Brainwashed

self-hypnosis-for-relaxationI willingly allowed myself to become brainwashed in the course of seeking self-transcendence.

Along with the treasure I found in Bernadette Roberts (BR), I had discovered Eckhart Tolle (ET) . This was back before he was rated the number one western spiritual leader, soon after the 1997 publication of The Power of Now. One of my happy-all-of-the-time homeschool-mom friends had given me the The Power of Now audio CDs  one time when I was crying to her about my unhappiness.  She was the same friend who’d given me the Louise Hay CDs; “I love you vagina; I love you breasts.” I was already intimately familiar with ET.  My love affair with ET had begun with my obsessive reading and re-reading of the seven years of back issues of the magazine “Enlightenment Now” which I’d sent away for and believed well worth the investment. I’d already read The Power of Now several times in fact.

I had been reading and re-reading The Experience of No-Self and The Path to No-Self, BR’s two books about the soul’s mystical union with God.  She described a long and perilous journey through many stages:  terrifying dark nights of the soul, ecstatic breakthroughs, long in-between waiting times of patient attendance, mental instability, and dreadful emptiness.  There are many milestone minor union-with-God achievements along the way, but BR continues to push forward to the final goal and it is described at length.  The reflexive mind, which operates all the time so that humans don’t even know it’s there, the mechanism which separates the “I” from the “thou”, dissolves away once and for all, and there is no more distinction between oneself and all else.   There literally is no longer a self.   There is absolutely no fear anymore; fear, which forms the core of “self” is eradicated for once and for all. There is no more “Me”, only existence thrusting itself from the void from moment to moment.  In common with ET, she describes a euphoric condition of: no more past, no future, no me, no other; only the immediacy of the now moment.

Spiritual Enlightenment.

BR felt that her experience wasn’t well represented in the body of contemplative literature to date.  She felt that she’d gone further than anyone else.  She had read it all and searched and searched for descriptions of her experience.  Although she was Catholic, BR felt that her journey broke the bounds of the Catholic contemplative body of literature and experience.  The closest thing she could find in common with her own union with God, was with the Buddhists:  No self, no problem.  She soon penned another book, What is Self? so that she could explain at length this thing we call “self”.   “Self” is something that we cannot comprehend until we no longer have one.  It’s the burden that keeps us grounded as caterpillars.  Until self is done away with, one cannot truly be a butterfly.

For well over two years, I listened to ET’s voice reading The Power of Now both as I drifted off to sleep and as I woke up.  I set the CD player timer so that the ET’s message would hopefully penetrate at a deep hypnotic level while I slept. There were eight audio CDs.  I came to know every word of every sentence of every one.  ET had sat on a park bench for two years in a state of the utmost joy after his enlightenment.  While he was living on the bench strangers would often ask how they could get what he had found.

I would transcend myself and I would be in a state of unending joy.  It had been done.  It simply took perseverance.  It required determination.  Focus.  Purpose. Will.  Presence, yes presence.

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Bernadette Roberts

bernadette-roberts-b-and-wBernadette Roberts.

When in the course of my 15 year marriage, my state of tension became so great that I found myself for a number of years unable to breathe, plagued by constant panic attacks as well as chronic anxiety, haunted by the persistent belief that I was dying of one disease after another…depressed…

I didn’t know for sure that the cause of my distress was my marriage; it had been a progressive dis-ease.  It had begun in the beginning.  I couldn’t “be myself” in my marriage. My ex-husband, K, had a cement wall protecting him, so that all my efforts, even from the very beginning, just hit the wall.  This is unnerving. You soon learn that you aren’t heard, that your side of the story isn’t welcome, that when you speak he will turn and walk away.

I began to talk to him in my own head.  I began to yell at him in my own head.  This went on.  For years.

There came the day when I hoped that spiritual enlightenment would salvage me.  I had always wanted out of the marriage, but between K’s cement wall, the four children, and the dire financial picture–K had quit earning, except for an occasional woodworking commission–it had been impossible.  I began to seek spiritual enlightenment in earnest.  I looked and looked for anybody who truly knew about transcendence.

What I was hoping was to be able to transcend my own self, to be able to be happy in spite of misery.  I believed this was possible.  I imagined that some individuals had learned the secret of existing in human form, but transcending the human self; so that no matter what your torture, you remain blissfully floating above.  What about Daniel in the lion’s den?  What about all those early Christians happy to burn at the stake for their faith?  What about Jesus?  Mother Theresa?  Siddhartha?  I spent hours reading poetry of the mystics.  Like this one by St. John of the Cross (translated by Daniel Ladinsky):

I COBBLED THEIR BOOTS

How could I love my fellow men who tortured me?

One night I was dragged into a room
And beaten near death with
their shoes

striking me hundreds of times
in the face, scarring me
forever.

I cried out for God to help, until I fainted.

That night in a dream, in a dream more real than this world,
a strap from the Christ’s sandal
fell from my bleeding
mouth,

and I looked at Him and He
was weeping, and
spoke,

“I cobbled their boots;
how sorry
I am.

What moves all things
is God.”

What the mystics all were saying was that once you were firmly united with God, everything was solved.  The pain of the world was felt no more.  I imagined that it didn’t matter what was happening to me here in this world, the root of the problem was spiritual.  Which leads us to Bernadette Roberts (BR).

She had the answers I sought.  In her two books:  The Path to No-Self, and The Experience of No-Self, BR narrates her own contemplative, mystic, interior journey to God.  BR had always been a diehard Catholic, in fact she had previously been a nun.  But now, like me, she was saddled with four kids and a husband.  I admit, reading her books, I had a lot of trouble imagining this husband.  Her love affair was strictly with God or herself, or her imagination–her focus was entirely otherworldly. There is little to no mention of the family, except the time she needed (was called) to go live up in the mountains in nature for an extended period of time, and she casually mentions leaving the four teenagers to themselves.

BR’s understanding of life was rooted in the belief that one’s life purpose is the journey toward union with God, the contemplative path.  Mystics, in the Christian tradition, are people, like St. John of the Cross, or Julian of Norwich, or Hildegard de Bingen (“All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”), who have navigated and successfully crossed the great abyss, the impasse that divides human and God.  These are human beings who are in a state of union with God, so that their ordinary existence is unlike ours.  They aren’t people woken up by the alarm clock, filled with all manner of repetitive preoccupations, running off to an unsatisfying job, annoyed by the demands of an ungrateful family, silently living in an underlying despair.  Neither are they individuals who sail blithely along; those ones we admire; who seem unfazed by our existential condition within and our precarious and vulnerable situation without; the celebrities, the success stories, the materialists.

BR’s journey is unlike these adventurers we read of, who sail across the world, or travel all kinds of hostile environments, or pit themselves against strange and unknown territories.  Her journey is equally exciting, equally dangerous, equally courageous.  But it all takes place within.

“No-self, no-problem”, say the Buddhists.  And yes, BR had me convinced that the only problem was the self.

“On the Strange Incongruity of Motherhood”

af58595ea95a683690b71e0e40b405a2--family-painting-mother-and-child“On the Strange Incongruity of Motherhood”

From the moment of their arrival
Squalling inconsolably 
Through the many long years
Of
Toil
Life lived for a purpose
Beyond self
Concern
Supreme devotion
Effort
In service of the ultimate cause:
Deliver them into adulthood
Mentally and physically strong
Ready to tackle the world
Eager to mold it
In grateful service
For the
Betterment of humankind
Yet all the while
A strange incongruity for Mom
No matter what she gives
And she gives all
Through long lonely years of selfless devotion
It’s never enough
The baby screams inconsolably
‘Til mom loses her confidence
And practically loses her mind
The child has nightmares and throws tantrums
Makes demands
Won’t eat dinner
made with love toil and patience
There are school problems friendship problems
Christmas and birthday disappointments
Mom hangs in there
Bur she’s gradually learning
About
Reality
Humans live in the condition of never enough
And Mom feels guilty
It’s my fault
The counselors patiently listen and explain to grown children
Where and how Mom and Dad
Were Incomplete
Were,
In a word,
…F*ckedup.
A strange incongruity for Mom
Mom knows heart of hearts
That Moms and Dads
Can never be enough
The baby screams inconsolably
The child doesn’t have friends
Or gets in trouble
Or hates school
Or in a million other ways
And on a million different days
Needs more
Than just Mom
But Mom never gives up
A strange incongruity
Mom blindly wants Everything for them
And Mom can never free herself from this compulsive ideal
Driven by irrational blind instinct
It posesses her.
A need for them to finally,
Finally reach Completion
“Completion”:
A condition
That’s utterly umpossible
In a world
Where
All things
Dwell
In precarious
Vulnerability
Come what may

Our Marriage Failed

5455236-zantedeschia-aethiopica-lily-of-the-nile-or-calla-lily-syn-calla-aethiopica-l-richardia-africana-kun-stock-photoMy two reasons, were not, in the long run, good reasons. Even the sub-reasons weren’t good reasons.  But you don’t realize any of that until it’s too late.

I rationalized.  We already had one child and one on the way.  Surely that was not just happenstance.  The universe seemed to be uniting us.  Secondly, the name “Field” which would become my married name.  Now that was a nice last name.  It had a very simple English elegance in my opinion.  I hadn’t however, thought about the connotation and the association that adding “Field” to “Lily” would bring.  Once I was formally “Lily Field”, I wasn’t entirely sure I liked being so associative.  “Lily Field” has not only a flower association, but an entire landscape.  And then there is the biblical reference, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  Matthew 6:28-29.

Eventually, I decided that that particular verse of the Bible was my second favorite and that I was after all, happy about my name.  My favorite verse, if you must know, is this one:wotw_042315

There were the kids.  There was the name.  He seemed kind, gentle, quiet.  He seemed like a good dad.  He would sit and color with our two-year-old daughter.  He wasn’t in a hurry in life.

I knew I didn’t love him.  I told him I didn’t.  And yet, since the universe clearly designed our fate, I rationalized that we could partner as parents.  In fact, this seemed at the time superior to the three love relationships I’d suffered through, with all of the attendant heartache, jealousy, intense emotion, deep pain.

I didn’t know.

Reasons

colorado-springs-custom-draperyfurniturewoodworkingI married him for two reasons.

Well, there were subreasons, such as the two-year-old child he’d fathered, and the one on the way.

But there was an initial reason, which is probably related to the fact that I went ahead and bore his child, even though I barely knew him and even though I subsequently told him to stay out of my business and my life.  I remember where we were at the time.  We were in one of the bedrooms of his grandparents house.  We had just had sex–not made love–we had had sex.  He gave me a hug.  And that was reason one.

I went home and recorded it in my  journal.  His hug was special.  His hug gave me a feeling of safety.  It was just a regular old hug.  And yet, it wasn’t.

A few years later, when our child was two, I contacted him by letter.  I informed him of his daughter.  I welcomed him into her life.  I had realized that people deserve to have their father be a part of their lives, if in fact, their father would love them.

Reason number two.  He opened up.  He said, “I like wood.  I like the sensuous aspect of wood.”  I was already aware that he had fashioned some beautiful items out of wood. But listening to him express his feeling about wood had the beauty of recognition and significance.  He was an artist.  Not only was he an artist, but his particular bent was earthy.  His hug had been earthy.  I liked that.

Surrender

533244_4567432594033_44440397_n

One time

Cindy astutely observed:

“Some people were just meant to be born.”

We were witnessing

toddler Renee

swinging in a baby swing

relaxed back

arms akimbo

completely given over to

the moment.

Just witnessing how

the swing

was allowed to

encapture and enrapture

her little form

Cindy and I

knew the bliss of

heavenly surrender.

What is an American?

What is an American?

An American isn’t well-educated.  Education, like everything else in America is related to money:  how much you have or don’t have.  Education in its true sense of the word, doesn’t matter to Americans; in fact, possessing a wide breadth of knowledge or being an intellectual of high caliber could be more of a detriment than a value.  An individual with a wonderfully rich mind could easily be overlooked or shunned if the wealth of knowledge isn’t somehow or another transformed into pocket wealth.

America is a monarchy and the Dollar sporting the all-seeing eye atop the pyramid is King.

good luck with dat y'all

the recent events, legislation and global government activity which, all taken and strung together make up the contemporary short history “Policing of the Internet”, make for a truly thought-provoking and new realm of philosophical speculation.

In our lifetime, just a hop, skip and a hip-hop step ago, we witnessed the dawning of a new age. There should be no question left in anybody’s mind, but that the rise of the World-Wide-Web marked the end of one long, tedious and material era of human history and the beginning of a brand new otherworldly, ultra-dimensional one.

The New Human History is a story that takes place in “Cyberspace”.  Cyberspace is a realm that didn’t even exist in pre-network computing human history.  We can think of the short history of cyberspace as the birth, growth and limitless expansion of a new dimension of space, like the space that humans have inhabited and thoroughly polluted on the globe, with their feet on the ground and their swords and guns and bombs in their hands or falling down from their airplanes.  Palaces, prisons, ships, airplanes, factories, cathedrals, kings, princesses, knights…animals, flowers and trees, forests, mountains and meadows, oceans, lakes, rivers…..kings, popes, presidents, dictators…. housing, feeding… poverty and wealth… the struggle of the people against over-controlling domination…

Looking back over what we know of mankind’s habitation of the globe, we can isolate the history of man’s war-making and policing efforts and think of it as the history of man’s attempt to gain or maintain Control.  When we are talking about activity on the firmament, we can relate to and understand that humans want stuff for themselves. Beyond food and shelter, they (or at least a segment of the human population and I will add (without malice) that by-and-large they tend to be male) always appear to want concentrated wealth — not for the purpose of survival and not for survival’s haughty cousin comfort, but for something more abstract and something that wouldn’t even be desirable if not for the vast and generally thereupon impoverished audience.  We refer to this abstraction as ‘Power’.

A few days ago, there was what we now refer to as a ‘glitch’ in the Chinese (and that would mean most-heavily censored) internet.  A ‘glitch’ is like an opening in cyberspace that allows people to go somewhere or do something that they normally wouldn’t be allowed or able to do.  Taking advantage of the portal, the Chinese gained momentary access to the President of the United States’ Google+ social networking page.  Hundreds of Chinese grabbed the unusual opportunity (seized the moment) and posted messages on Obama’s page.  These messages were cries for help.  The Chinese want freedom of expression on the computer because their leadership imposes more restrictions and censorship than any other currently on the globe.  For heaven’s sake, the Chinese cannot even Tweet!!

Lately (and not in mainstream media) but thanks to internet and global news sources, we read more and more about our own United States government and other national governments around the world scheming on and enacting legislation regarding ‘policing’ and censorship of the internet, of cyberspace.  We are now witness to one story after the next, of people being arrested, interrogated, imprisoned (tortured … by US as well as Them)… for cyberspace-related behaviors, activities, misbehaviors and violence.  There are the child pornographers and the Facebook slanderers; and there are the Wikileaks adventurers and exposure-provocateurs (whom I think we should bow down before but who are now being indefinitely detained… and tortured)…

 

 

 

The Look in Their Eyes: brief descript

“The Look in Their Eyes” is a story about the existential connection
between the “look in their eyes”and the question of the meaning of
existence.
The Look is a look of Want.  It is primitive, in the sense that it’s
irrational and animal, even beast… It is a look that is in mens’ eyes in spite
of Civilization.  It isn’t civilized.  It contains madness and aggression.  It
is the look of selfishness and desire.  The “Want” is unsatisfiable.  No matter
how much the human male acquires of earthly gain:  how much money, how many
possessions, how many beautiful women… no matter the profit at the expense of
others… the Want will take,  the Want will kill…. the Want is something
unknown that comes from beyond the individual man… it is infinitely
unsatisfiable…
The male “want look” causes woman to subconsciously desire to be
the acquisition that completes, answers, and fulfills the Unsatisfiable Need.
But the Want is never satisfied, the Object, Woman, is never enough.
this absence of resolution parallells the absence of answerability of
the question of the meaning of existence