Archive for February, 2010
I do not know the scholarly inner meaning and origins of the word sacred, but I have considered at length what the term means to my experience. I found its meaning to be quite simple, but not what I had thought aloud before. A sacred space is created for a purpose and protected from all energies and forces that would interfere and detract from it. A sacred object is similar in that it bears an energy or spirit that is potent and not cross cut by many interfering forces. A sacred person has usually gone through many sacred spaces and events and has been changed by them in such a way as to carry their energy.
In a state of being where conscious attention can be a powerful influence, mystery becomes a necessary component of the sacred. Mystery protects the space and that which resides within it from the interference of the minds, emotions and intentions of those who have not chosen to enter the sacred space in the state of consciousness that will further its purpose.
In essence what I am describing as sacredness is very much like the function of an organelle within a cell. Organelles are folds of membrane within a cell which separate a chemical or biological process from the inner space of the cell at large. Organelles allow processes to occur within the cell that would otherwise damage the cell’s broader life functions or would be impossible due to the biochemical noise of the cell’s inner fluids.
The sacred is that which is protected and inviolate. In a living tradition this protection is not for its own sake, not for glorification, but for the protection of processes, psychological, biophysical, energetic, metaphysical, that would be destroyed, inhibited or destructive in the space of everyday consciousness.
Esquire has published a beautiful article on one of my luminaries, someone from whom I have benefited immeasurably. I am referring to Roger Ebert.
I am grateful that he has shared the immense richness of his life with us all.
I would suggest that anyone engaged in the human experience of life read the article, but especially to those who are in love with the written word.
I took the following quote from the article. Only read it if you do not intend to read the article. As with most wisdom, its real depth is lost if you weren’t along for the journey to find it.
I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out. – Roger Ebert
I woke up in a dream again. I was standing in my bedroom where my body was sleeping. It had been going on for sometime. People I know and don’t know would come and say and do emotionally hurtful things to me, but I realized that I was dreaming and they were just images. Knowing this I tried to take the images apart and make them disappear. Aside from very simulated looking alien guts, what remained were small fuzzy clouds of darkness that didn’t look like they belonged in the reality of the dream. I could just see two of them on the upper edge of my vision, but not in direct sight. I knew they were small entities that were trying to goad and hurt me and that if I made a sound that the music had taught me they would be driven away. I opened my mouth wide, as I would in waking life, and tried to make the sound. Nothing would come out. I tried again. Nothing. I tried a third time. Nothing.
I tried to wake myself up at this point. I was very lucid and aware of my actions and was surprised I had not already woken up. I slapped myself in the face. Repeatedly. I could feel the sting on my lips, but I didn’t return the physical world. I was trying desperately to get out and the dream was starting to run and deform in the process. I felt like my consensual reality was dissolving, which isn’t very strange because my dreams are almost always extremely protean, as if the physical reality I am presented with is a conceit that is barely being held in place, but this was somehow different, as if my mind was running and warping with my surroundings. Over the last several years when I go lucid in a dream it is very different than the usual playful experience that most people report. When I go lucid I realize that I am in a dream and reactively try to return to my energetic perception of reality. At that point the dream world usually dissolves into a two dimensional swirl of color at the bottom or side of my vision, almost like a screen I was being forced to stare at. When I try to leave the dream there has always been a force violently trying to push me back into it, to make me look at the screen. In the dream that I am describing to you now I couldn’t get out at all. I was trapped. This is why I think I started to feel that I was going mad. I needed to leave that reality, but I couldn’t.
Somehow I realized that if I found a real human being and asked them to wake me up it might happen. I ran out of my room and down the stairs of my dream house. I felt like I might lose my mind at any moment. I found someone I knew in real life sitting in my kitchen. It was the real representation of that person, not just an image. I started screaming at him to wake up over and over again. Reality skipped and I saw some one I’ve never met, then I woke up.
My heart wasn’t pounding and I didn’t feel like I had just been through an emotional ordeal. Aside from my memory and the intellectual knowledge of what I had just been through, it felt like I might just forget the dream as most are forgotten after waking. I immediately found the person I had asked to wake me up in the dream and told him what happened, both to help me remember and to help restore some harmony between my intellectual and my emotional/physical perception of reality. Edit: Later, after I wrote this post, I started to behave like someone coming out of a high stress situation, e.i., lack of coordination, nervousness, but still little to no emotional affect.
In hindsight, I am disturbed, but also pleased with my reactions after going lucid. I am disturbed because I remember being as lucid as I am now, but unable to wake myself, something that hasn’t happened in a long time, and because I couldn’t even begin to escape the dream reality. It warped and bent, but I couldn’t get out. I am pleased because I recognized the entities in my dream and attempted to do something that would probably have driven them off and remove me from the dream environment. That I wasn’t able to use the sounds that the music has given me in the dream is another reason I’m disturbed.
I have the impression that something is not happy that I chose to write this down. I could feel something poking at the back of my head and blanking my memories the moment I decided to do this and started writing. I wish I could write down everything that happened, all the ways that I tried to wake myself even before going fully lucid and… There is something. One of the entity images entered by stepping through the outer wall of my room. It was like I could see a hall that immediately closed behind it. There was something about the walls in hindsight, like they shimmered. I feel like something put me in a petree dish and dumped little entities in with me to watch what would happen.
I’ve updated my shamanism page based on my experiences over the last year.
Six months ago, near the beginning of July, I asked to open and align myself with what I now refer to as the Music from Beyond the World. Since that time I have been undergoing nearly continuous alteration to my physical systems. I’ve talked about this before in terms of the work that was being done on my ears, neck and throat. This work as progressed to include my spine, ribs, lungs, stomach and I suspect my heart. This work will occur whenever I clear my thoughts and allow the energy to flow. Waves of energy and muscle contraction will pass through my body in ways that I could not consciously control if I wished to. The waves of muscle contraction include my sinuses and eustachian tubes, as well as other muscle systems that I have very little or no conscious control over. I suspect my cranio-sacral tissue and mesenteries are included in these contractions. I will also be guided to move my skeletal muscles in very finely tuned and controlled ways. The rapid neck movements are an example I have described previously. The guided movements have taken on many other forms that I have not talked about, such as almost dance-like movements which adjust my spine and stomach. More recently my arms will be guided in motions that I can only describe as waving or spiraling. The arm motions stress or work on joints and tendons that see very little action, so I reach my limit relatively quickly.
The process of physical adjustment has been maddeningly slow for me. I have gotten into trouble several times by allowing too much work to be done too quickly. There have been very few external physical changes to mark my progress. Only a slight increase in the symmetry of my face.
The most noticeable changes have been internal. My throat muscles have shifted so that I can produce tones I was never able to reach before. Along with this change I have been guided to use these tones in my healing work with other people. I have seen and heard other healers use sound and tones, but I have no training and would never have tried to copy what I have heard others do. I just started doing this over the course of several weeks. There was no decision or intent. Another internal change is to the structure of my neck muscles and bones. I can literally shake my head and body like a dog drying itself. Before I began this process I would have strained something immediately if I tried that.
I do not know what the ultimate result of this process will be. I know that I am being cleared of that which limits the flow of energy in my body and that the work I am doing will allow me to transmit energy, and the energy of the music in particular, more clearly, but beyond that I do not know.
One of the reasons my rate of posting has decreased here is that it is very difficult, and not always helpful to others, for me to write about the physical process. It’s long term and very repetitive, much like an exercise regime.
Beautiful and very fitting chapter art is being provided by one of Mac’s friends, Mike Clelland of Hidden Experience.
I’m very happy that Mac’s final project will see the light of day. I will definitely be ordering a copy.
I give you the Memetic Fauna of Nemo Ramjet. This is how the world really looks and works for me. More or less.
I open my mouth and my breath begins to wrack as if I have been sobbing. Soon this eases and a tone emerges from the depths of my throat. It is the essence of the sound that a crying person releases just before they are rendered incapable of making any sound at all. The tone touches something in my stomach and it feels as if this object of pain is being lifted out of me. As it rises out of me a weight lifts and my eyes moisten. The tone ebbs. I have thought of nothing and I am not sad, yet I feel as if I have been crying for a long time. I am left to recover.
I’ve been enjoying the literature, photo, art and culture blog Throwing Down Flowers.
Of particular interest to the topics I tend to discuss was this post, taken from A Brief History of Anxiety.
“And let us say, further, that a person who is headstrong enough to open their eyes and their heart to the full depth and weight of the world is inviting in everything out there — both evil and good, both dark and light — and the sheer bravery of their openness enables them to gain profound insight into the human condition. It also fucks them up. It may even make them more prone to stick their head in an oven than to engage in self-promotional chitchat on Jay Leno.
It is difficult to return from harrowing experiences with the energy or inclination to formulate a catchy sales pitch for what one has seen. I am not saying that it’s impossible for authentically engaged artists to willingly go out afterward and discuss what they’ve discovered about the world. What I am saying is that most of them would rather crawl across broken glass (which in some ways they have) than to pull the kinds of narcissistic, attention-getting stunts at the level that is required in our present era to bring merit into alignment with acclaim. Imagine a man returning from the rough, dark mines of Madagascar with a gem. That is what he wishes you to see. Look at the treasure that his toiling has unearthed: look at that, not at him.” – Patricia Pearson, A Brief History of Anxiety
This description of the artists journey bears a striking resemblance to some of the more popular modern interpretations of the shamanic experience, a la McKenna and Harner, more or less. This is an interpretation in which the shaman goes outside the bounds of normal experience and reality for the purpose of bringing back new ideas, experiences and ways of being for the rest of the tribe. McKenna’s ideas on the relationship between schizophrenia and shamanism do justice to the experience of exiting consensus reality, but says comparatively little, as far as I’ve seen, on the stress resulting from what you tend to bring back in with you. This relates to a question I’ve often considered. How many people have spontaneous spiritual awakenings / transcendental experiences / shamanic initiations / alien visitations in which they receive the metaphorical gem from the dark mines, some insight, ability, task, mandate, enlightenment, and then spend the rest of their lives hiding from that experience, hoping against hope it will never find them again.