Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Touch

I've been debating with myself about writing, lately. I often have no words for the best description seems to reach the heart of expression. These things must be experienced to be understood. Not experienced in my way, but in yours.


Most of the time, I don't have the luxury of endless hours of meditation, contemplation or prayer--light tends to happen in flashes, and is simply put it aside in favor of daily demands. Sometimes, though, I jot notes in my journal. Going over these sparks, poems and stories, it occurs to me that "mystical" experience is often their inspiration. My character marches, sprawls or fumbles through her average day, usually in some kind of survival mode or full coping armor; all at once, a swirl of leaves, the velvet expanse of a gaze, a spontaneous dance or two words from some sage, and wham! A sudden dive, or perhaps gradual descent/ascent into a whole new way of being here. Life hasn't changed--I am just naked again.

I don't think of these experiences as proof of realization or arrival (one never arrives anywhere!). For me, they are points of unfolding, timeless spans of healing and insight, appearing fully faceted through mind, body and spirit in a manner that mere mental understanding can't possibly match. That's all. :)

Also, they are cyclical, cumulative in some way, and will torment the more limited me if ignored  too long. Growth happens. Trying to contain it builds pressure. In my experience, pretending smallness doesn't help the situation.

Recently, I read through the journal of a Middle Eastern mystic and was astounded at the similarities in our experience (and the wording thereof). Further research and more startling synchronicity have me appreciating my odd life in a whole new way--with much more respect and humility. I've often compared the movement of God/dess, Spirit, the Great Whatever--This--to a language that doesn't use words. It's something felt, a kind of natural knowing revealed, a communication-by-expansion. Words can be misconstrued. Direct experience, though sometimes puzzling or mysterious to the mind after the fact, carries a quality of immediate intimacy, pointing to our own face. It demands attention, contemplation, even just a gentle holding and processing. Calling it craziness (I did, for a long time) will not make it go away! It can't go away. It is what we are. It can only be held off, by resistance or desire, for so long.

Some people have asked why, when this kind of thing is sought after by "spiritual seekers" (or just intensely curious adventurers) in many places--why would I deny, disregard, or downplay the nature of my experience? Fear, at first, and reluctance to wreck what little social life I had. Ego was terribly involved in a backhanded way. Exaggerated repression tends to blow things out of proportion, inhibiting the natural flow of such energies. I couldn't know this, however, and so it went.

Some events took many years to unfold and integrate, and a degree of caution was called for.  As a young adult, a good friend of mine accused me of being a closet drug-addict when I let my guard down and admitted some of my more colorful adventures. Such states were the product of LSD, he insisted, or some kind of demonic possession. Neither demons nor drugs were involved (although I did get mighty curious about whether or not LSD really brought on that facet of reality...decades later, the answer is NO. Not the same!) Respect on both sides was often lost over these discussions. I stopped talking about it...until I learned some discernment.

As time went on, the quality of these experiences changed--became deeper, more powerful, and brought on waves of "psychic" phenomena. Neat...but the love, the love is what I fell for! Love, love, LOVE unlike any other. I say "love", because that word best describes what I felt, but in all honesty, this intimacy was of a degree unknown in my human relations. It left me awestruck, humbled, blown open, and almost terrified of the spacious beauty revealed--as if it was my own inside. This sensation was most difficult to went against common sense, certainly belying my upbringing and typical belief systems. There was, in fact, no model in my life for this.

And there still isn't. It is comforting to note a kind of mystical territory common to certain "levels" of experience, where the landmarks are metaphorically (and often literally) pointed to--there is the Void, a pearl of great price, fire in the belly, diamond intellect--yet, fulfillment can only be found here, now, as I am, in no other experience. Looking exclusively "out there" for peace, understanding and validation turns these essential qualities of Being into mere shadows of themselves, placing them at a distance. This, as they say, is it, and it unfolds uniquely through each of us, into the kind of world most appropriate to our degree of acceptance...whatever we are ready to experience.

Writing about this helps me in the same way that painting "externalizes" a process.  What is born on the page or canvas always seems at least one step removed from original contact. There is still value in saying it, in looking at it, in putting it into form for minds and hearts to view. The original moment is ours alone, shaped precisely to us, so close that it is whatever we are. It doesn't happen to us. We are the stillness, the eternal witness, in which the motion of life opens like a wake and spreads across a totality barely sensed on the typical plane of awareness. 

Just a couple of layers down...there is a curiosity, quite gentle, unafraid, open, neutral and entirely intimate with all that is. This is the realm, I'm convinced, within which we glimpse unfurled wings. This is where a very pure version of us dwells, a being so fine as to touch all things with grace, in an exact meeting. I find myself here as this unconflicted awareness at times when I can't sleep, but am too physically tired to get up, or perhaps when I'm just very relaxed. There is no thought, image or movement that is avoided, and nothing is defended. I need nothing. My nature is content with itself and whatever happens. It isn't even "my" nature--it just is. The is-ness is unquestioned. It roams the mind, body and environment with nothing but a wish to know the forms, feelings and all other sensual things as they are--an almost childlike love. 

Just a couple of layers down...


  1. Maria, here you have given us a lovely map leading toward that place which is entirely un-mapable. That place where love is effortless and all-pervading. Thank you.

  2. mmm... naked... layers... nature.... mmmmm

  3. Mmmmm. Naked. Yes. :)
    I wish I could map it (from here). In the middle of it all, though, I don't even care, because we ARE the map. :)

  4. Powerfully, revealing post in many ways...

    Yes, the "intimacy of direct experience" is beyond "love" as we know it - can't even really be called that. As you point out, words don't even touch it. The experience for me is not a "me" and an "other" but the intimacy of Self *knowing* ItSelf, recognizing and experiencing ItSelf; *delighting* in the "intimacy" of ItSelf beyond words. Just pure Awareness aware-ing ItSelf.

    Did you really mean to say (in 2nd para) that you "simply put aside these flashes of light *in favor of* daily demands?! You mean you'd rather be attending to the requirements of daily living *in favor of* experiencing this Divine Intimacy with Self? Hopefully that was a typo :) Or maybe you are crazy :) (Just kidding). LOL

  5. LOL, Christine! It means I could walk away, any second, from the demands of my people here, so that I could be Alone With Self (haha). Not kidding. But for whatever the reason, and it is beyond me, I hang out in my busyness and do all kinds of things (like unplugging the toilet) that are so...earthy. So very, very challenging. I AM crazy. But here's the thing: I know I am. :D

  6. Reminds me of Zhuangzi's notion that liberation allows the adept to recognize the divinity of all: "The dao is also in the shit."