September thirteenth 2010, I was reading A Simple Path, a translation of a book written by the Dalai Lama.
“I have asked scientists on several occasions whether the process [of thoughts giving rise to chemical changes in the brain] to begin with just pure thought and then secondly, thought processes occur which give rise to chemical changes which in turn trigger physiological effects. Most of the time their answers have indicated that since it is assumed that consciousness is contingent upon a physical base (the brain, for instance), every occurrence of thought must necessarily be accompanied or caused by chemical changes in the brain. To me, however that assumption seems to be based more on prejudice than experimental proof. I therefore think the question is still open and further research is needed, particularly involving practitioners who engage in profound meditation.”
This raises an age-old unanswerable question:
What is consciousness?
So instead of engageing in what in contemporary thought is a futile exercise of metaphysical discourse, I propose a different but similar question:
How can we measure and detect consciousness?
Hours later while I was receiving Reiki at The Inspired Heart, I felt my consciousness travel to Tibet, visiting remote monasteries. I was welcomed as an expected and anticipated traveler, assisted by the connection of the touch of the Reiki healer to some indefinable “ether” and then to the hands of the monks.
Once I returned to my chair from the Reiki table, My consciousness again traveled to the mind of a monk participating in neuroscience research using positron emission and magnetic resonance tomography. The scanner technician was struggling with interference on the scanner detector. It seemed that the positron emission kept multiplying at a rate that was not possible with the quantity of isotope used. It defied laws of quantum physics, as the emission output was several hundred times what equations predicted. With repeated scans on this monk the same phenomenon occurred again and again.
Then in a state of unusual calm he realized that there had to be another energy source as yet unidentified that could not be measured, that invalidated the results predicted by the quantum equations. After all, Quantum Mechanics have never before been measured using isotopes in a meditating Tibetan Monk!
The above experience is one which has inspired another short story that I will post here as it comes. Hope you like it!
I have no true name
I could tell by the backward curling neck and the milk-eyed blank stare that the goat is dying. He had wandered over to me limping and with a broken horn two days ago. On some level he is aware that his end is coming and desires companionship in his last moments. I talk to him softly. His fears seem to quiet. As the day fades to night, his breathing becomes shallower with longer pauses between breaths.
"So how does a common dairy goat find his way this far into the forest?"
I hear a snort and a sigh and then stillness. His time has come.
It's getting hard to see so I strike my knife blade against a piece of flint sending sparks on to carefully positioned dried milkweed, hemp and pine cones, kindling that I arranged earlier. A small flicker of flame begins at the bottom. I feel the warmth radiating, beating back the dark and cold of night. Before morning I will have to leave as predators and scavegers will inevitably come to devour my friend and companion for the last two days.
"It is as it should be my friend. You will not come around again but others will borrow what you must return."
Reminds Me Of My Cat
The second story reminds me of my cat. She passed six months ago. Several days after her passing I thought I saw her shadow dash across the kitchen. Trina was with us for eleven years. She brought us much joy.
Mother Teresa also wrote a book called A Simple Path. I find a certain synchronicity in that happening. Perhaps the paths to reach enlightenment are not so different after all. BTW, I find much truth in both the writings of the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.
There have been some times that I had either a lucid dream or an out of body experience. I'm not really sure which but they remain fixed in my memory. Perhaps I'll share them some time. At the time of the most recent dreams I was investigating some pseudo-Native American teachings. For example, thanking an animal that you have hunted for food and clothing for giving its gifts to you. Meditating does seem to increase lucid dreaming in my experience.
I have no true name continued
I am awakened by a prickling sensation behind my neck. The fire has died down and the stillness in the dark of night is now replaced with a low throbbing. It's time to leave. The predators are claiming their due. I will pay a dear price if I remain where I do not belong.
I grasp the unburned end of one of the long sticks from the fire and wander away from the site using starlight to guide my path. My bare feet, now toughened and experienced after weeks of trodding on all manner of terrain, show their awareness of the Right Path.
My physical possessions number only a few items: My naked body, a goat skin given to me, a hunting knife, and ancient flint in a small pouch. These few physical items allow me to carry the great weight of the ancient wisdom given to me weeks ago.
As the pre-dawn reveals the lanscape once more, I stop to listen to and appreciate the gift of a new day. I sit on a smooth rock placed eons ago for this moment, and close my eyes.
My heart sings in harmony with the intense grand loving chorus of the life energy that surrounds and infuses everything. As my mind allows the joy in this moment to enter my heart it expands beyond the mountain range to flowing waters and grassland and upward into the sky.
I open my eyes and immediate regret doing so when the chorus suddenly mutes to a barely perceptible whisper. I close them again and wait, but the chorus fades away leaving me alone and disconnected. I open them once again, stand and continue walking.
A shap pain throbs as my left foot misssteps and smashes my great toe on a rock. I stop, close my eyes and I allow the pain to enter my body and my heart. I flood myself in its awareness. I allow deep compassion to infuse an envelop my heart my body and my toe.
The pain begins to be drowned out as my Awareness allows the song of the chorus to enter my Heart once more. I appreciate the precious gift of wisdom that Finicia gave me when She relieved me of my shoes before leaving me here deep within the Ancient Forest.
A courtroom two months ago
"We find for the plaintiff and award of 2.5 million with an additional 200 thousand dollars anually for the next fifteen years to be garnished from the frozen assets and future income of the defendent."
My heart stops. How can this happen? This handwriting expert's testimony falsley indentified the badly forged signature on my stolen precription pads as my own!
I turn to my layer. "You might as well get the plaintiff to sign all of my upcoming legal papers as well and use him! -pointing to the "expert"- to authenticate it!" I walk to the exit of the courthouse. As I approach the parking lot I see a tow truck pulling my car away.
So I call a cab and have him drive me to a liquor store. The scotch bottle is half empty by the time I reach my house. There is a sign and a padlock...It no longer belongs to me.
"Take me to the bus station." He drives to an unsafe looking part of West Palm Beach.
"Special to Seattle $150.00 one way!" the sign says.
"I'll take one."
"Bus leaves in ten minutes, Sir"
"Perfect!" I head to the restroom and throw the last 1/4 botlle of scotch in the trash. A treasure for some picker I smile wryly
The next thing I remember is my head throbbing and my mouth parched.
Where the hell am I?
I look around there are a couple of young mexican teenage boys and an old mexican woman seated in front of me. I'm on a bus! I try to recall the events. I remember the cab ride. The scotch! Oh hell!
I check my pockets: Nothing! I stand up and immediately regret it as my head pounds harder and I swoon. Then the bus stops. I look as my fellow passengers exit. The air is cool The trees are in Autumn color. I must be up north, somewhere.
I unsteadily stand up and walk to the front of the bus. No money, no ID, no credit cards, no phone.
I ask someone at the truck stop where I am
"Coopersville," She replied.
For two days I endure incessant driving and stops. The first day is pure hell from the hangover. The events of the malpractice suit keep coming at me. It was a a witch hunt. Everybody unleashed their petty vengence and wikipedia expertise. The hospital turned on me and... and over again the events repeat themselves. The second day I am starving but had no means to buy anything. At least hunger was a distraction from the drama playing over and over in my head. I am thirty-five pounds overweight anyway, I'll live. I find a functioning pay phone at one stop and attempt to call collect, but no answer.
On the morning of the third day a new bus driver asks me to show my ticket which someone relieved me of 3 days ago. He kicked me off the bus. I'm sure I look and smell pretty wretched by now. My new suit that I wore to the courtroom looks neither new or impressive. So In the morning chill I start walking on the highway holding out my thumb. Late in the afternoon an old truck stops. I climb in, grateful for one compassionate soul in the world.
"Hi Friend, You looked like you could use a ride."
He was a young man about twenty-three with blue eyes and long dirty blonde dreadlocks and a long beard wearing a dirty white tee shirt and dirtier bluejeans.
"Thanks, what is your name?"
"Where are you going?"
"I don't know. I have been on a bus that was going to Seattle although I have no memory of getting on the bus thanks to Johnny Walker. Hey you wouldn't have something to drink, I'm pretty dehydrated?"
"Got some water in that bottle in the back."
"Thanks! I was living in Florida but that is pretty much over." How far are you going?"
"I'm returning from South Dakota back to Washington. You look like somebody rolled you. Are you hurt?"
"No, just some lawyer ruined my life and career. No bruises to show off."
"That sucks man! You need a place to crash?"
I looked at this boy. Far too trusting in today's world. I felt guilty about taking him up, but come to think of it, I'm in deep s--t right now! And I have nothing. I'm a fat forty-eight old man who drinks too much with a stent in my right coronary artery, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
I feel a chill in my chest and a flush all over. Then suddenly overwhelming grief possesses me and I start weeping uncontrollably.
"I'll take that as a yes.'' answers the young man
End of a long trip
Sky turns his truck into a roadside MacDonalds. I look at him.
"I have no money, Sky."
"We are not going to eat this poison. I have good food at home. I'm just refuelling the truck."
We pull around back behind the restuarant. The smell of cooking meet nearly makes me faint with hunger.
Then Sky grabs an iron pole and inserts into an iron plug in the tarmac. Immediate I am assaulted by a putrid smell and begin to dry heave.
"Go over to the other side. this can be a bit rough if you are not used to it.'
"What are you doing?"
"I am pumping out the grease pit into the fuel tank. This truck runs of fryer oil. The owner lets me use it for free and he doesn't have to pay to dispose of it"
Sky pulls out a green hose with a pump and a crank in the middle and turns it for about 10 minutes.
"All full . we have sixty miles to go and then we are home."
I recovered. The light started to turn orange and fade to a firey purple in the western sky. The stars began to appear in the east set against a rocky terrain dotted with dry scrubby bushes.
We started ascending in elevation and pines replaced the scrub. Small mountains beagn arising around us in the concealing dark. The paved road ended.heralded by the steady roar of the tires over the dry rocky soil. Sky turns rght up a path cut int the side of the mountain and bounces the truck alarmingly up the path. Branches strike the sides of the truck as we bound into the dark foest. and then we stop. I breath a sigh of relief.
"We have about a forty-five minute wlk up to my house. Are you uo to it?"
"Helluva time to ask now!... Yea I'm up to it!"
I think to my self.. "God If that stent in my heart breaks loose, be kind and make it a sudden cardiac death and get it over with,, Okay?"
Sowe start walking by star light. I stumble and wheeze and stop frequently to catc my breath. Sky patiently waits for me. Sky then takes my arm over his shoulder and lifts me for the last half of the jouney. I am spent We finally get to a glass and wooden strucure I can't make out much detail in the night. Sky leads me inside. It is warm and comfortable. He lights an oil lmap and the room is alive with color and reflection of stained glass and arwork everywhere.
Sky remove my suit jacket and my shoes. He leads me to a hammock. I gingerly sit down grasping him afriad that i will fall.
"Lean back slowly. I will get your feet."
I melt into the delicious curve of the suspension. My eyes fluuter i try to keep them open then..........
I am awakened in the dark by an incrediblly delicious smell of herbs and onions cooking!
I look over and see Sky pouring a thick creamy soup into two earthenware mugs. I am too weak to get out of the hammock.
"Don't move I will bring it to you." Sky calls out.
He props a pillow under my head and hands me the mug. The first sip is amazingly delicious! I taste onions, potatos and...Goat? I look at Sky.
"It's made with fresh goat milk." replied Sky " 'Have a flock of Nubians and one Nanny (Merry) has a three month old kid. You can thank Merry for tonight's contribution. They eat anything and everything. I bottle raised them so they come home to me."
"Do you live out here alone, Sky?"
"Sometimes, But right now I'm sharing with you. "
"Damn! this is really good! What made you pick me up?"
"Karma, compassion, your suffering, and the connection between fellow beings. If I had left you, your suffering would escalate, and since I knew of such so would have mine. It would have been unbearable for both of us."
"But in a city there are thousands of desperate people suffering, if you picked them all up you would be soon overwhelmed. I am truly grateful, but what you did was naiive."
"I think not. I can see that your heart is scarred by violence and is trapped. The flow of energy is dangerously constricted. At any time this restriction could tighten and your life end abruptly. While you were sleeping I placed my hands over your chakras. What I felt was almost unbearable."
I thought to myself: "Could he somehow tell I have a stent and that I had a heart attack 6 onths ago? It had to be a guess. This is some pot-head outcast hippee goat herder who is deftly practicing sleight of hand! I do not want to make myself unwelcome though."
"You doubt me."
"No! Of course not!" My tone too obviously defensive.
"It's not good. You are in danger. I will make you some tea that will help temporarily. I suggest that you drink it."
"What's in it?" I asked
"Willow Bark, Kava and Cannabis"
"Oh What the hell! Bring it on!"
You must lie still and keep your eyes closed. I will Channel Chi. You will only received as much as you allow your heart to open.......
Sky lights a sprig of sage and smudges the room. He lights several candles. I watch him arrange glass bowls in patterns.
"now close your eyes and focus your awareness on your breath. When you breathe in imagine the light of love, peace harmony and kindness. when you breathe out imagine you negative thoughts, your pain and suffering being taken by mother Earth and transformed into love and life energy.'
A rinigng slowly builds from the glass bowl being stroked by Sky's fingers. Soon other bowls start riniging in a harmonious chord filling the room with angelic music reverberating back and forth. I feel the vibrations in my chest and up and down my spine.
"I'm not going to hurt you" Sky whispers as I feel his hands lightly touch either side of my head. some minutes later I feel another set of hands on my shoulders. The bowls are still ringing, reverberating in harmonious chords.
how can this be?
"SHH quiet your mind my friend" and the he blows across me. I feel a surge of pure love from him. All I can picure now is his smiling face with his beard and dreadlocks glowing as I drift into weightless bliss.
In my mind I stand in front of him my hands in his, the two of us floating suspended. The harmonious chords of the crystal bowls are perpetually singing vibrantly keeping us afloat in the sea of solaris.
I begin to weep softly. Weeping for myself, for the others whom have shared suffering with me, for the beauty of this young man's heart.
I feel a third set of hands over my heart. In my mind I see a cloudy smog form between us. My stomach twists. my chest feels constricted and heavy and I see in the smog a reflection of my miserabl appearance. I try to wave it away. I can see glimpses of light and warmth. I reach through and feel Sky's figertips, but he is too far away for his hand to grasp mine.
But the more our fingers touch the clearer the smog becomes. I can make out his face through the misty reflection of mine. The heaviness and constriction in my chest lightens partially.
I feel a fourth set of hands press lightly on my stomach. Here i feel a strong sense of hunger and wanting for what is missing. I feel the guilt of having to survive at the cost of other beings.
I feel a fifith set of hands over lower abdomen . Slowly I feel become aware of nausea that travels up my chest and exits with and exhale that has the unmistakable odor of alcohol.
I feel a sixth pair of hands over my groin. I feel sexual arousal confined and blocked.
Sky blows across me again and I see myself as an adolescent come into my sexual awareness shamed by attraction to other boys. I see a shining young blonde boy smiling at me.
"You are beautiful and you make me wanna hold you." The boy says.
I feel the shame evaporate and my chest expand with sensual wonder.
I hear a chime.
"Open your eyes." I hear Sky say. I look around. The candle are casting a warm glow around the room. I feel lighter and at peace like I have not felt since I was young child.
"Thank you, Sky."
I awaken in the morning light. I am in a room made of rough logs pieced together and filled in with all colors and shapes of glass. I see an iron wood stove, benches, an on spinet piano and crystal bowls everywhere. I roll out of the hammock carefully lowering my stocking feet to the floor. My irrevocably rumpled and stained suit pinches and binds.
I walk painfully over a cobblestone floor to a doorway. There is chill in the air with a rustle of dry leaves. Tall spruce and pines tower over me reaching up to a crisp blue sky that touches the peak of a tall mountain. The ground is rocky with tall brown grasses shooting up between the rocks.
A groomed trail winds down the hillside. "Sky!" ----no answer.
I gingerlly begin to walk in stocking feet until urinary urgency demands my focus for relief.
As I step carefully feeling each painful pebble I nearly fall twice. I start to feel panic. I have no idea where I am.
I continue to walk down the trail and hear some people talking and laughing.
Around a turn of the trail I hear water flowing and see a group of three young people bathing nude in a creek pool beneath a waterfall. They look up at me and wave smiling. "Frank! Come on down!" calls a young red headed woman. I carefully scoot down the rocky slope.
"Sky must have told you about me. What is your name?" triyng not to show how nervous I am.
""I'm Krokus, this is Ask Gemtly," pointing to a young man swimming with a full beard and shoudler length dark brown hair. "And this is Sawdust," pointinting to a large muscular furry bear of a man with a bald head cover with tattoos.
"Hi Guys," I wave nervously.
"Come on in for a swim!"
I slowly with extreme self consciousness pull off my socks, jacket, shirt, pants, and shorts. I am keenly aware of my frumpy middle aged body as I stumble over the painful rocks on the creek bottom. The water feels icy cold at first, Until I get used to it. Finally with courage summoned. I dive in feeling tingling energy of the natrual water all over me.
First bath I' had in five days! I scrub my body with sand peeling off layers of skin.
"want some soap? It's made from Yucca and cedar oil." Offered Sawdust with a smile.
It smelled great clean and natural! "What beautiful people!"
"Thanks" I looked up locking eyes with Sawdust not realizing that I had just said that out loud.
My skin tingles with renewed enegy when suddenly a huge expolsion erupts next to me.
Sky pops up from the bottom laughing, "Gotcha!" He must have jumped from the top of the waterfall.
In the distance I hear a bell ring three times followed by "Yoooooo! HOOOOOO!"
"You guys going to Heart Circle?" Asks Krokus.
I look at Sky. "What is Heart Circle?"
"Best to just see for yourself and just watch."
"I need to get dressed" Looking uncertainly at the remains of my suit.
"I brought a blanket you can throw around your shoulders. I think we can donate your suit to the rag shack after circle and find something better for you to wear there ."
"What kind of place is this, Sky... I.. I'm really lost I'm not sure...."
"It is a commune. No one will hurt you. We all bear the scars so we know what you are feeling. You can trust me. I think you know that now. you are among the Radical Faeries."
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