Montage

For the last few weeks, the theta state has been elusive. I’ve managed to inhabit it sporadically but not for any sustained periods; instead, I’ve drifted in and out of various narratives in the tank.

Here are a few:

The words of a poem I read in high school came back to me. I was called upon to read it out loud to the class, and it ended with Again I saw, again I heard–and yielded myself to the perfect whole. This didn’t make sense to me when I was 15, but the words stayed with me, and from time to time I have pondered them. Now I realize that the perfect whole is the universe in its totality, which is vast beyond our comprehension but finite–it expands at the speed of light, which means it hasn’t reached infinity yet, and never will. But yielding oneself to it means releasing one’s ego and seeing ourselves as a pinpoint contained within the vastness.

∞∞∞∞∞

You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are like a herd of galloping horses. The best thing you can do when dealing with this herd is to direct them to work for you instead of running amuck. Otherwise, you become a prisoner of your own thoughts and they can bind you tightly, even causing injury. They become stuck so fast that even though they’re painful, they almost become a part of you and your life. (At this point I saw barbed wire encircling a person’s flesh, digging in so deep there seemed no hope of pulling it out.)

∞∞∞∞∞

I felt both infinitesimally small and infinitely large; I felt the brevity of the moment and the expansiveness of eternity. I suddenly understood how the tank sheds light on one’s essential self–it makes us remember what it’s like to be divested of one’s shell. One returns to the place of infinite mystery and wisdom, without wondering what the mystery is or how to solve it.

∞∞∞∞∞

Love the darkness within yourself; strive to love the light a little more.

∞∞∞∞∞

Dangerous Schisms

I heard, There is a schism within you. You’ve divided your psyche into the “good” and “bad”, and there is no reason to do this. These words are society’s external judgments. I saw the light and dark aspects of my nature with a jagged edge between them. I thought, I must heal the gap and stitch the two pieces together.

I heard, It’s not about healing as much as it’s about allowing the two to integrate and flow into one another. Dissolve the divide. Integrate and permeate. Become a perfect whole. Become perfectly imperfectly you.

Remember when your brother injured himself in science class by forcing two test tubes together, and both shattered and pierced his hand? There was wisdom in your parents’ lesson afterwards, which was to never force anything to happen. It applies to test tubes, and relationships, and energy.

Resist the impulse to judge others as you have judged yourself. The people you deem evil are on their own paths and will evolve at their own pace. Instead, allow your energy to become relaxed, open, and peaceful. Allow yourself to be the person you were meant to be.

Look for the lights along the path and become one yourself.

TV Land

I felt utterly supported by the water, as though I were seated supine in a deep lounge chair that contoured perfectly to my body. I knew the support came from the love of my ancestors, and that their love is unconditional–no matter what I do, they will love me for the person I am, my core, when everything else is stripped away. I felt compassion and forgiveness. I saw that part of my growth has to do with forgiving myself and forgiving others for their trespasses.

Here’s what the voice said: You must stop being the observer of your own life and become a participant.

I saw myself seated on a bed in a motel room, watching an old-fashioned box-like TV with rabbit ear antennae that was supported by four long triangular wire legs. On the TV I interacted with three other characters, but we were just mouthing a script. I heard: You must break through the third wall, smash the screen and emerge to live life as the person you were meant to be.

My character on the screen turned towards me and spoke, but I couldn’t understand the words. Suddenly the screen was punctured from within, and glass went flying out everywhere. I emerged from the TV, much like the lady ghost from “The Ring.” I heard, Now you must improvise. Go out and make up your own dialogue and create your own situations.

I had a sudden flash of memory from when I was 3 or 4 years old. My mother and I had been watching soap operas in the afternoons, e.g. “As the World Turns” and “The Doctors.” I remember thinking we were peeking into people’s actual lives and asked my mother, Are there secret cameras in people’s homes? She said, Yes, there are. I took the next logical step and asked, “Do you think there are cameras hidden in our house?” She replied, Yes, there might be. Well, this really spooked me as a child. Later when I realized she was just having a little fun with me, I felt betrayed that she’d lied to me and foolish that I’d fallen for it.

But now…now I realize she was partially right! We truly are acting out “unscripted dramas” in real life but as we know, those things are fake: scripted and directed behind the scenes. In real life we are just following the scripts that society, culture, and stereotypes have already written for us. And the worse part are the re-runs, where we are doomed to repeat the same lines over and over again in slightly different contexts ….

Friendly fire

Today I got into “the zone” fairly readily, but about 30 minutes in, a sound which resembled an outboard motor interrupted my reverie. When it began, I repeated to myself like a mantra: Mind over matter, mind over matter. But matter won and mind lost.

Although I emerged earlier than I’d expected, the voice did speak to me and I did have some revelations:

Fear binds you and prevents you from evolving into the person you were meant to be. It eclipses the spark within you. Fear will deceive you; it will pretend to be your friend because it loves company.

The only way to deal with fear is to bring it from out of hiding and into the light. Acknowledge the fear, look it in the eye and then move past it. Leave it far, far behind and ignore its whimpers.

I asked, Where did my fears come from?

I heard, Some are a legacy from your family, such as your fear of grasshoppers. Some are societal fears. Others are a primal part of the human experience; they originate from the amygdala, the lizard brain. These are the most subversive since they operate at the deepest, most unconscious layers of your being and are the hardest to recognize. Among them is your fear of appearing foolish in front of others…your lizard brain is responsible since in prehistoric times, acting odd in front of others meant they would cast you from the group and throw you out to survive on your own. This would most likely lead to starvation or death from predators without the tribe to protect you.

I asked, Aren’t some fears legitimate?

I heard, Yes, learn to recognize which fears are warning you of real dangers and which are your false friends.

[…rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble…]

At this point, the sound became too persistent to ignore. The culprit turned out to be a faulty fan which thrummed against the tank. Afterwards I said something to the manager and in the end, I wasn’t charged for the session.

Moth

This is what the voice told me today:

Be a lifelong learner. The world is your classroom. The people you know and meet are your teachers–all of them, even the ones you can’t stand. Especially the ones you can’t stand. There is value in recognizing in others the parts of yourself you dislike as a catalyst for constructive change.

Experiences are your textbooks. The more open your mind is, the more expansive the learnings will be. The lesson plan is a mystery, but you will encounter clues along the way. At first they will seem obscure. As you begin to recognize them, they will be subtle but noticeable. In time you will see that they are actually pretty loud. Remember the incident where Carl Jung was reading at his desk in a room, and he happened to look up just in time to see an enormous, beautiful moth flitting through the room before it escaped through the open window. A second later and he would have missed the entire experience. Your observations and perceptions are your tools; sharpen these and you will advance with more certainty along the path.

You are walking through a dark tunnel comprised entirely of bricks you have laid down. It feels restrictive, and it is–because you made it that way. Each brick represents an excuse. Each one was laid down painstakingly, and with great care and attention. You built this over a lifetime, and you think it’s inviolate, something that can’t be burnt down or destroyed. But it could all come tumbling down in an instant if you remove the belief structure that supports it. There’s no need to stay with one set of ideals throughout your lifetime. There are an infinite number to choose from. Wander through them and take your time….