Strathallen

Posted by on Oct 10, 2018 in Blog | 3 comments

I was living in Santa Barbara in 1986 before I met Winter Woman or Marilyn and was on a commuter flight down the coast to LAX to connect to a flight to Rochester, NY. On that half hour flight I sank into the peace that passeth all understanding, I was in some sort of place where everything was better than it’d ever been. I was free.

But when we walked down the steps to the tarmac and headed to the terminal the peace let me know a bomb was planted in the terminal that was set to go off as I walked by it. It wasn’t planted for me, but it was my destiny to be by it when it blew up. There was nothing I could do about it, nor did I want to. I was still too at peace to care. But I was still curious.

All senses were optimal, seeing everyone and everything in detail and scanning it all for the source of my destruction coming up. I made it to the American ticket counter to check in and sat waiting for the night flight. The peaceful part of me couldn’t calm the flesh and bones me picking up on this information of my death. When no bomb went off in the terminal I shifted expectations to a bomb onboard and falling out of the sky through freezing air from 30,000 feet at 150 miles an hour trailing a plume of smoke from scorched clothing. The peaceful part of me was amused. How do I put this…a more fundamental me didn’t care but my body sure as hell did? Yeh, that’s it. I was two aspects of awareness, one grizzled with fear and the other chuckling with tenderness and compassion.
When the safety belt signs went off I dropped into meditation. This is what I’d been about in those years, it was what blew me out of Santa Fe on a dream quest in the early 1980’s–wanting to be more than I’d been, wanting to wake up. Santa Barbara was a hotbed of this awakening thing then and all sorts of people’d been drawn by it.

Some inner source said that in the next few days something huge was gonna happen, some elemental force beyond comprehension was gonna move into me and if I was to resist it’d blow me to pieces. So, all I’d have to do was let it in. Oh, is that all? Yep, it’d be fearsome because of its immensity, but it was benign, it was coming into me because I’d asked it to. The snake at the base of the spine was about to come out of its slumber and move up my back and out the top of my skull. This would open me to what I’d now call a download of upgrades, though I didn’t have that concept then. I wouldn’t discover the personal computer till I met Marilyn and she taught me to use her Apple 2e. But I understood what was coming up, though it didn’t do much for my body with its big-time willies. Still it took heart that it’d made it through LAX terminal and most of this flight.

I shared with it my decision to open to this thing whatever it was and take my chances. Easy for you to say, my body replied. What evidence do you have that this is benevolent, it asked, it feels devil-based to us. I knew it was just the opposite. Any devil in me would be vaporized by the intensity of this thing. I think that’s what it was all about.

I checked into the Strathallen Hotel where my grandmother was putting me up for three or four days for our visit. On the last night we were meeting at the posh restaurant downstairs for a last supper before my return home. As I was sitting on the bed pulling on some shoes I suddenly knew tonight was it. When I felt it coming I’d be more frightened than I’d ever been, but here’s the thing, my soul said, it is beautiful, it is pure love and so huge you’ll feel you can’t hold it all. But you can. It is the rest of you. In your fear, feel the love. Jesus!!

Nana had a Manhattan straight up with a cherry. I wasn’t drinking since I’d started inventing the LifeTimes magazine. We ordered and she had a second drink. The dining room was full of people in suits and ties speaking in low voices, liveried waiters moving around almost invisibly. Then I felt it at the tip of my spine, a thought almost, an intention, a tiny blue flame. I sensed the invitation–Can I come in? At that I tried to leap up and run from the room over the tops of tables headed for the elevators. I can feel fragments of that panic even now, so many years later. If I could just make it there and get an elevator up maybe I could escape, but it was too late. I could not move.

The rest of it started up and something in me said Okay…but when it came I screamed in silent terror that I was only kidding, really, but it was too late. It shot into me, up my spine and exploded from the top of my head and I was in a white room without walls suspended.

There is no thing here. There is no thought. I want to say it was bliss but that’s not true, it was reference-less because I was no longer Jack, I had no history, no place, no time. I was in a vibrating, humming whiteness. I wasn’t just tapped into it, I was it.

The dining room began to fade back into the whiteness. I saw forms from thoughts taking shape, saw people redefine in detail, felt senses programming. Coming directly from forever I see with cool accuracy the world of this room form, beginning with tables around us and people eating, the murmur, a waiter gliding into frame and setting down a white plate before my grandmother with things on it, and then before me. I see the green of fresh peas, the first color I’ve seen, then the red of the cherry in her cocktail glass. A moment before I was this green and red, now I want this green and red.

Nothing’s familiar, it’s all first time. I’m taking in others’ gestures and movement, discovering my arms. My hands are learning how to pick up a fork from Nana. It’s as if I’ve dropped into body from being spirit, I’m like a baby. I have a grown body but it’s new to me. It was like that time on Rowe Mesa in that divine glade of straight piñones, me carrying an axe and chainsaw and then getting shot in the head.

Things begin to come faster now, a half century of learning life lost in a whiteout, and now jig-sawing back together in a new puzzle. I feel organs and muscles and tendons individually as pieces. I touch a fork and feel its own memory of its genesis and use and awareness of being, I pick it up and spear a pea with a tine and bring it to my mouth. I chew, muscles on automatic, tongue knowing how to work and get out of the way of the teeth, to take its part in delivering and taking away the single pea from them. I’m chewing a pea and tasting its life.

The central clearinghouse of being human is loading an astronomical number of gigabytes of hands-on information. I am not aware of it because I have no sense of lacking anything, of there being something previous to now. My mind is as simple as a screw’s. No identity, fear, wonder, just turning by some invisible loving force and being part of the carpentry of a fine cabinet from just seven billion years ago. Or was it a minute?

Now that I have the hang of some of the silverware I spear a shred of pan-blackened redfish and make an offering to my mouth, tasting it and knowing the fish through its flesh, translated by my tongue. I love this whatever is going on. I don’t know eating or that this is just one of the things we do, I could sit here forever with transfiguration of the flesh of a pea and shred of Cajun fish into first time tastes by way of nerves of every hue and cry wired to a brain to register as pleasure and amazement. Now I am feeling the food rearranging itself into energy.

My grandmother watches, there is something wrong going on here. ‘Is that all you’re going to eat?’ she asks, and I say yes, my first word ever. I have tasted God and it is enough. ‘I will never eat again,’ I tell her gently. I love the speaking, the ensemble production of all these things moving in me in harmony to make words. It is a miracle. Everything is.

What came in, what came out? I don’t know. But for a time I was at the source of life. When I flew home the next morning I was fully whoever I had been and was now again. I knew no secrets, had no more knowledge, was no more pious or understanding or easy to get along with. But one thing was different, I’d touched raw love, it had touched me, ripped me a new one and opened me bare to life. I had no way of knowing that in the next three years I’d fall in love, have two children, lose them and their mother and my magazine, and plunge into an abyss as deep as imagination into Sister Marilyn’s arms.

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3 Comments

  1. Oh so intimately authentic and thrilling, to taste your words and love story with beautiful Marilyn. thank you for the tears on my cheeks.

  2. i understood everything you wrote here. …loved it.
    but i’m a poet… and i was there. 😉

  3. Glorious reading ~~~~~~~

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