“Let every man work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord”?
The above is essentially both an admonition against that dogma and scripted performance that is the wide road and an invitation to the narrow path not oft trod, the path of spiritual freedom.
So, what does that have to do with oyster spit? Well, everything.
First, let's define individual as unique, indivisible, undivided, single minded and so forth.
“Let every man...” Allow each individual to...
“work out...” Strive, make constructive effort to bring into existence, build, effect...
“his own...” Personal possession...
“salvation...” Repair, rebuild, reconstruction, rehabilitation, a process...
“with fear and trembling...” Just what it says...
“before...” In the presence of...
“the Lord.” Jesus said “God is Love”.
“Let each individual strive to effect the frightful undertaking of his personal reconstruction in the presence of, and with the support of, Divine Love. Now it doesn't sound so scary.
But the process itself is scary. You do it on your own. You get moral support but rarely anything more. You make it happen or it just doesn't get done.
Becoming saved and the process of salvation are distinctly different things. Saved is a contract. You review the terms and conditions and you either agree that you and the other party will be bound by those terms and conditions or you don't agree and you walk away. It is a one time transaction. Saved will get you in the gate but that's about it, except you can use the restrooms. Salvation gets you a free pass to all of the fun in the playground.
Salvation is generally a loooong process and it varies. Tim, Tom, Sally and Sue are unique individuals, therefore the process will be a unique experience for each of them. One process does work for all but one size does not fit all.
Salvation is actually an unalienable right. Its been around as long as time. Anyone can use it freely in singular or group applications. Authoritarian and monetarily oriented organizations are inclined to abuse it just plain mightily.
The salvation process is described with adequate detail in that parable in Christian literature about the man who found a pearl of great value and who then sold everything and bought the pearl.
The story begins much earlier, on the day that you are conceived. From that moment forward you are subjected to impressions just like an oyster covering an individual, unique grain of sand that it finds irritating. The world finds unique individuals irritating.
Impressions from within the womb, impressions from without. Impressions from mother and father. Physical impressions, emotional impressions, physic impressions and more. Good impressions, bad impressions and neutral impressions. Layer upon layer for nine months.
And then you have to be born. Water world goes away and gravity impinges heavily while you are being crushed into your new reality. Blinding lights, loud frightening noises, cold air, strange hands handling, and a whole new array of physical, emotional and physic impressions. Some pretty hard layers here.
Parents train you, as the world trained them of course. School conditions you. Society makes you approve and like what it says you should and dictates what is taboo. This goes on for the rest of what seems to be your life unless you become aware that something is just not right.
The layers thicken and begin to demonstrate what appears to be a self sustaining life. The avatar comes into existence. At casual glance you seem to be a unique individual. On the surface all is as should be but that vague, irritating feeling that something is amiss doesn't shake easily. It tends to persist.
If you cauterize the irritation then the avatar walks through life in your stead. This is the multitudes who prefer to believe the lie and live the avatar. Among this multitude are a vast number of the contractually saved who have chosen the wide road over the narrow process of salvation and those challenges inherent in that process.
Some others will discern a peculiar viewpoint through which they perceive both the false life of the avatar and the true life of the unique but undeveloped self at the core of the avatar. The sense of value of the pearl becomes shifted so that the value becomes what is within the pearl and not the pearl itself.
It is not practical or even possible to undo a billion layers of impressions. Only a scant few are visible to start with. The rest are inextricably interleaved into a single contiguous thing. To crack the shell is to shatter the undeveloped individual potential at the core. The bond is very tight.
The essence of the individual being non-material, or spiritual, allows that salvation, the process of building the undeveloped individual, can take place apart from the avatar. As the potential of the true and unique individual is redirected away from the avatar towards the new construction the avatar fades and eventually disappears. This does not sit well with either the avatar or the world oyster. Not at all! Fill the house as you clean it, so to speak, lest the oyster be back with a vengeance to encrust the new work.
The new construction, the new you, is simply whatever you would like it to be. It is, after all, you. The initial challenge is that you have never been you in a developed sense. Nor have you actually been the avatar. All you have ever been is a unique individual potential at the core of the avatar pearl. You have to sell off everything you own, which is the avatar, while simultaneously investing in a new true self which you have never been.
Just being magically re-birthed is out of the question. You have to go through water world first. Then you can enter the world and begin to attain maturity. This doesn't take as long as it took with the avatar, but its not instant by any means. You can safely reckon ... years...
If you keep the avatar you loose the real you. If you loose the avatar you keep the the real you. That's written down somewhere. Its practical. You can't save pieces or recycle. No cut and paste. No old cloth on new.
Who would you like to spend most of your time with? That's what you do any way so it may be a good place to start, but whatever works for you and its entirely up to you. No-one knows what satisfies you. No-one knows how you should fashion your new self. No-one knows anything about your own path. Not even you at this point.
So, into the long, dark night of Oz you go. Uncharted territory. The ground beneath your feet disappears. The sky moves out past the edge of the known universe. The four cardinal directions wander off to wherever cardinal points go when they don't want to be found. And you notice that your clothes are gone! Naked as a newborn babe except that you have time ahead in water world before you get to newborn.
The seed of the unique individual you swells and begins to expand and take the shape of those impressions it receives only this time around you control those impressions and no-one else. What you shape and fashion your new self into is strictly your business. There are no other opinions in the entire universe.
Upward is the trend of the spiral, and wider, until the water breaks and the newly born individual begins the process of learning through trial and error. The road straightens somewhat to meander in the general direction of the finished character which you established in the starting point.
It probably be a good idea to ignore the math at this time. Otherwise you might inadvertently realize that gestation is a rather very short time compared to some reasonable degree of maturity. Could dampen any enthusiasm that might be present. Should just maybe leave that alone for now.
Meander is something of a relative term. One might say that the cars on a roller coaster meander or one might allude to the course of a canoe in a hurricane as meandering. Newborn logic is the rule; if this doesn't work then try that. Seems painfully slow, and sometimes painful, but soon enough you will figure out that you can push the chair to the counter and reach those cookies mom pushed to the back.
Over time newborn logic gives way to the basic experiential intelligence of youth. Slooooowly. Ups and downs, bumps and bruises, skinned knees and occasionally more serious incidents, frustrations, fatigue, anger, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, want to give up but no not really, probssible (spelling correct) close encounters with death, cut and fit nope do it again, try this, try that, be creative, un-create, try something else and so forth. The experience is similar to growing up as an avatar only this time you are driving, in the dark, with no headlights. Meandering.
In addition to the above you have traveling companions with the word companions ominously embraced in quotation marks. It should be noted that if you are hiking with your God or just your self then quote marks do not apply to God or self.
There is darkness which, oddly enough, is both your friend in that you really do not wish to see what makes those noises in the night and your enemy in that all external points of illumination and orientation are strictly prohibited. Candles are eaten on sight so just curse the dark; its no big deal. The feel of the brick road under your feet in the dark is the only illumination, but its enough.
The oyster is in lock step behind you, wading through its own drool with single minded determination to lay encrustation on the new you. It'll give up and go away after a long time.
The avatar, dragging along farther back and loosing ground, is steadily projecting icky, irritating fear of death, oh pity me, this is so unfair and similarly distracting stuff. Its trying to help the oyster get within spittin' distance. However, the avatar will eventually fall beyond sight and dissolve back into the sea to be reborn as oyster spit.
There may be other traveling companions based on when you thought you were the avatar. They may or may not be of consequence. That, of course, remains to be seen in the dark.
The above may seem a bit gloomy because it is, at first. The trip is increasing interleaved with successes and cookies and victories and satisfactions and such stuff as that. Eventually (recall...years...) you will see a light at the end of the long night. That would be you if you choose to finish, and if you do finish you will find your self in possession of a product, that being yourself, well worth the cost. If this were not true, the personal salvation process would not hold the record for being number one on the chart of seriously interesting personal investments.
The night ends but the process doesn't. You can spend the rest of your new life tweaking, tuning, polishing and improving your new unique, individual self if you wish, or not. Just whatever makes you happy. The playground has no back fence. Just keeps on goin'.
So, oyster spit.