The Tides of My Heart’s Longings

paris at night

“Dreams are but momentary stays against the relentless throbbing of my pulse in waking hours, a pause amidst the endless tide of my heart’s longings….the very essence of desire.” – JJHIII

I had a dream last night about the time I spent in Paris back in the mid-1970’s. It felt like I had traveled through time to stand in those same places once again, wandering the streets, inhaling the scents, embracing the sights, absorbing the sounds, and floating amidst the powerful memories of those moments. It seemed like an impossible dream had come true once again, and even though it has been many years since I last walked those streets, in the first few moments after I sat up in my bed upon waking in the middle of the night, it felt like it could have been yesterday.

Streets of Paris 1975

The dream felt viscerally real and my response seemed almost prescient in those first few moments, sending me this afternoon to the archives in search of a passage I remembered recording in my personal journal:

October 25, 1976

“I am beginning to wonder now, as always, how this experience will affect the stream of events to come, and what new realizations will arrive within me when at some future time, I reflect upon them in silence. Paris is alive. It vibrates with life. It engulfs you with its intoxicating air. To walk the streets of Paris has felt alternately like a stroll through my fondest dreams, and in certain moments, like some kind of horrid nightmare. Swift though the moments seem, and as alone as I have felt in the nights by my window, this city breathes and pulsates with passionate feeling to the discerning eye. Time passes in Paris unseen, unheard, and unnoticed, almost as though it were never there from the beginning–lingering somewhere outside of perception, or as some distant memory.”

john in paris2

At age twenty-three, assigned as a soldier in what was then described as “Western Europe,” engaged in gathering military intelligence on our counterparts in Eastern Europe, my travels took me to a variety of technically non-military locations, and concerned matters far beyond anything I might have anticipated in my life prior to that assignment. The process of intelligence gathering seemed to be moving at a much swifter pace than anything else in my life, which hardly seemed to move at a snail’s pace when I look back on it. Without actually realizing it during that time frame, I raised my level of knowledge and experience to such an extent, that as I reflected on the dream in the early hours of a cool spring morning, I wondered what might have become of my life in another place or through another time.

Direction and purpose were strange entities for me then; vague and fluctuating between the minutes in a day. Not once did I ever truly concern myself with what might become of me. My influence on the world-at-large, in my mind at least, was at best a matter of chance, and certainly not within my power to determine. Having entered the military at the age of 19, I went from being a mostly unremarkable young man of limited means and experience to suddenly being engaged in matters of national security, with my every move a matter of close scrutiny by myself and by those around me.

Hotel de Mont Marte

While my military activities required much of my attention in those days, occasionally my assignment would allow or open up opportunities for downtime, and I often would explore on my own, sometimes secretly, and occasionally, I would lapse back into my personal reveries, and flirt with the tides of my heart’s longings. It was during such moments that my awareness seemed to be expanding into a wider world than the one in which I found myself embroiled so often as a soldier. Looking back at my life as a young boy, I regard with much fondness my life before this expansion of awareness. I never really thought that my life would be anything more than that which occurred from day-to-day; moment-to-moment, year after year. It was, I thought, a secure environment; beyond the reach of any sort of violent change. It was a rude awakening indeed that found me thousands of miles away from all that I had known. All that was once my reality suddenly seemed a lark–a crystal-clear pond in paradise.

….more to come….

10 thoughts on “The Tides of My Heart’s Longings

  1. Looks like you are working up to reveal more about your “experience”. I look forward to seeing it.

    Inspired by our discussion the other day with Rick, I posted something about the Alexander book. At the bottom of it, I reference your post on the topic.

    1. Jim,

      Thanks for your comment and for providing your readers with the link to my posting on Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven.” In a very real way, my own experiences HAVE influenced my understanding of and appreciation for similar experiences in others, and I have noted quite often that individuals like Michael Shermer, who have never experienced anything at all like the report given by Dr. Alexander, seem to take great pleasure in attempting to debunk the experiences of others, but also invariably fail to argue very persuasively since they have no such experiences to draw on. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” as Carl Sagan once said, but we have to understand how difficult it can be, even when we HAVE experienced something as profound as what Dr. Alexander has been through, to attempt to describe it to someone who knows nothing of such things.

      Your posting brings out some very important issues to consider when reviewing NDE’s, and it seems clear that there is still much we do not understand about the brain, the mind, and how transcendent consciousness and hallucinations share qualities which appear very similar, but which may not be related in the way that is suggested by the criticisms you cited. It is essential that we examine these experiences and vigorously pursue our understanding with an open mind, and your treatment seemed balanced in the main, and leaving the question open for further examination.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful response…….John H.

      1. In my post ”The Spirit World Revealed”, i have reported on the experiences of Eben Alexander and others in a comprehensive manner. – looks like we have similar interests and quests.

      2. I agree, Indrajit, and I enjoyed your post on the difficulties faced by those who report experiences that are “outside” of the scientific view.

        Eben Alexander is of particular interest to me since after more than a thousand brain surgeries that he conducted as a neurosurgeon, and the numerous stories that his patients would reveal to him afterwards that he was completely unmoved by them, and responded most often with “that’s nice,” or “I’m glad you had a good experience.” His prior lifetime of study and surgery had so little effect on him spiritually, but after his own experience, he completely changed course.

        James Redfield also is a notable contributor to the understanding of the longing we all feel toward our spiritual nature, and his work is extraordinary.

        Regards….John H.

  2. John,

    Your brother and I had the same feeling of Paris.  It was always his dream to go to Paris.  After we returned home, I knew why he followed his dream.  I love you. Patrice


    1. Patrice,

      There are still many dreams that are possible to embrace and follow, in spite of whatever obstacles or setbacks we encounter. That my brother followed his dream until he achieved it, aside from being a great example of how we all should pursue our dreams, speaks to the love he had for life and for you. Being in Paris would probably have been nice if he went by himself, but that he shared the experience with YOU must have made it much more dreamlike and satisfying.

      I love you, too. John

  3. Hi there, John –
    I just wanted you to know that I did check this post the other day when I got home, just as I said I would! I loved it! I didn’t comment then because I ended up spending so much time reading previous posts of yours until I had to fall asleep. I am very interested to hopefully learn more about what happened to allow your consciousness to become what it is today. You are a very deep thinker and I am quite interested in your writings.
    All my best,

    1. Kate,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this posting, and that you felt comfortable reviewing some of my other blog posts. I don’t think there is a nicer compliment a fellow blogger can give than to report browsing through your postings at length.

      You are so nice to share your thoughts in this regard, and I hope to hear more from you as the year progresses. I endeavor always to provide interesting content, and hope you will return often to share your responses as you wish.

      I will be posting some additional images from the 1970’s in Paris and attribute my interest in doing so to your very friendly inspiration!

      Warm regards……John H.

  4. a wonderful post…
    brought back memories…
    i was 20 yrs olde in Paris on an R&R from the Army, I took them every chance i got …
    I was there in September….I was Europe’s forscom (too many years, I think thats what his title was )
    commander’s ratt rigg operator
    anytime General K…. went downrange …I did…so R&R’s were special since I was downrange
    usually 10 months out of a year…
    your words make me smile as i remember….Thank you…
    yes a wonderful post….
    Take care…

    1. MaryRose,

      I’m so glad my posting brought back such lovely memories for you. There is clearly something magical about Paris, and even though some people go there and see only the city–a very big city–with all the normal big city issues, just knowing that you are standing in a place with so much history and romance attached was enough for me. I was alone for the most part, except when I was with the tour agency folks who I was working for at the time, and it was still a thrill to walk through the streets at night.

      The post that follows this one could have been written with your thoughts in mind. We remember the experiences of our youth with a particular kind of pleasure that we sometimes think belongs only to our younger days, but as I wrote to my friend, it is my feeling that those moments are still with us–that they become a part of us. Your own posting on Earth Day reminds me of this when you wrote:

      …in it’s roundness of the earth the corners and paths shall bend

      where the past meets today passing into tomorrow again

      each step we leave an imprint of a kiss upon Her Soul…”

      This imprint occurs not just on the soul of the earth, but upon our own soul as well…Thanks for sharing such a lovely thought…..John H.

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