Saturday, 11 February 2012

Perfect Fit

Where do we fit in the world?

As children - between our parents, a tiny ‘i’ between an ‘f’ and a ‘t’, nurtured, no doubt, or, perhaps, stunted. Eventually the ‘I’ develops, becomes true to itself, or not quite so true. The ‘I’acts, thinks, but never fully realises or understands. To that extent, there is always a degree to which we don’t fit, places we don’t belong, situations which are uncomfortable. But that’s ok. The only place we really need to fit is into our own skin

There’s a passage in the Tibetan Book of the Dead which describes the circumstances surrounding a soul’s rebirth into the physical world we know, where the reasons we are born into a certain family, in a certain place, at a given time are explained as a choice we make in accordance with our karma. Coming from a realm of dark phantoms, all of which are manifestations of our negative and positive tendencies, a kind of hellish zone, the soul has a vision of different couples having sex, and is drawn, through light, to one particular couple in order to enter the womb to unite with the implanted egg of the mother by way of a network of subtle energy channels connecting the spiritual and physical realms.

Mindbending, no doubt, but I mention it as a precursor to a description of a series of dreams I had as a very young child, before the sharp talons of religious belief had a chance to grip me and influence me.

So really I was no more than a babe, a toddler, enclosed by loving parents, fitting nicely into a warm milky world in this strange land called Scotland. My dreams were vivid and recurring, and always involved a being made of light, a humanoid form composed of light among other, similar forms. I wandered the dreamscape (which was by any other name a heaven) as this being, filled with light and peace and bliss, communing with those fellow beings who, I imagined, would go on to become my parents and grandparents because they raditated a kind of familial love. They did, however, warn me that what I was about to undergo would be difficult, a trial, some even pleading with me not to go through with it, but to remain with them in this comfortable light zone. Regardless of the warnings, my mind was set on the journey ahead, and I was drawn, inexorably, to a portal through which I would travel to waking consciousness. And I always awoke, remembering my dream.

Before too long, the Christian culture I was brought up in lead me to impose its own interpretation on the recurring dream, which always felt momentous and hugely significant. I imagined I dreamt about the Holy Spirit. What else could this light being be? Over the years, as my ‘I’ has developed independently, I have come to regard the dream as a kind of memory of pre-existence. I still fit this cosmology into a basic Christian structure - it helps to have context and reference - but I am free to fit it however and wherever and whyever I like.

Sometimes you feel as if you really don't fit in. There’s opposition. Scientific, social and religious orthodoxy are constantly trying to squeeze our experiences into a model they themselves have constructed, and sometimes those experiences just don’t want to be squeezed. Again, that’s ok. I’m not going to butt heads. What I have I hold in my heart and keep fresh there. As long as I fit beneath the loving, milky moon, I have no complaints, and I’m willing to keep quiet and still, until I’m drawn into something limitless and eternal where there is boundless room to fit in and feel exactly how I need to feel.

Until that day . . .

Here's a poem I wrote some time ago in response to the section of the Tibetan Book of the Dead I mentioned. I wrote it in plain language, because that was my only way of responding to something so incredible. That might be no way to write poetry. I don't know. You tell me:

Conception puts an end
to it. A landscape of
mental projections. Experiences,
tendencies. When you
consider the opportunity for light
at release. Unrealised.
The unfathomable
transition. Imagine entering
a hall of seductions, the allure of
desire, materialising on a
footfall. Manifest delight.
Pursuit. The phantoms whipped
up, whisked off, vanishing
under the strain of habitual
grasping. Cravings. Devils.
And monsters. Hideous visions of
residual emotions. Unless you
happen to loose the urgency,
even sympathetic qualities
rear up as temptations. The
grip of accumulation continually
deflects. It may be necessary to
actualise the essence of who
you are. Only possible with
acute attentiveness. A series
of judgements, like stones
on a balance. Black. White.
Countenance. Counting. Encounter.
A vision of couples, copulating. That
sudden pull towards an opening.
Entrance, entranced. Connecting
with the seed of matter, a root
in water. Cells demystified.
Womb lit. A patterning growth.
Ghost parents shaped from form. The
surge and trauma blueprint. Caught
in floating transition. Then light,
gross, material, once seen,
less remembered. The bardo of
embodiment. Life.

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