An Unrelenting Remembrance
by Kevin D. Annett
No one can prevent you from living in accordance with your own nature; therefore what is sacred lies within your own mind and its capacity to direct your life according to justice and integrity. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Someone asked me the other day whether I mind all the smears and slagging I’ve taken in the Canadian media. Why should I? came my reply. I was first attacked as a public enemy by the Vancouver press when I was only seventeen.
Forty five years later, I cherish how early in my life I learned of the power of the Establishment to fabricate hysteria, lies and mud slinging – and of my own capacity to overcome all of it. That knowledge is part of my inner ballast whenever the panic and madness of those around me threatens to overwhelm my little ship.
None of what we endure today is new. Any genuine radical who understands their own experience over a lifetime can recognize how completely vulnerable are the Powers That Be Not to the simplest act of defiance by any of us. I first learned that up close as a teenager when I made the headlines and earned the hatred of many simply by trying to democratize the public school system against every vested interest in sight.
I relate some of this voyage of discovery in my autobiography Unrelenting: Between Sodom and Zion. (Amazon, 2016) I re-read it last night and recalled like a warm wave in my guts the shining truth that I have always been my own rock and foundation, and thereby have remained unfailing and endured. As much as I love creation’s mystery and what some call God, I have always felt that divinity is as close to me as the pulse of my own compassion and the reach of my integrity. Otherwise, how can it be real?
Such soulful self-reliance is a difficult idea for many of today’s prospective freedom fighters who lack the courage that comes from knowing and believing in oneself after having gone through the fire. We encounter who we are only on the firing lines of life, where we must make a sudden choice whether to either hold on to or surrender our selves. Human conflict is at its core a mere stage setting for the playing out of such a higher drama of soul contest.
Sadly, a narcissistic culture like ours bars even the most devout seeker of good from experiencing such life-wrenching tests. Is not the most continual refrain of well-wishers towards me the admonition to “Stay safe”, rather than to “Stay true”? How many times has the bravest and most committed companion fallen away on the eve of our battles with church and state when personal danger or loss suddenly becomes possible? Too many times to recount.
Part of the malaise, too, is that we occupy a sad, discouraged age that sees only what is wrong while finding no capacity in a single human life to create meaning and justice. The enormity of evil seems to squelch anything that you or I might do. But the problem is not the apparent power of our adversary but our general refusal to engage it directly on our own terms rather than its terms. For few people today understand how within themselves and all of us lies the full potential and majesty of the universe, which finds expression through right action once we have broken free of fear and complicity. And such action can break down the mightiest tower of wrong, over time. I know this to be true, because I have achieved it.
I don’t doubt that this estrangement of people from their own innate power is why so many of them can’t accept that alone and neglected, I sparked the process that brought down a pope and three cardinals in Rome, and forced Canada’s war crimes to light. When asked how I accomplished this, my answer comes by remembering the void that faced me the morning I conducted my first exorcism outside the Vatican: I faced not a living entity but a dead nothingness. When I withdrew my inner adherence to its illusion it began to crumble: not just spiritually but in the world.
The tornado that struck Rome the next day was creation’s reminder to me that nothing has power over us once we find our own; and that if we form the ground of any battle, even the strongest enemy must respond, and thereby be weakened.
Nobody can learn this lesson if they are caught up in the moment and ignore the lessons of history and their own experience. The long view dispels our fears and strips the mask of power away from the corporate system that needs to have us feeling alone, cornered and powerless. In truth, through the lens of a wide view of our own history and what we have achieved, the rulers of the world, visible and otherwise, are stripped naked and exposed as nothing. Acquire such sight and no power on earth can hinder or oppress you any longer.
As the end of my mortality approaches I see with a deep and calm clarity how my life’s purpose has been to witness to the inherent power within one man or woman to overturn whole systems through the forceful integrity of their own self-sacrificing actions. A Cromwell, a Moses, a Jesus or you or I are set apart by our consecrated devotion to the mind and will of God that is in truth our very own. Let that light shine in you and all things are possible.
At the first press conference I ever held, just after my seventeenth birthday, a battery of paid-to-be -hostile reporters confronted me and my comrades who were organizing Vancouver high school students into a union that would overturn the power structure in the schools. After an older guy berated us as “little Red Guards trying to tear down the system”, he asked us,
“What is it that you young people ultimately want, anyway? Is it money? Power? What?”
I couldn’t refuse such a gleaming straight line. Sporting my impish grin that seems to infuriate the shit out of my enemies, I said to the sweating Neanderthal,
“None of that. We want a new world”
And none of them knew what to say.