The Story So Far…

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Thanks to those who are following here for your patience while I find my way back to the subject of consciousness and to the story of the unfolding of my explorations which have brought me here to this blog. It’s a very compelling drive within me to share the story, and I am a passionate man who feels just about everything he feels in a big way. I know there are a few of you out there who know this very well, and I get comments every once in awhile from another reader who sees this and can relate to this aspect of the writer in me, and it helps me a lot to keep going when the readers here at WordPress are so supportive.

Lately, I have been struggling with some very important and very personal circumstances in my private life that have captured my attention and inspired some of my writing, and they actually strike at the very core of what I am trying to express here about myself and what I believe in so strongly. It has been essential to my well-being to attend to these circumstances, and while it is not clear at all how it will all work out, I am hopeful that, ultimately, I will find a way to bring my heart and mind together, and make the transition to the person I am becoming by blending it with the person I am now.

In the meantime, it seems important to express my gratitude for all the good things in my life, and to remain open to the entire spectrum of what is possible in life. We often seem to get so wrapped up in our daily struggles that we can miss how great life can be when we consider the beauty and wonder and all the fabulous people we are privileged to share this planet with. My youngest daughter came to visit yesterday, and I grabbed her for a long hug and told her that I loved her very much. It’s hard to see your children grow up and away from you sometimes, and I really miss my children being around me like they were when they were younger. To this day, I still can’t think of any time in my life when I was happier, than while I was raising and caring for all six of them. There’s still lots of happy stuff going on, don’t get me wrong, but I just miss them so much sometimes.

This September my only son will be getting married, and I swear I seem to cry every time I think about it. I know it’s because I am happy for him, and as always, hopeful that I might get a grandchild out of the arrangement at some point. When he was about to depart for overseas duty in the military some years ago, heading into unknown dangers very far away, I told him that he was obligated to fulfill his duty to his country, and to his father…who needs to see HIM as a father. There are very few satisfactions in life for a parent than to see their children become parents. I told him I hope he has healthy and happy children more than anything, but a grandson sure would be great too!

Just getting ready to cry my eyes out again as another one of my children gets married is struggle enough, but life has always been challenging for me emotionally. I feel my emotions very strongly, and it’s just my nature to feel what I feel so much. Sometimes people don’t know what to do with me, and I really don’t blame them at all. It can be overwhelming. My sisters and brothers make fun of me because I am so overtly emotional on a regular basis, and I like to throw my arms around them and say, “I love you,” the very minute I see them. I just can’t wait to tell them. To be fair, my sisters and brothers are some of the best people in the whole world. I just can’t help it.

There are a few others in my life who give me a similar feeling, but I’ll be here all day if I start talking about all of that, and I have to get going. I’m still here…and I’m still trying to figure it all out. Any advice or suggestions are welcome…

John H.

Anyway,

Post for a friend

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Two Worlds Merge

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“The spiritual life justifies itself to those who live it; but what can we say to those who do not understand? This, at least, we can say, that it is a life whose experiences are proved real to their possessor, because they remain with him when brought closest into contact with the objective realities of life. Dreams cannot stand this test. We wake from them to find that they are but dreams. Wanderings of an overwrought brain do not stand this test. These highest experiences that I have had…have been rare and brief–flashes of consciousness which have compelled me to exclaim with surprise–God is here!…But I find that, after every questioning and test, they stand out today as the most real experiences of my life…When they came… I was not seeking them. What I was seeking, with resolute determination, was to live more intensely my own life, as against what I knew would be the adverse judgment of the world.”

— excerpt from “My Quest for God,” by J. Trevor, published in London in 1897

Several months after recovering from my injuries sustained in the car accident in California, I had become so enamored of the natural landscape of the area in which I was living, that I began to spend every available moment out in it. I had a particular fondness for a lengthy wooded path at the top of the hills overlooking Monterey Bay, and when circumstances prevented me from driving along the highway to watch the sun go down, I would often walk to a secluded section of the forest path, and sit quietly by myself thinking and soaking in the beauty of those moments. Occasionally, I would bring a portable battery-operated cassette deck to listen to music while I relaxed in the waning light of day after school.

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The image above is such a poor rendering of the path leading to where I would go on these sojourns in the hills, but for me, as the one who snapped the image, it is a potent reminder of one extraordinary afternoon in that forest. On one particular day, I was unexpectedly released from duty early in the afternoon. It was mild like most days, only cloudless and radiant in a way that I found surprising as I ventured out to walk. Upon arriving at my private location, I sat down, and played a cassette tape recording by Judy Collins which I used to enjoy occasionally in previous visits. The last song on the one side was called, “My Father,” and it always made me feel envious of the children in the story who were able to finally live in France as the father promised. I had always wanted to go. The tape ran out, but I didn’t reach over to switch it. I didn’t even blink. I was unable to move. “Oh, no,” I thought to myself at first. “Not again.” But this time, it would be wonderful.

Suddenly, without warning, I was overcome by joy. I felt an overwhelming sense of inner peace and confidence that was astonishing given my inability to move. The sun was filtering through the trees as before, only now the beams of light seemed to glow brilliantly–more than I would expect. The leaves and the grass became luminously green. It seemed that all of my senses were heightened beyond the usual levels. I started to laugh. I felt giddy. I felt the blood running through my veins and arteries. I went limp and laid back on the ground. It seemed I could sense the rotation of the earth. It felt almost as though my spirit was being pulled out of my body, as though gravity had suddenly increased. After a few minutes, I was able to turn my head and noticed that there was absolutely no movement anywhere around me. I was totally alone, but felt as though I was part of everything. I was euphoric with absolutely no cause that I could discern. I have no idea how long this sensation lasted, but once it seemed to lessen in its intensity, I was able to stand. It felt silly to be giggling like a child. But I couldn’t help it.

Prior to this experience, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had begun recording my thoughts as they occurred to me, and on this day, when I got back to my desk, I wrote something which seemed to have no immediate connection to anything. It made only a vague kind of sense to me at the time, but I wrote it down faithfully, and fell asleep at my desk that night. I woke up drooling on my book, and went to bed. In the morning, this is what I found on the pages:

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“You all know me. You all know my heart. Many are the days and nights that have passed since we first held counsel together, and I would not, for all the treasures on earth, relinquish one memory, or omit one moment of those tumultuous and joyful hours. They are set in my heart and mind as are the great stones buried deep within the mantle of the world, and as formidable as the roots of the mighty oak that hold so firmly to their place through the relentless passage of time.

The sun has nearly set on our days together, and the evening of our separation creeps slowly toward the horizon. Even so, I know that as surely as dawn brings forth the light of a new day, the darkness that falls while we are apart will surely brighten when next we meet.

In the windows of your souls, light the candles of hope, and set the wicks of your lanterns to burn with the oil of promise until we are once again joined in joy. As I go, I will carry with me the flame of my love that burns deep within me, to lift the veil of darkness in the days ahead. Vigilance and patience will be my companions, and as I am able, I will send word of my progress. When the moment arrives, and I have been delivered to my destiny at the doorstep of the fortress, your secret longings for the future will direct me on my journey to fulfillment of the purpose, and the universal energies of life that first brought us together will return me to you.

Precisely how the events of the world will shape the days ahead is hidden from our eyes, and this is in exact accord with the design of life. However, there is an aspect of our nature that can reach beyond tomorrow, so that we may swim in the waters of possibility. Through the acquisition of self-knowledge and the nurturing of our inner worlds, we can attune ourselves to the realm of what can be, and through determined effort, create an environment conducive to shaping future events. In this way, we contribute to the currents that steer them, and that is our doorway to tomorrow.”

My acute sensitivity to a more profound level of awareness had its beginnings in Massachusetts, and the intense intellectual and emotional responses to the events in California brought me even further along on the path to a heightened sense of the existence of a transcendent aspect within me, and forced me to acknowledge what I would later encounter in the writings of Carl Jung, as “…events which transcend time, space, and causality.” Our limitations in attempting to address these ineffable aspects of our nature, in no way diminishes the experiential subjective awareness of their existence.

Many times, we find the unexpected on the path to knowledge, and the spirit of all knowledge is equally present in the journey to find it, as it is in the destination that contains it.

…..more to come….

Friendship, Love, and Truth

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“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” — Aristotle

Our everyday lives, often full of the mundane, and punctuated by moments of joy and sorrow, can sometimes lead us to become somewhat indifferent to the relentless changes that occur as a matter of course, weakening our awareness of things extraordinary. Thankfully, throughout these relentless periods of change, we are blessed occasionally by the arrival of special people, who make all the periods in between worth the wait. My conscious awareness of an acute sensitivity to an elusive, yet profound intellectual and emotional connection to such spirits, and of an inner stirring that transcends the boundaries of conventional interactions between myself and these other special people, occurs so infrequently, that when they do occur, it generally results in extraordinary events, which often overwhelm me in ways that make managing the events especially difficult.

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“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” — Jim Morrison

With all my heart, I have tried to accept the circumstances of my life, and to continue to move through the phenomenal world, mindful of its impermanence. And yet, somehow, I have not been able to shake the awareness of something keenly out-of-sync with the flow of events as they unfold at times. Throughout my life, in rare moments of surprise and delight, my inner world has been abruptly and profoundly disturbed by the arrival of particular kindred spirits, and although I willingly and knowingly embraced the path at that time, it often resulted in confusion and disharmony. Reflecting on these events afterwards, it seems I did so without fully comprehending the scope of the consequences of that embrace. Over time, I gained some perspective, and with persistence, came to be more discerning about my attention to such events.

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“A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably” — William Penn

We often rush to describe friendship solely in terms of camaraderie and faithful allegiance to another person in a very particular way, and generally most of us can agree that a friend is someone with whom we feel these sentiments, but there is such a wide range of what might be properly described as friendship, that such a narrow definition seems more like a limitation than a proper description. The quote above points to a greater expansion of our definition of what friendship can entail, and in my experience, those individuals with whom I felt a special kinship, or a greater-than-usual emotional connection, as friends, often became much more than simply friends, even though the boundaries of our modern expectations of what constitutes friendship tend to limit what is possible in such relationships. Despite an increased freedom of choice today, and a much greater range of abilities to communicate with each other, we still seem to cling to the notion that friendship only means “liking” someone, when in fact, a much deeper and more profoundly affectionate connection between friends is not only possible, but desirable.

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Our relationships generally are well-defined and unambiguous by their very nature, but occasionally we encounter particular spirits in the world who do not fit very well into any of these well-established roles. A few years ago, I attended a lecture at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia by Beatrice Bruteau, who wrote “The Creation of a Self-Creating World,” in which she gave a description of friendship, that goes beyond mere external circumstances:

“If there is strong attraction to the other as a person, an interesting thing happens. One is not satisfied with merely being intimate with the descriptive reality of the other. One wants to be close to the interior of the other, to feel the other on the inside as the other feels. One yearns to be with the other, not as the other appears to be, but as the other really is from the other’s profound sense of self.”

It may well be that our initial contact with such extraordinary connections between people, in spite of the external circumstances, results in an awareness of a commonality which transcends our common notions of friendship. What better way to illustrate the importance of our interior worlds, than to become aware of our connection to such spirits, which may defy all external considerations. The compelling draw to such individuals may be experienced in their presence as well as in their absence physically, and while our physical presence is generally expected to generate an immediate response to a kindred spirit, the fascinating experience of immediate recognition or attraction to others we encounter can occur through a combination of elements, and point to a much greater degree of connection between all of us, that cannot be explained simply by genetics and previous experience.

Worst Day Ever

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“Everyman in his lifetime needs to thank his faults. As no man thoroughly understands a truth until he has first contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hindrances or talents of men until he has suffered from the one and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of the same…Our strength grows out of our weakness. Not until we are pricked and stung and sorely shot at , awakens the indignation which arms itself with secret forces. A great man is always willing to be little. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill…In general, every evil to which we do not succumb is a benefactor…as the strength and valor of the enemy (we) kill passes into (us), so we gain the strength of the temptation we resist.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson from his essay, “Compensation.”

In Dreams of What Could Be
By JJHIII24

Longing for you has left a heavy mark,
I’ve dragged my heart and mind through thorns and vines.
Most every heartening thought grows dark,
And halts attempts to speak with hopeful lines.

And yet the hope for love could live again,
Your considered words could cancel all doubt,
Deepened over the years of turmoil when
In dark despair, the light of hope went out.

A glimmer of that special light still burns,
Like candles beckon in windows at night.
Every hope in darkness lost still earns
A chance to be the harbinger of light.

Until the dawn of hope appears for me,
I’ll search for you in dreams of what could be.

An Angel In Bloom

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An Angel in Bloom by JJHIII24

Fragments fallen from impatient daydreams,
Like the motion of two blissful dancers;
Longings once taken from hearts long ago,
Awaken as eternity answers.

Eyes once astonished and endlessly searching,
Now settle like gentle spring rain;
Patience endures in reluctant darkness,
To shield us from each other’s pain.

Intimate spirits commune in rare kinship,
Beneath preferred explanations;
Mysteries yield with permission now given
For compassionate exclamations.

Sensual fullness in measured proportions,
Blossoms in secret anguish;
Heartfelt wishes for closeness unbridled,
Become fleeting shadows to vanquish.

Hints of our passions are found in the silence,
When all of our glances are whispers;
A union of spirits, uttered as friendship,
Expresses affection like sisters.

But you don’t have to be a woman to see,
How a man with a vision could love you;
Of all the spirits that dwell in this world,
None compare from below or above you.

The world could never hold beauty enough,
To conceal what is seen in your eyes;
A dazzling beacon in a wildflower’s field
Understates, but reveals your surprise.

You glow like a rose, an angel in bloom,
The spark in the hearth of your home;
Your strength is hard won, but your heart just might be
As fragile as bubbles in foam.

I dare not to feel, for in time am I lost,
The ages are clashing like thunder;
In nearness to angels we oft lose our way,
For our spirits are captured by wonder.

© February 2014 by JJHIII24

In love, as in life, there are many possibilities, and many different layers of understanding, caring, loving, friendship, and togetherness. Living our lives in a way that keeps us “open” to the many layers of our nature as humans, whether or not we meet up with a “soul-mate,” or “kindred spirit,” or someone from a past life, is essential in order to grow and flourish.

I am not suggesting at all that I somehow understand any of this any better than anyone else does. The mystery that is life, and the sprawling chaos that love can sometimes cause in our lives, prevents most of us from getting a firm handle on understanding.

We must try to attain the most fulfillment in life and in love that we can…life is brief…there is no time to waste. If we are fortunate enough to meet up with someone with whom we can share our lives, even from a distance or for a brief period of time, that experience will bring us closer to an understanding of what our lives and loves are about.

We have to be grateful for whatever time we get with them, and live in that moment as fully as we can, especially knowing that we only travel this road for a limited time.

We all see the world through our own eyes, and bring to it, all of our experiences, emotions, and expectations. How we meet life and how we experience love, regardless of the circumstances, depends a great deal on how open we are to the many possibilities they represent.

Wishing everyone the fullness of life, and of love……John H.

California Impressions Part II

San Diego Sunset I

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As a young soldier in 1974, on the journey of a lifetime in California, one might suppose it would be unlikely for me to know how important the events of those days would be, and even less chance that I would appreciate them fully at that point in my life, and prior to the accident, I would have been the first one to agree. But something changed inside of me after the accident on that lonely stretch of coastal highway. It was very much like awakening after years of being asleep–a kind of Rip Van Winkle effect–and when I had finally gotten back up on my own two feet afterwards, I began to view the world around me in a wholly different way. Sunny days seemed brighter; faces seemed more expressive; challenges seemed less daunting; and my heart and soul felt more alive than ever before. I started to record my thoughts more often, and kept a journal of sorts, accumulating pages throughout the remainder of my tour in what now seemed even more like paradise. One particularly day held a series of notable episodes throughout the day that concluded with an especially spectacular sunset. Throughout the day, I attended to several of the natural settings all around me, spending time walking along the beach at Monterey Bay, strolling through the wooded area behind the barracks on top of the hill where the school was located, and when I arrived on the beach at sunset, I was once again overwhelmed with a compelling need to write down what was transpiring inside of me. Here is what I recorded that day:

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“The Spring had slipped by unnoticed, and the late summer winds whisked me away to this foreign and too distant shore, which unlike the home shore, dripped of radiant sunshine and violent coloration. Thrown into the grips of newness, I was immediately entranced with anticipation of what was to come. The events of the days that followed are blurred in my memory by the swiftness of their occurrence, yet I seem to recall isolated moments of wondrous sights, which cast my mind beyond its earlier scope, and opened avenues never before explored within the framework of my experience.

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So vast and varied are the wonders that befall a man in these times, that to choose only one as the dominant wonder might be a task too great to assume. However, as I sit here on this stoney shore, I cannot ignore the tremendous obviousness of the Pacific Ocean. As the day slowly slips by into darkness, hundreds of people line the roads of this great area and stand bewitched by the sight of it–as if to say that this was something of value to be treasured–or perhaps, a mystery which all seek to solve.

The ocean is a constant entity, filling the air with its salty odor–its crashing sounds climbing into your ears, roaring like some great lion. If someone was able to contain this force–this energy–the power would be ever as consistent and boundless. The rocks dotting the shoreline, often concentrating its power into numerous local coves, are like sentinels against the mighty abyss, holding the immense force at bay. The sky, constantly in motion, is never again to be the same as this very moment. The clouds, lit by the setting sun, seem ablaze in the heavens. Beams of light shoot forth between the great masses of floating moisture, as if they were beacons from a distant land, or from heaven itself.

Never before have I been aware of such innate beauty. Only here have I witnessed the harmonious persistence of a life force seemingly contained and confined, yet, also bursting forth with such intensity. The sight seems to mystify those who would dare to cast their eyes toward the horizon. They stand motionless, without words, almost as though imprisoned where they stand, or hypnotized by the hand of the Almighty. Such a thing to behold, and yet, quite another to grasp.

The facial expressions of the worshipers register deep thought, pensiveness– a desire to see beyond the horizon, or maybe, they are instead seeking an answer within. Perhaps the ocean and the sky ablaze reflect like a mirror, the thoughts buried within. I am nearly paralyzed with awe and must struggle to withdraw.”