Exploring the Human Condition: altered states of consciousness

Archive for March, 2018

Places and Aspects

We are a tiny self-aware, conscious speck in an ever-expanding, holographic, fractal universe, along with countless other beings of differing purpose and abilities, also moving along in a predetermined, almost orchestrated journey from birth to death and into whatever we discover beyond.  If you accept the idea that the character you play in this life is but one aspect of yourself, and that your soul may indeed be capable of many things unimagined, it truly relieves some of the burdens and concerns.  If who I am and the life that I am living is but one aspect of my total self, and in some other place, indeed places, there are other versions of myself living some slightly altered script in the ongoing drama we perpetuate called being human, then like many others before me, the first question to mind is, why aren’t we aware of these others aspects of ourselves?

The standard answer is that we couldn’t handle it.  We hear that a lot lately, but then we have a lot more questions these days.  Maybe it’s like so many other things in life, we just really don’t need to know everything.  Maybe all we need to deal with is just what we see, and touch, and hear…  In much of the modern world now, we move so fast, there is no time for inner reflections.  Evolution has just taken a quantum leap, as hard as some ruling factions tried to prevent it.  But as fast as we might proceed in one direction, it is very important to be mindful of the other, for in all things, positive growth depends on balance.  A true master is fluent in both worlds, inner and outer.

For every pathway you can find here on Earth to explore, imagine what lies inside the spiritual realms, the places accessible during meditation, like the places many shamans access through the trained use of medicinal plants.  The bodhisattvas have traveled these inner levels, these inner places, for countless centuries.  Many of us in the western world have serious trouble just getting to sleep at night.  Maybe if more people learned the art of focus, the practice of studied breathing, and were willing to face and let go of fear, our journeys in this world would go from unwilling participant to self-disciplined master of the universe.

I guess I’m not doing so bad, in this aspect.  Everything is relative.  No matter your achievements or outward trappings, the inner strength and knowing you can call to bare, is what never changes.  They can try and split that stuff into a thousand parts and every single one will still contain a certain spark that is you — that one indefinable aspect of consciousness you have awakened into.  This moment is all the focus we need, and yet the idea that somewhere else, in some other way or place, I am living some other type of existence, simultaneous to this one, ignites many questions as yet unanswered. Perhaps like the rungs in a big wheel, there could be many versions of this movie running at the same time, just as there are many people and families, living and dead, in a fractal sense.

When enough aspects of one thing or another congregate in one particular area for whatever purpose, a place is created.  It’s not so hard to imagine multiple places or dimensions truly exist side-by-side, so to speak, when now we know anything is possible.  It makes for a more light-hearted day I think, just to know that whatever we do or don’t do right today, is simply one aspect of the many things we could be doing, and probably are.  We just get hung up in the explanations.  Journey ever onward!

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Seeing 63

She asked me if I was scared.  I felt like screaming at her “DUH!  How insensitive and clueless could any one person possibly be?  This one directed statement has nagged at my soul endless hours already, and it must be dealt with.

Fairy tales are great here on Earth, but what about in the ethers?  What about that?  What about the spiritual realms we know little to nothing about.  Like a great garden, shamans the world over know it takes years to develop a strong spiritual practice.  In Christianity and smaller local places of worship, it is always easy for me to discern people who are very experienced in prayer, and those just there for the sermon.

The strangest addiction of western man, in my humble opinion, is the need for stimulation, and that covers all the lesser sub-addictions.  The absolute hardest thing I have ever in my life tried to do, is to strip away all the conditioning, all the pre-conceived notions of how this or that should be, and run past all the fears and the impossibilities like a champion to visualize and accomplish the preferred outcome.  When all the layers are peeled away, when all the masks and costumes, and makeup is removed, when you are finally able to simply turn off the endless dialogue or repeating tapes in your head, it can be an extremely shocking and in my case, actually frightening in itself, kind of experience.

So it is hard to imagine a person who never meditates, who has no spiritual practice, but just bounces through life like a pinball forever magnetized to seek that connection, for the points, for that stimulation that drowns out all the calm.  So when I think of Sagan, Carlin, Irwin, and so many others, and I wonder where they are, and what they are doing, I am pause to think better, and just know they are once again doing what they loved, what they did best, and for what they gave to us all.

What makes a man extraordinary?  What causes a living person to remember the likes of someone already passed?  Why do we grieve and mourn the loss of the people we loved?  What is it about this connection of the human heart we have all forgotten?  It is a pure pathway straight to the Divine, an open road, accessible to anyone who has a heart.  I used to have a little terrier, and in the early mornings when I would sit with her on the couch and wake up, I was convinced she was able to meditate, and dream, just like me.  Her face was so serene, eyes shut, smiling…  heart rate very slow…

Being so very intelligent and stimulating in life, I imagine the many aspects of Carlin are now fully integrated into every interesting nook and cranny of the universe.  We loved Carlin because he could stimulate our minds!  He could challenge our conditioned thinking and shock us into thinking for ourselves, as if that was something trained out of us.  Sure, he was getting older, but he didn’t appear ready to die, at least what I saw of him at the last.  But unless he turns out like Mandela, we were told that he’s gone.

So scared?  Come on.  Death is ALL things, the ultimate peak experience!  It surely must be home, or the way there…  For this place seems finite in every sense, every nano-second in flux.  Whatever was before, is no longer now.  And it would seem the only solace is to sit in silence and give over to this fear.  Listen to the birds, breathe, grieve, plead, and do whatever you must.  I think that is where the fear is born.  We fear total loss of connection.  We know the feelings, the constant stimulation of being in love, of having children around to look after, of running a business, or managing a house, or building a holistic farm, or how we feel when we do the things we love.  What we don’t know is how to listen, to be quiet and just breathe.  We simply cannot sit still and that is a shame.

This morning, the beautiful birds are my connection to you.  I miss you so greatly that I am willing to follow you, and go blindly where there is no going back.  Please be there waiting for me.  If angels still have arms, I want to hold you in mine.  Just be there.  All of you!  There can be no fear in that.

Missing the 1800’s

One hundred years is a long time.  But 200 years later, the ways in which people live would be unrecognizable to a person living in say…  1850.   And here’s what I miss…

I miss early mornings in 1850.  In small towns, and small farms all over the United States, people woke the fluck up at a decent hour, even early!  The homes and the grounds literally came alive with activity.  People had animals – livestock in barns and pastures to look after.  The women had smaller fare, up closer to the house, and children to raise.

In my neighborhood today, 2018, people wake up early, but then the men leave.  They turn on big trucks with lights, and after a quick breakfast, they head out.  You can hear them moving down the roads all around us each morning, and then it gets quiet again.  I think most of the women and babies go back to bed for a little bit.

The early towns, especially as you went out west, were just stick buildings constructed out in the dust and the rocks, but each morning those towns came alive.  It was a big deal back in the 1800’s to “go to town.”  It usually meant a long trip down a bumpy road with a wagon, but no one minded.  Going to town was the ultimate fun.  It meant a break from farm chores and the normal grind.

People actually knew each other.  They actually looked at each other’s faces, and remarked, maybe smiled; they actually interacted.  Now, it’s so strange.  You can be in a room full of twenty people, and not one person will connect.   I live in a rural neighborhood, and it is almost 7 a.m. on a Friday in late March.  All you can hear now are the roosters, and they are everywhere.  I cannot imagine any people needing so many roosters, but they do.  It is a constant chorus of crowing, and the sound carries for a mile or so…

In the 1800’s, the people wore very amazing handmade clothing, and it was a true feat in itself if you could sew and make decent wearable clothing, all of which was done by hand.  They didn’t have sewing machines back then.  The clothing you wore protected you in all events, and women wore things in layers.  Now you grab a knit top of unknown content put together on a serger in China, and you’re ready to go!  Space clothes!

Most of all, I miss the horses.  I miss the countryside, the pretty things growing on the side of the road…  I miss the fact that children played in the fields and climbed in the trees and ran and ran for days…  free flowing streams that were clean to put your feet in…  Birds sang in profusion and bees buzzed at every flower.  And you could smell grandmother’s cooking all the way past the barn.  She looked real nice in that red calico apron she made last week.

And Grandpa was always around, working on something.  You could usually find him out in the old garage, tinkering around, or just standing there, looking out into space…  Or he would say “Let’s go, baby folks, let’s go into town!”  The old truck would rattle and roll, but we always made it somehow.  These new fangled mini-space rockets buzzing down the toll roads at high speeds just aren’t the same as Pa-Pa’s truck.  And they never will be.

On Losing Heart

Once my writing was criticized for the excessive use of the pronoun “I.”  And indeed, it was a solid and helpful observation.  But sometimes, you might feel compelled to make statements from the first person, for without that “I,” there is no you.

To leave something behind of significance certainly drives me.  And yet my logical mind tells me over and over again, that all things are impermanent, and my Buddhist training tells me that much suffering is born of my Earthly attachments.  And no truer statement has ever been made.  This is a magical, incredible place!  And we can “be” anything we want to be!

To live in pure self-acceptance is the most difficult thing I have ever sought to do.  Apparently, I am firmly attached to the outcome of my story, and the final chapters seem to be looming dangerously ahead.  Like any really good book, you dread those final hours, and you mourn the goodbyes you will ultimately have to make.

We are social creatures, born of attachments.  How ironic and cruel that we must train ourselves to be so austere, so stoic, and so detached from it all.  It literally breaks me apart to realize that I might be one of only a very small few people who would remember my family, my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my brother.  And me, of course.  No one will likely ever remember me.  Like my most admired friend has told me, nobody cares.

So yes, it might be easy to lose heart.  Is tragedy inevitable?  Is the most dire of circumstances always just right around the next corner?  Over the years, I have learned a great insight.  When you can see a middle ground, something between one side or the other, a place where stark realities and harsh decisions are left for another day, a place where you can be free to imagine beautiful things again…  you just might find your heart again!  Whatso!?…  if a few tears might stain your cheeks in the process!  Take it and know that you are alive and that you have worth and value, and YOU ARE HUMAN!

There are one thousand billion crows, maybe a few billion cats.  They come in and they go out at a fairly quick pace, and we are left to view these things, and to ponder our place in all of it.  There is always much talk of souls, and what is left of us when out ticket is called, and we have no choice but to venture forth into whatever it is that awaits us after this.  I do not want to go, I tell you.  If there is one thing that frightens me more than anything else, it is the leaving.  It is having to go away, into another place apart from this.

It is also the leaving of the body that hurts my heart.  I love this person.  I have been with her since she can remember.  I look in the mirror now, and I see my mother, my grandmother, and traces of my families, both sides.  And with all the great qualities and talents I possess, the one true compass all along, has been my heart.  Sometimes I want to scream out – “She’s a GOOD heart!”  But people are too busy now, mostly…

If I die alone, and leave nothing behind that can’t be quickly erased, then maybe there are other things we might actually leave behind once we’re gone, that still have value, and make a difference.  That’s one reason I work so hard on my tiny patch of land in central Texas.  If I make it better, or more healthy and happy, more productive, more beautiful, for even a short time, that’s something.  If I feed animals, as much and as often as I humanly can, then that’s something.

The simple fact that I care so much, means something.  I think it leaves behind a kind of mark, an indelible effect, and even if people don’t remember my family, or my farm, or me, after so many years, I know in my heart, there are many crows, and many kittens, and there is every reason to believe we might come back.

One of the most horrifying and shocking movies I ever watched was Braveheart.  It’s about a Scottish warrior of some centuries ago, who lead his people against oppression.  In the final scenes, which I could not watch, Mel Gibson’s character is caught and finally killed, in a most unthinkable manner.  That character, and that movie, has bothered me an infinite number of times, somehow validating that indeed, tragedy is our destiny.

Well, then, if that’s the case, at least we know the ending, right?  With that in mind, it seems a good bet that one could also opt out for that middle of the road, unassuming, quiet and kind sort of life, and forego some of this intense struggle and suffering.  That’s my plan anyway.  It doesn’t mean we don’t see the problems, or want to help.  It only means that acceptance of things we cannot change opens up a little free time on the board to do things we might prefer to do, rather than have to.

And as for sharing, that’s always a good thing.  But when you feel private, and serene, and you have paid things forward plenty, and now is the time for small pleasures, make no apologies for it.  Take what is before you in like a feast, because it truly is.  Wherever you look, the bounty is given.  You bet I cry sometimes.  Just like a baby!  Like Mel Gibson when all was lost!  But today, things are calm.  Right now, this minute in time, is mine.  And the feast is abundant with every breath, with every blink of my eye!

Don’t lose heart!  Nourish your soul through the emotions that flow through your veins!  Be an incredible source of love and light, no matter what images or sounds you encounter.  It is true, although it may take a good deal of time and investment of effort, you can be a wonderful person and have a wonderful life.  Just don’t lose heart!  Look for that safe middle ground you can run to.

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