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Image by Ada Dalilah

There comes a time when we must allow something timeless to touch us in order to truly change and move beyond our fixed attitudes and limited understanding of the mysteries of life. When it seems like all might end in disaster, it becomes a question of finding the deeper imagination of life, the enduring patterns and essential stories that reunite us to the pulse of nature and the heart of culture.” -- Michael Meade

Ramakrishna describes his first spiritual ecstasy at the age of six: while walking along the paddy fields, a flock of white cranes flying against a backdrop of dark thunder clouds caught his vision. He reportedly became so absorbed by this scene that he lost outward consciousness and experienced indescribable joy in that state…

…he suddenly had a vision of the goddess Kali as the Universal Mother. He became overwhelmed, and before fainting, observed that to his spiritual sight, “… houses, doors, temples and everything else vanished altogether; as if there was nothing anywhere! And what I saw was an infinite shoreless sea of light; a sea that was consciousness. However far and in whatever direction I looked, I saw shining waves, one after another, coming towards me.” — Wikipedia

Coming out of a talk by Krishnamurti in Switzerland once, I caught a glimpse of energy structures underneath all earthly forms. Walking back to camp along the rushing river, my mind empty and calm, I suddenly realized I was seeing and hearing a world of astoundingly vibrant technicolor hyper-reality. Every bird singing, every gust of wind in the leaves was a shockingly sudden and astounding miracle. I seemed to see everything in its energetic form, which looked and felt like waves of playful joy. I was momentarily blasted by the incredible power and intelligence involved in these dancing energies.

The mask came off the ecstatic and astoundingly powerful dance of life that goes on under the surface of manifest existence. I was an astonished witness, but also I knew I was made of the same energies. My identity, my gender, name, nationality and personality was a fiction, a temporary guise. A thrill, a flash of ecstatic perception of the dance of existence passed through me, and just as quickly was gone.

I never had another experience like that and didn’t try to. The power in such a vision was enough to overwhelm the cultural constructs my personality had been built on. I didn’t think I could go in search of that deep wisdom without losing my bearings. Yes, there is ecstasy there, but the sheer power was also disorienting and frightening. I remembered friends who had courted those mind states through psychotropic drugs and who had died by suicide or had become non functional. I gave up my infatuation with enlightenment on the spot.

But my vision of things changed, nevertheless. I knew with more certainty that I was no less superficial and clueless than anyone else, that I would always have more questions than answers and that our beliefs about the world were, for the most part, shallow and childish. I began to hold my beliefs as mental constructs more than truths. A sense of wonder crept into my way of looking at things. Everything now has a touch of magic about it, magic that I sense under quotidian appearances.

There’s a mystery I know I’ll never solve, all explanations to the contrary.

And there is a sense that reality is yet to be discovered by humans in general. We don’t have, maybe because we refuse to, a mind that can penetrate the mystery. Why don’t we have it? Perhaps because we have ceased to feel related to everything in existence. We don’t revere this creation. We don’t love and devote ourselves to its care. It’s not a beautiful mystery to us. It’s a mechanism that we use.

Here we are now, living in our vaunted civilization with all its powers, tricks and toys — and we understand nothing. We never imagined that we could be brought to a dead standstill by a virus. A combination of factors, from greedy and stupid leaders to our own stunted imagination of life, has blindsided us.

Time to think again. Time to learn a lesson. The old world that existed a few weeks ago is not coming back. It’s time to create a better, more intelligent world. It’s time to grow up a little.

I’m hoping we can start to see the essential nature of love, connection to everything, caring, play, joy, creation and generosity. Those are the building blocks of the life we are given. They can be the building blocks of a new path forward.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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