It’s been many years…
Many, many years ago, in my youth, I had a practical lived experience of some kind of vital awakened quality to the cosmos.
At the time I was spending many hours, nights and days in the forest and mountains and lakes of Montana, Washington, and Idaho. I was also munching periodically on various psychedelics which may lead the reader to surmise that that aforementioned “awaken quality” might be easily explained in mundane terms. In those wilderness contexts, and indeed on frequent occasions in more urban locations, I found myself continuously stumbling into a sense that I and my universal context constituted some sort of a living and conscious relational dynamic.
There are many ancient as well as New Age perspectives that endorsed some similar view. Some might claim God and evoke the importance of reverence and prayer and that this divine personification can grant favors and benefit. Others claim universal laws and prescribe behaviors along a karmic code in order to keep to the good side of fortune. Still others suggest cultivating a mind of discipline and affirmation in order to give birth to a desired self and life experience.
In those days, I was living an embodied experience of a wakeful force flowing throughout the cosmos, one separate from me, but loving and kind and conscientious in its relationship to me as if I was its child. Dancing through treetops, down cliff sides, and up into the air, even into the more subtle field of human relations, it was as though I was held aloft, with support rising to meet me effortlessly and everywhere.
This force was love, it was music, it was magic, it was all around me, and timeless.
I think the clearest and most succinct anecdotal expression of this experience is described in the story of an afternoon on the rooftop of my home, just slightly up one of the five valleys coming together in the Missoula basin.
A friend and I had climbed up to the roof of our second story to take in the view of the valley one summer afternoon with storm clouds swirling about. As we sat, I was attempting to put into words my experience, fantastic as it sounded. The experience was literally incredible when put to words, and I was striving to convey what felt so true to me.
I said to him, “it’s as if I could call forth lightning simply by pointing to the sky there, there, and there.”
As I said the words, I gestured with my finger to three distinct points across the wide view of the valley and at the apex of each pointed extension, lightning did indeed crackle down from the sky as if on command. Not once, but three times in clear succession and perfectly matched with my outstretched finger.
I had said “it’s as if…” But having meant it, I was unsurprised with the result. My friend meanwhile stood agape, incredulous with what had transpired.
This period in my life was a profound source of faith and confidence that would carry with me for years and profoundly deepen my sense of spirituality. In fact, a few short years later when I moved from the Pacific Northwest to the coastal desert of San Diego, I was quite sure that I have discovered in material terms that thing which all religions is simply pointing towards.
I later found this insight described in ancient Sufi terms and have since come to understand and see its ripples and reflections in all of the wisdom traditions and religions I have come across.
The crackling lightning magical quality of that time faded, perhaps with my separation from the wilderness, perhaps with shifts in my developmental perspective. Many years passed without the dramatic qualities that had been somewhat commonplace for a short while.
There was one other period in my life years later where for about a week, during a very specific practice where I simply said “yes” to anything and everything that appeared before me, that I had a similar experience of the cosmos seemingly rising up to meet me, as though the physical earth itself was alive and holding me like a mother in her bosom. Confluences of event, conversation, time and circumstance all seemed to conspire to fill my life with goodness and grace.
Today I still have an appreciation for the magic and beauty of existence, but perhaps somewhere I have lost my faith. I long for those times when I felt invincibility protected by a living force beyond my small mind and identity. I wonder why, as I write these words do I now feel so often separate and alone?
My dear brother Dave who reads these words religiously and comments almost as often, is living proof that I am not alone. And he is not alone, others too read this journal and reflect for me regularly love radiating back in response to my effort. So how do I feel so alone? It defies reason, or does it?
I was inspired to this thread today by Dave’s reply to yesterday’s entry. A true friend, he held my feet to the fire ?, demanding accountability for some particularly narrow thinking on my part.
I said the phrase “walking a fine line between terror and oblivion.” Dave pointed out that this sounded like the poly vagal system was locked in pain and emotion creating a kind of prison for the mind.
First in my defense, that “ fine line” was in my mind more akin to that described in my favorite film, “The Razor’s Edge” – a precise path of fidelity to the highest of our aspirations.
Of course that is not to dispute the righteousness of Dave’s message. A clearer admonishment towards a fierce faith. Dave recommends: “I, Kabir, have a superb track record for complex positive adaptation… So ‘I’ and my MettaSenses will adapt to this too!” And do it WELL⚡️‼️
He asks “doesn’t this dilemma have positive exit doors… Not end games or doors to metaphorical ‘hells’? “
And yet this is a matter for some faith.
Dave goes on, “So ‘realize’ in your mind-work some Peace, while you explore, dream and work like hell, to get through doors, gates, unknowns in your transformation‼️”
This morning I woke a little before 5 AM to that all-too-familiar unsettled feeling of nervous anxiety. I do work, I do Dave, to shuu, shuu this primitive emotional fearfulness. Generally speaking I am successful, and perhaps, just maybe, the force of it has lessened in the face of those efforts.
I had rested for six hours at least, not bad for me, and sat up, happy for the early rise, to practice meditation in favor of what may be.
A few hours later, Caitlin arrived as did our new care friend, here for her second morning of training, the first where she would lead the efforts, and the last before she and I are on our own tomorrow.
Caitlin is an excellent communicator and trainer and things were going very well.
One of the ferocious apparitions testing my faith and practice these days is the recent bowel obstruction and (likely stress-induced) slowing of that system. Today, as luck would have it, things were going well and the morning evacuation was destined to produce a larger than usual output. A mixed blessing.
Our friend whose name for now will remain anonymous, had started the day with a little anxiety as the babysitter was late, causing her to worry whether she would arrive to her new “job” on time. She did, but not without the start to her nervous system.
The uncertainty of her experience with something so tender as evacuation of the rectum of this new and beloved stranger, compounded the residual anxiety, driving her to a sense of nausea, lightheadedness, and distress. At a certain point she simply needed to retire out the bedroom door and onto the deck into the morning fresh air to recapture herself.
In the frenetics of the moment, the sliding door was left ajar and the air in the room began to cool. A few minutes later, Caitlin followed her out, coming back in a moment to retrieve the blood pressure cuff, concern for her state.
As I lied there in the cooling room wondering if this new person, like the last, and a handful before them might vanish without warning and without a trace. Certainly, I never hold it against someone when this kind of work proves too delicate, too intimate, or too frightening in some way, and it is not unreasonable for that to be the case.
The punchline however was distinct. If this new friend decides to depart without warning tomorrow morning, an outcome I now think quite unlikely, I could very easily find myself in a position with no care available until 4 PM on any of the five consecutive days hereafter. This is a very fine line with certainly some version of hell on the other side.
I’ll not dwell on the scenario, but suffice it to say it starts most likely with a 911 call, and levels up an already intense pressure on multiple dimensions of the system of my life. I hadn’t realized how close I was to the razors edge until this stark reminder this morning.
I did mention feeling alone. I mentioned also that there are true friends, filled with love, focusing in my direction. I think the degree to which I still feel anxiety in this journey is the degree to which my faith wanders from the perfect alignment that I was graced to experience in my youth.
Were I to fall too harshly, I think there are a handful of family members that would come to my aid, perhaps not to rescue, but at least to mitigate the wreckage. Were that to pass, of course I should use such an experience to practice more fully and with more commitment, to realign to such a faith as to which I could give words:
My eyes see only God, my mouth tastes only God, my nose smells only God, my ears hear only God, my skin touch only God, my mind know only God.
At the same time, I do not want to dishonor by dismissal the condition of our modern society. Of course in the village of long ago I would be surely dead by my injuries, but in the fantasy of that village, I would be cared for by a community whose resources would equalize to ensure that I not fall too far.
Today, in the village in which I live, the village of millions, too many have fallen too far for me to take hubris and imagine that I too could not slip between those cracks. For karma, for good, for blindness, for purity, for what I do not know, my condition today is not one rich in material community. Indeed those in my daily experience and physical presence all radiate love to me, yet each of them are pressured by their circumstances to not hold to tightly to this incomprehensible tear unfolding before them.
Those many more living at a material distance, whose friendship is expressed through text, electronic mail, and the occasional telephone call or video chat, are much more simply witness to whatever it is unfolding here.
Perhaps I do have some faith left, the words of Isaiah are never far from me:
“When thou passest into waters, I am with thee, And into floods, they do not overflow thee, When thou goest into fire, thou art not burnt, And a flame doth not burn against thee.”
Yet somehow I still have work to do to grow up that certain faith and eyes awake of the child me nearly 3 decades behind now.
Thank you Dave, for your certainty, your faith, your commitment, and your admonitions. My feet walk only the path of God, that Buddha nature which is my nature, WILL find the way.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…