Ah, the Shamanic life! I’ve been months walking in a state akin to ascending from a dream, when the show isn’t over, and the undertow is sweet, but another world, one of bright light and sharp furniture, is intruding. As issues working in various levels of consciousness try to tack themselves into my cognitive awareness, it is as if they are so close that I can’t quite seem them clearly. It’s rather like that sense that a dream had significance, a message, but it hasn’t translated into anything the mind can digest yet. It’s alright, I’m getting used to it. That’s how it’s been since Neptune began transiting Saturn in my 12th house. Something blocks the light of familiar mental faculties.
I’m farsighted, and when things are close, I am crowded, confused, can’t get higher, synoptic perspective; I must instead sense my way through the murk with a less exercised intelligence. I get hints, in the poetic language of parallels, resonances, harmonics, and my synoptic intelligence gropes for matching facets, metaphorical impressions, variations on a theme. The commonalities are what I’m drawn to, what draw order from chaos, what show me congruity.
So, as I watched Ruby Sparks last evening, I could feel teaching resonance, the message whispering, though not yet intelligibly, could sense the big metaphor in a looming blur inside my head and heart, as I watched. The whale under my boat breached at climax of the film: the moment when Calvin shows his cards as a desperate power-play. He’s told Ruby that he controls her with his writing, and to prove it, he’s been yanking her around with his written dictates, abusing his puppet to disabuse her of any illusion of autonomy. He exhausts her by making her haplessly execute all manner puppet gestures, until she can see that she does not have control. Then he can’t stand it and brings his head down on the keys of the typewriter, causing the strikers to glom together at the paper, overwhelming the typewriter and Ruby, who collapses to the floor.
She is curled up there like a stunned animal, either overwhelmed or playing dead. She’s blank, in a way. All that can be heard is her rhythmic, involuntary breathing. No story, no expression of personality, just the basic spark of autonomous Life insisting itself through what, until that moment, seemed to be but Calvin’s creation. Supposedly he’s her maker; his mind brought her to life. But now she lives, and while he may give her direction, her life is independent.
That profoundly parallels my recent journey.
For weeks I would wake from sleep and feel the easy, blissful , mysterious simplicity, the mysterious, unbidden miracle of “my” breath, coming in and out, from a place, a source, an impulse in the body that I couldn’t find precisely and that wasn’t in my control. Sure, I could manipulate the breath, but the gift of breath was beyond my control, and if I tried to stop, it would probably overwhelm me with its insistence on persisting.
Mind thinks it is Master of our lives, but something inscrutable, invisible, animates us from beyond, beneath, between, within….
Eventually Ruby scoops her self up and quickly runs to the the bedroom and slams the door, shutting out the master mind. Where did that action come from? Some self initiative? Was it that the parent mind, the conditioning, was no longer the only force working? Or was this just Calvin’s conscience calling the shots? He hadn’t typed anything new.
But Mind was horrified and humbled by its ignominious impulses, and Calvin then consciously (that is, on paper) sets her free; he gives her license to just live from the initiative beyond him, which was witnessed in her breath and her willful exit.
And that seems to be what’s been underway in me. All the script written in my own conditioning, my own mind and identity, has been so yanked around, exhausted, thwarted, disoriented, dismantled, humbled; and I honesty came to believe I no longer knew who I was, what I was for, why I existed, how to live, or how to die.
I would wake in the morning into innocent respiration; I’d surface through the tide of breath, into an ambience of “all is well,” until the mind gathered the constituents of self and situation, tried to clothe me in the shreds of old, dysfunctional identity, purpose, meaning and obligation. And, within seconds, the innocent would feel caged and oppressed, and the only escape seemed to be to submerge again into the bardo of slumber. I was inert.
At this writing, a sea change is gathering momentum. I have a sense of the colors available on my palate again, though not how to paint a conventionally sustainable life circumstance, that is, how to build a boat around me that floats in the sea I grew up in. But with the breath inflating the body, I can, at least float, myself. The breath breathes me, and I walk; love moves through me and I relate to others; I act on simple impulses, brush the teeth, drive a car, go from point A to B. And, with an infusion of chocolate, I can even improvise personhood for a while, humor history and build on it without building from it, even respond to a stimulus and create something. Sometimes, original ideas arise on their own!
The canvas is still mostly blank. I don’t see far ahead with the mind’s eye, yet I cannot deny the ineffable eternal hiding behind the veil of all I perceive, and insinuating itself through the unstoppable and not-consciously-invited, next breath.
And I surrender into what lives through “me;” I rest my heart/mind toward the portal through which it issues, worship lightly at the wellspring, and I watch the dance it animates through my body and intelligence more robustly the more I open and allow.
March 18, 2013