, seemingly, reserved for those who have what is known as second sight. However, what is known as second sight is the accurate observation of what is obvious but unimportant to everybody else. What the famous hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson, referred to as minimal cues. The occult is observable reality and there is no animosity between science and the occult, other than a lack of understanding or observation.

Something we can observe as “real” in the physical world has a correspondence in all other dimensions. How these correspondences operate is dependant on the elements available in that specific realm. What is a natural law in one world or realm, the physical for instance, is a natural law in all realms, although how it operates will be consistent with the things that have solidity in each realm. You can put your physical hand through a holographic wall, but you can neither put your physical hand through a physical wall, nor your holographic hand through a holographic wall.

There is a surprising thing in humanity; we all seem to shy away from what appears to be tension and disagreement. Yet, there is no activity in the universe that is free of friction. Friction causes heat, and ultimately heat will transform (usually but not always by melting) anything. You can separate and join things by the judicious use of friction.

In order to create a polished surface, a mirror, you must wear one surface with another, by friction. The constant rubbing of two surfaces together in the physical realm produces heat to the degree determined by the coefficient of friction for the two materials, and eventually will wear away or polish one or both surfaces. Rubbing a hard surface with a soft you can create a smooth polish on the hard surface, although the soft surface is either worn away or needs constant replenishment. Water rushing over stones causes the stones to become smooth.

Rubbing two hard surfaces together will cause both to polish to a smooth and glassy shine. Rocks rumbled together first of all create a large amount of frictional heat, as the rough edges are ground away. In time, the frictional heat created drops as the two surfaces polish and shine. The constant rubbing together of two personalities in the emotional or astral realm also produces heat (often called anger or desire) determined by the “hardness” or “softness” of the personality types, and eventually will wear out or polish one or both of the personalities.

When you consider how an ordinary stone is converted into semiprecious and finally into a gemstone you realise that it is through the application of a large amount of pressure. Pressure comes about by the adaptation of an increasing amount of limitation and containment. Most people want to escape as soon as any level of pressure is applied. It is one of the elements of modern social structure. Yet, on the other hand you want to become spiritually evolved, you want to become radiant like a diamond, yet only be subjected to the pressure needed for coal. Even if you sustained such pressure, you would still not find yourself because an unpolished gemstone will be overlooked as worthless until it has been cut and polished, until it has been subjected to sufficient friction.

Friction is defined as the resistance encountered when the surface of one body moves upon or across that of another; a clash or opposition of two different temperaments, characters, or sets of opinions. Friction occurs in the physical, emotional or mental realms. There is no friction within the unmanifest, or spiritual realm. From this perspective, if there is friction then it is, by definition, not spiritual.

My proposal here is that one of the fundamental purposes of coming together in male – female polar relationships is in order to generate friction.

So, rather than avoiding friction in relationship, I am suggesting that you welcome it as growthful, smoothing and polishing in a fuller context. It is through this friction that you polish your emotional and mental beings to a glassy mirror finish. The surfaces giving a sustainable reflection to your committed intimate partner. Through these reflections you are able to truly see and understand yourselves, and through such understanding you are able to spiritualise. I am not saying this is the only method, for undoubtedly there is the monk’s method of withdrawal from the world. This method of reflexive living is one for being in the world. It is relevant for the western way of life.

Now let me take you back to the basis of this article, “Into the Cauldron of Relationship: An Alchemy of Friction”. What this means in terms of the alchemicalisation of relationships, the transmutation of prima materia, the prime material into gold. This is more than pure chemistry, it is potentised alchemistry.

Chemistry is study and application of external elements, whereas alchemy is the study and application of internal elements. Likewise astronomy is the study of external stars and planets and astrology is the study of internal ones. Astrology is the map of ones internal states, alchemy is the process of transformation. Combined together they provide a set of tools for personal evolution.

11th CenturyEssentially, the alchemy of relationship can be seen as a coming together in a container, a cauldron, a crucible, a chalice and generating a fiery reaction of two dissimilar elements. Like any chemical reaction you must control the heat you generate. Too much heat will cause it to burn or explode; too little heat and the reaction will fizzle.

Enough heat is called Passion. (Passion = enough heat to keep the reaction alive or Sword & Chalicesimmering.)Too much heat is called Anger or Violence. This is the approach of the Intimidator. (It works from the belief “I have to defend myself against an attack”)
Too little heat is called Indifference or withdrawal. This approach is adopted by the Aloof personality. (It works from the belief “Nothing I can do will make any difference”)

How can we regulate the amount of heat or passion we bring to our relationship? Of prime importance to this question is the answer to “How committed are you to being in it?” This is not a question of how committed are you to the children, but how committed are you to your partner? Until you are committed there will always be the deterrent that one or other will walk.

When there is too much heat it can spill over into violence and there is no way to condone violence, especially in countries like New Zealand or Australia, where residual violence is a way of life. Violence is the result of deeply ingrained and undischarged anger, and almost always has its basis in history. Violence is a psychological disorder and as such cannot actually be dealt with through the relationship. It is interesting to note that in some cases relationship violence is a dynamic between an intimidator character and a poor me, and can be a way of generating high levels of sexual passion. The side effects are injury and guilt. Neither violence nor total withdrawal are part of a loving relationship, but are mechanisms of control.

Putting that aside, you have to ask yourself, “Which of the three levels of passion do I normally use?” and following on from that “What change in behaviour would I have to be responsible for in order to regulate my own temperature into passion?” Whatever you decide is the change, it will always be the very thing, the identity that you have resisted being, and the one your partner reflects back for you as what you dislike most about them. Isn’t that interesting?

Let us explore this just a little. Life is a game and as such is determined by freedoms, barriers and purposes. Too much freedom or too many barriers give rise to a non-purpose game, that is no game at all. The seeming purposelessness of existence is totally cruel, with the only way out being suicidal. Any movement that promises unlimited freedom is bound to fail, just as any system that applies unlimited boundaries must. When the relationship between barriers and freedoms becomes too unbalanced, unhappiness prevails.

The angry and violent person has boundaries that are easily triggered, and are too close. They often want to push away and separate. They have a feeling of being overwhelmed and pressured. They have too much barrier. In order to turn their heat down, their passion down, they must relax their boundaries allowing themselves to become free.

The indifferent and withdrawing person has boundaries that are too loose, they desire too much freedom. They are already separate, and often somewhat selfish. They have a fear of confronting and insist on being themselves. They must tighten their boundaries and plan their lives more effectively. These people need to be clear about their needs, be willing to engage another, and generate more heat, more passion.

Attitudes to sex are still one of the major problems in the western world. Sex is polluted or distorted by unresolved anger or fear. That is too much or too little control. This means we are either too hot or too cold, and in that condition will struggle to obtain the opposite.

Sex is the only activity that is totally reserved for the intimate personal relationship. If is not reserved, there are no barriers to free and open sex, then, in most cases there will be unhappiness. Sex is also the most obvious way in which friction is generated in a safe and controllable fashion. In alchemy a certain form of sex is the fourth gate called Conjunctio.

However, we have to realise Conjunctio is neither “fucking” nor making love, neither physical nor emotional, but a method of generating passion. Through passion, sex connects and generates heat through friction, which begins at the physical level, raises the power of love through expression at the throat and explodes the mind, and opening into the vast plane of unmanifest spirit. Passionate response leads directly to spiritual connection, and if this can be done with awareness, then it leads to enlightenment. This is the way of Tantra, of the Tao, and of Western Magick.

The application of this pathway may be challenging for some people, for others it might present as exciting. The first step is to learn some tools to work with, and a different way of exploring the universe. You have to become courageous, a word derived from the French coeur, the heart; it is a heartfelt path, big hearted, not soft hearted. Columbus was courageous. This is called “the Path with Heart”.

Like Christopher Columbus, my hope in the world is that we can all discover a new world of equal riches here today by sailing towards the west, beyond the already known world. Expanding our experience, our vision and moving beyond the limitations of the already known. As a scientist I want to have proof that it works, and yet I understand that there is actually no such thing as objective proof. Every experiment is mediated through somebody’s experience, even the reading of instruments, it is always subjective. You have to decide for yourself what is useful and what is not.

Francis is one of the foremost practitioners of Neurolinguistic Programming in Auckland, New Zealand. Private one-to-one sessions are available on Skype world-wide.