What I'm doing this year—modern mystic

Filed under mm • Tagged: Personal

In 2023, I’m trying something different.

Instead of covering the usual cornucopia of productivity, tech, social commentary & mental health, I will be doubling down on what I care most about: meditation, wisdom and awakening.

I will be doing this on my personal website, but under a new banner: modern mystic. This takeover will last a year. I have other themes that will follow in the coming years. This is a long game.

Focusing on everything is not focusing on anything. Creating unreasonably high standards across such a broad area is an excuse to not go deep on the one I have the most to talk about. (Yes—self-sabotage.)

I have been meditating for 15 years and quietly writing notes for just as long. Lots of weird and wonderful things have happened. All my strangest thoughts and strongest convictions lie here. Several shifts have turned my life inside out and the secular skeptic that started out on this journey is in a different place now.

Do we need more spiritual writings?

There is so much out there, but a lot of dialogue—especially contemporary—that falls under the banner of Enlightenment, awakening and self-realisation is misleading and harmful.

It creates unnecessary obstructions to engaging with wisdom and ties itself up with many undesirable neighbours: New Age superstition, positive thinking, counter-culture sentiment, whilst throwing punches at a series of pre-ordained enemies—Science, modernity, language, logic, the West—in a tussle for legitimacy.

Other teachings water-down spirituality in the name of pragmatism or utility. As if you just needed the right tool to extract the truth from reality.

But spirituality is not a lever. It is not a key to a better building. It is not a way of optimising your productivity—that would be like using a space rocket to visit your local Post Office.

We do need a spiritual perspective to reflect back our full stature.

And our cultural stuttering on this front leads many good people to search for meaning in bizarre places, whilst failing to recognise their own divine sovereignty.

The true spirituality is a recognition of a holiness already in progress, a radical experiment in the arena of your own awareness and an adventure in unpacking what this means.

I’d like to talk about the spiritual path as if style and excellence mattered. As if beauty and coherence were primary to reality, not just a crust over the inner meaning. Not just to find the right tools, but to talk of a magical, miraculous reality as if we were already sharing in it—because we are.

I’m not sure what order these writings will come out in. I do not have a plan. But I do have a problem with perfectionism and this is me following my energy without planning it into an early grave.

All posts will be available on this page. As themes emerge I’ll group the posts in different ways so that the overall narrative is always evolving.

At the end of this year, Penguin will drop by and offer me a book deal—eternal renown and abundant riches will undoubtedly follow. But I’m not banking on it. I would do it anyway. It’s all I think about and I believe it’s the most foundational understanding a person can cultivate.

My ask to you is: please tell your friends who are interested in spiritual practice—whether prayer, yoga or meditation—to follow along. I will share new posts as they’re published on Twitter, but you can also drop your email in the box to get notified about new writings.

—Dan Bartlett
1 Jan 2023

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